On 1 May, at the Tanunda Recreation Park Clubrooms, over 120 guests gathered to celebrate the spirit of community and generosity at the 2024 Foundation Barossa Awards Night. This event brings together scholars, grant recipients, and supporters to highlight and honour the extraordinary contributions to the Barossa community. The evening opened with Tutti artist and scholarship and grant recipient, Johanna Roberts leading the Acknowledgment of Country.

Foundation Barossa, established in 2002, stands as a beacon of community support and philanthropy in the heart of the Barossa region. “The Foundation embodies our belief that generosity begins at home. By nurturing the potential within our community, we ensure a resilient future for all,” remarked Amy Heinicke, Chair of Foundation Barossa. She continued, “Tonight is not just about celebration but also about reflection on the impact of every scholarship and grant awarded. Each is a testament to the tenacity and ambition of our recipients and the incredible support of those who make our work possible.”

As a community foundation, Foundation Barossa is committed to the long-term enrichment of the region. The Foundation Barossa Awards Night not only acknowledges the achievements of its recipients but also serves as a heartfelt thank you to the donors and volunteers whose support fuels the Foundation’s enduring mission. It is a night that truly exemplifies the power of community and the impact of collective effort.

Angela Pickett, a Foundation Barossa board member, introduced the Youth Council Program, highlighting its role in empowering students as Youth Ambassadors—Kaylee Vardon, Shannon Key, Jada Rigney, Quinn Burgess, Jaxon Wylie, Hudson Lange, Charlotte Ewbank, Riylan O’Riley, Evie Leslie, Katie Graue, and Riley Swan—to tackle local issues and connect with their community. The 2023 mentors Amber Perry, Casey Miles, Kaitlyn Viergever, Jacob Judd, and Kayley Boehm provide essential guidance, sharing insights into Foundation Barossa, philanthropy, and the vital work of partner organisations.

Jenny O’Brien, a board member of Foundation Barossa, presented the Community Grants, highlighting the program’s role in bolstering community-based projects across the Barossa region. The 2022 recipients included Barossa Wildlife Rescue’s Re-wilding Program, Centacare for providing shelter, warmth, and cooking facilities for the homeless, the Sammy D Violence Prevention Presentation, and inclusive play equipment at Tanunda Disability Unit. The 2023 recipients included a new basketball court project at Nuriootpa High School Flexible Learning Centre, a defibrillator at Fathers Farm, and a Youth engagement program for Southern Barossa Alliance.

Blake Brennand and Molly Jones were awarded Kicking Goals scholarships by John Hughes. who is the Deputy Chair of Foundation Barossa and founder of the Kicking Goals Scholarship. The scholarship supports students with disabilities in their final years of high school and provides financial assistance as they transition to further education or employment.

The awards evening’s MC, Jane Ferrari, introduced Foundation Barossa’s Executive Officer, Annabelle Travaglione, alongside Margo, a recipient of the first homelessness prevention studio in the Barossa, and Guy Draper, Principal of Homburg Real Estate, to discuss the significance of the Homburg Youth Homelessness Prevention Fund. This vital fund supports the purchase of ‘Kids Under Cover’ youth homelessness prevention studios and helps create seed funding for a sustainable, long-term solution. The next three studios have now been approved for Barossa, with construction set to begin in May/June. Additionally, two more are currently under review. Guy Draper explained the reason for Homburg joining as named partner for the fund. “ The opportunity for the partnership with Foundation Barossa felt like it was a really great fit as our business sis all about putting a roof over people’s heads. When it was presented to us that youth homelessness is an issue in the Barossa, we wanted to help and make a positive contribution”.

Lisa Laycock, Board member of Foundation Barossa invited accomplished young musicians Thomas Jaeger and Bethany Lobegeiger to collect their Barossa Bands Scholarships.

Concordis scholarships were presented by representative partner Nigel van der Zande from Kaesler Wines on behalf of the Concordis partner, Seppeltsfield Wines, Kaesler, Torbreck Vintners and Two Hands Wines. The Concordis Scholarships have been designed to ensure social inclusion and remove barriers to study.

