Cultural & Charitable Foundation

New Aspire Foundation Board Members Appointed

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                           
15 DECEMBER 2015


PLANS to develop Australia’s first multi-faith centre at Bendigo’s Sacred Heart Cathedral have been boosted by the appointment of two new members to the Board of Directors of the Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation.

Owen Davies and Maria Simpson join existing Board members Gordon McKern OAM, Mons Frank Marriott, Biljana Apostolova and Cameron Fraser, as well as Foundation Patrons The Hon. Tim Fischer AC and Howard Nathan QC, with Ambassadors the Hon. John Brumby and Gerry Ryan OAM.

Aspire’s Chairman Gordon McKern said both new Directors had a wealth of governance experience and the best interests of the Bendigo community at heart.

“I’m extremely delighted to welcome Owen and Maria on to our Board. Maria is a former CEO of Bendigo TAFE and has been the national manager of the Telstra Foundation, so her experience will be invaluable to our Board. Owen was an integral part of the Bendigo Bank for many years and contributed to the success we see today.”

Barring a six-year stint at the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Owen has lived in Bendigo his entire life. A journalist by profession, he spent 10 years at the Bendigo Advertiser before joining the Bendigo Bank. He recently retired after 20 years heading the bank’s public relations, marketing and communications division.

“I have a deep affection for this city and the plans for the Aspire Precinct are incredibly exciting,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being involved in promoting the project and Foundation to Bendigo and beyond.”

Mr McKern said the Foundation was celebrating the success of its first public event making use of the open space at the foot of the Cathedral.
“Our concert with Father Rob Galea was a huge success and we are so pleased that hundreds of people came and had a chance to have a look at our plans for the new Aspire Precinct and view the model of the development.

“The multi-faith nature of the concert was really well received and gave us a lot of confidence that the Faith on the Goldfields Centre we are building will be a very well used and loved space for the community and visitors.

“The Foundation is moving into a most exciting phase of delivering the Aspire Precinct at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, and as a Board we welcome the experience and leadership of our new Directors and the contribution they will bring to this work.”

Mr McKern acknowledged the service of outgoing Board members Geoff Michell and Ian Dyett, who were instrumental in setting the direction of the Foundation since its launch in 2013.

Located on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, The Aspire Precinct will be a vibrant learning, community and business hub for the Greater Bendigo community, featuring a multi-faith resource centre, exhibition space, café and piazza. The Aspire Precinct is Australia’s first faith-based precinct to foster inter-faith collaboration, promote regional resilience and provide lifelong learning opportunities.

MEDIA INQUIRIES Marg O’Rourke, Executive Director, Aspire Cultural & Charitable Foundation, 0427 019 900, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.