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By Garry Howe

The region’s business community again dug deep to help those in need at the Casey Cardinia Foundation’s Annual Charity Dinner on Friday night, 13 October.
Around 300 people enjoyed fine local fare prepared by Khans Catering at the Cardinia Cultural Centre and were entertained by the predominantly local 13-piece band Big ‘N’ Horny.
Foundation chairman Paul Thomas said the night looked like raising around $75,000, which would be directed to worthwhile local projects and initiatives.
Welcoming guests at the dinner, Mr Thomas appealed to the business community to help the Foundation keep up with the growing need for assistance for those in need.
“The region’s tag line is Grow and the growth and achievement in this region has been nothing but extraordinary, but with any growth comes pain and challenges,” Mr Thomas said.
“It is inherent on the region’s business leaders to ensure those growth pains are limited, are reduced, to ensure there is support, infrastructure and care, especially for the most vulnerable, the elderly, the young, the disadvantaged and those with a disability.
“The Casey Cardinia Foundation is just one organisation that does assist to provide some of that important support and care and, whilst our impact has been relatively small, that impact continues to grow rapidly.
“In line with the growth of this region, the needs of the community continue to increase, which is reflected in the continued growth in applications received across a variety of organisations.
“The quality of these projects and organisations made it difficult for the Foundation’s directors to allocate the grants but we were fortunate to be able to grant a significant increase compared to other years, due to the generosity of our many supporters.”
Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $550,000 in grants to not-for-profit community organisations throughout the region.
Mr Thomas said that, early this year, the Foundation facilitated a Ripe for Change small grants program for food system projects and seven organisations shared $49,000 under that banner.
He said $10,000 was provided from the Cardinia Casey Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch that was split between two worthwhile men’s health initiatives.
“We were greatly assisted this year by some significant fundraising activities by a few key supporters, including Evergreen Turf and its Charity Race Day, raising more than $26,000, as well as Aligned Leisure’s various fundraising activities, amounting to almost $30,000,” he said.

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