Fiona Donald from Worldplay Wines spoke passionately about their support of the Imagination Library, an early literacy program, that provides disadvantaged children with monthly book packs, enhancing reading skills and fostering a lifelong love for reading.

Fiona continued and presented the Thomas Scholarship which was established by David and Barbara Thomas in 1998 and designed to support students whose ambitions transcend barriers to study. The 2023 recipients were Tom Richardson who is studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Amber Perry, who is studying a Bachelor of Oenology & Viticulture. The 2024 recipients are Anika Marston, studying for a Bachelor of Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience), Olivia Schiller, Bachelor of Nursing, and Kobi Schulz a Bachelor in Civil Engineering.

MC, Jane then highlighted the significant impact of the Foundation Barossa’s Back to School program, which in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal and local support from Harcourts Barossa Real Estate, has distributed $38,500 in vouchers to over 770 students in 2024, promoting educational engagement, social inclusion, and resilience among disadvantaged children.

Naomi Graetz presented the Dr. Ben Baker Memorial Scholarship, established by Foundation Barossa and Angaston Medical Centre, to Caitlin Rehn, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing, in honor of Dr. Baker’s legacy of fostering community connections and supporting aspiring health professionals.

Georgia Staker from Hill Smith Family Estate discussed the Yalumba Laptop Program, managed by Foundation Barossa, which donates on average fifty second-hand computers annually to students facing economic hardships in the region, ensuring equitable access to technology for educational advancement, including those in school disability units.

Amy Heinicke presented the Elderton Wine Making Excellence scholarship recipient to Zena Hudnott who is studying Bachelor of Oenology and will complete a vintage at Elderton as part of her scholarship.

Philip Lehmann presented the awards on behalf of the Peter Lehmann Arts and Education Trust which was launched in 2014 to enhance the Barossa’s artistic and cultural fabric by broadening access to a diverse array of arts and cultural education activities. The recipients included 100 Barossa Artists for a new microphone for the Speak podcasts, the Barossa Village Elders Oral History project and That’s My Jam! project, Joshua van Konkelenberg as the Artist in Residence for the Hill and Son Organ, the Nuriootpa High School Collaborative mural, the Rechner Cottage Conservation Association, Cultural History of Light Pass project, Tutti Arts for the Inside Out and Meeting Place projects, Ali Devitt Lanson, for the Fun in the Park project, the Marananga Brass Band, Digital access to 100 years of the Marananga Town Band initiative, and Tara Tauba Therapeutic Arts, Hands Immersed program.

Jane, the evening’s MC, spoke about the Barossa Australia Wellbeing Grants, a crucial collaboration with Foundation Barossa, providing Mental Health First Aid Training to those in the wine and visitor sectors, enhancing regional resilience and safeguarding the wellbeing of our community.

John Hughes highlighted the impact of PHIL & THROPE Wines, emphasising that each purchase not only supports local causes through Foundation Barossa but also showcases community art, with labels designed by Tutti Arts artists enhancing their mission to produce exceptional wines that contribute meaningfully to the community.

Jenny O’Brien then spoke about the importance of partnerships in enhancing community impact, saying “Tonight, many of our partners are here in this room. Your support and commitment are important to the Foundation’s success. Whether you are a long-standing ally or a new friend of the Foundation, please know that your contributions are valued and have made a significant impact.” Jenny highlighted the success of the Give A Little More Barossa soup kitchen initiative, which brought together local chefs, bakers, Barossa Co-op, and Northland Packaging to support the important work of the Foundation.

The evening concluded with a heartfelt recognition of the current volunteer board of Foundation Barossa and acknowledgments for outgoing board members, previous Chair Neil Retallick, and Board member, Abbey Underwood. Current Chair, Amy Heinicke, expressing gratitude to all attendees, shared an inspiring vision: ‘With $2 million in managed funds allowing annual grants and scholarships of $80,000 to $100,000, our goal to increase this to $20 million could enable us to give back $800,000 to $1 million each year to where it is needed most. This lofty yet attainable goal underscores the profound impact we can achieve together.'”