Meet the Team
Having started and sold a couple of Internet companies when the Internet was still shiny and new, Aaron was determined that any future project would focus on social good. While thinking about what that would look like, he participated in a Giving Circle (without even knowing there was a name for it!) and was amazed at how engaged everyone in the circle was with the entire process of choosing and supporting a good cause.
A few months later, and with some great support from both individuals and companies – MyGivingCircle.org was born, and Aaron looks forward to seeing where this journey takes everyone involved.
John Epta is a Director of Tonic marketing and head of Technical Development of MyGivingCircle.org. With over 10 years technical and marketing experience, plus a long association with not-for-profits such as the Australian Weightlifting Federation, John helps transform the vision into reality with his technical team
Head of Sales
Jamie Bakewell is a Director of Tonic Marketing and Letterbox Media and our go-to sales and marketing lead. Letterbox Media in conjunction with Australia Post reaches almost every Australian household and Jamie is keen to explore the intersection between mass marketing and social enterprises and see how such a large reach can translate into empowering passional individuals to make real change in their community
Charities & Good Cause Development
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from the University of Canberra and previously worked for Unilever Australasia in corporate social responsibility. As Chair of the Unilever Australasia Foundation Sarah had responsibility for guiding the company’s community and environment initiatives, including the Australian rollout of the Rainforest Alliance certification of the Lipton tea brand.
Since leaving Unilever Sarah has done pro bono work for Rainforest Alliance, Learning Links, Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, and the Parent Project. She shaved her head for the Leukaemia Foundation, rode from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise money for Oxfam, and has been a microfinance lender with KIVA since 2008. So you can probably understand why Sarah is our main lead for working with Charities and Not-for-Profits to identify Good Causes that Giving Circles love to adopt!
Tonic Marketing is an Australian based marketing and technical agency that works with companies like LG Australia, Microsoft, Sonic Healthcare and CareerOne. When Aaron came to them with the idea of GivingCircles they saw a perfect opportunity to use their skills and passion to build a social enterprise that can make a meaningful impact in the community. Their support and drive helps allow MyGivingCircle.org to deliver on their promise of matching passionate individuals with good causes that they care about.
Having been fortunate enough to get a good education, live in a developed country and be involved in a couple of successful businesses, Aaron – like thousands of other Australians – made a conscious decision to support different charities. Each year our family would choose a handful of charities to support and set up a monthly donation to each of them. Definately the right thing to do – but not very engaging. We probably couldn’t tell you which charities we were supporting, and we definately had no idea exactly how the money was being used (although all being awesome charities, no doubt the money was being used well)
Then one day an old High School classmate (we’re talking the class of ’88!) came online and floated the idea of people from our year all coming together and each agreeing to make a small monthly donation over a 3 year period and together funding a good cause. Not a one-off donation – although they are great as well – but a monthly donation that would let us fund a project over a longer period of time.
The response was amazing. A whole bunch of classmates put their hands up – some of whom we hadn’t heard from in years -and said they’d love to be involved. Then came the back and forth discussion on what good cause we should adopt as our own. In a few weeks we collectively decided that we’d like to fund a scholarship for a disadvantaged university student and once we made contact with the University of Western Sydney, the James Ruse Class of ’88 scholarship was created to fund one refugees’s 3 year tuition.
Pretty darn cool. A bunch of old school friends getting together to build a Giving Circle (we didn’t even know it had a name at the time!) and collectively making a real difference in our community, not with a one-off donation, but by seeing something through to the end. And for each individual in the GivingCircle, the monthly donation is not much. But collectively we’d like to think we’re making a real change.
And that got Aaron thinking. That was fun! That was meaningful! That was engaging! What if we could make the process easier for both the passionate individuals who want to form Giving Circles, and for the good causes that are crying out for ongoing funding so they can perform their good works? And that’s how MyGivingCircle.org came about.
Our mission is to give groups of individuals the ability to easily join Giving Circles and to match them with charities, not-for-profits or other good causes that need help funding their work over time. If that sounds like something you’d like to be involved in (and we promise you’ll love the experience) why not Join a Giving Circle, start a Giving Circle or just Contact Us to find out more!