Celebrating Inclusion and Diversity with Pride Cup Australia

Pride Cup Australia

Pride Cup Australia“As a kid growing up in country Victoria, I loved playing footy more than anything. But, as I got older, the football club also felt like the one place I’d never be accepted for who I was. Words like faggot, poofter and homo were considered “part of the game”, whether coming from over the fence, from the opposition, or even my own teammates.

It took me more than 10 years to finally come out to my club. When I did, not only did my teammates stand by my side, but together, we created the first Pride Cup.

We turned one of our home games into a celebration of diversity and inclusion, so that every supporter, official and player knew that they didn’t have to choose between being themselves, and the game that they love.

We painted our 50m line rainbow, wore rainbow jumpers and presented the Pride Cup to the winning team. Alongside, we designed and delivered the first-ever education program for players and coaches to help them challenge homophobia, so that more LGBTI people can access the health and wellbeing benefits of community sport.

5 years after the first Pride Cup, we’re now supporting 11 of these events annually across Victoria. As the heart of many regional communities, sporting clubs have the power to create ripple effects and transform attitudes and no other event has put LGBTI people and their stories on the front pages of regional papers quite like the Pride Cup.

Now, more towns across Australia are ready for Pride Cup, and we’re ready to bring it to them!

To go from 11 to 150 Pride Cups annually in 3 years, we’ll create a national support program to help clubs develop and execute their own Pride Cup. Through this program, we’ll engage 30,000 players, 150,000 fans and up to a million people through regional and national media.

To make this happen, I’ve engaged an advisory board with former AFL players, a former AFL Commissioner, corporate heavyweights, philanthropic leaders, and Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, and most excitingly, hired a co-founder.

Already the founder of LGBTI youth sport organisation, Proud2Play, James Lolicato brings incredible expertise and experience to our team. He’s also the 2017 Australian Community Leader of the Year and a nominee for the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Award!

With James and the advisory board in place, momentum is building. In the weeks since launching our crowdfunder, I’ve heard from football clubs in Stawell, Mornington, Daylesford, Colac and Ballarat – all ready to bring the Pride Cup to their communities.

As a young kid struggling to come to terms with my sexuality in a country town, this is a game changer that I’d never imagined would one day become a reality.

We have the proven model, we have the demand, we have the goodwill of the community and we have the A team.

Now all we need is you. Will you join us?”

Jason Ball, Founder Pride Cup

Take a look at Pride Cup Australia’s campaign page to learn more about their inspiring work around inclusion in sport:

Preserving the Kunanyi Mountain



“Residents Opposing the Cable Car (ROCC) is a group of people who care about Kunanyi, who value having the mountain that looms above Hobart remain wild and natural. There’s a road to the top and telecommunications infrastructure there, but that is all. The foothills and slopes, and the dramatic summit cliffs, well loved as they are, remain intact.

There’s a proposal to run a cable car up Kunanyi and we oppose that.

We oppose pylons, wires, forest clearing, bus-sized carriages running directly over the incredible cliffs every 5 minutes and for up to 16 hours a day, and the proposed large multi-storey building at the summit.

The development would fundamentally change the character of the mountain. It would become just another tourist destination and the wild nature of Kunanyi would be lost.

There are many people who are fiercely protective of Kunanyi and some of those people formed ROCC. Some of us live right under the Mountain and others live elsewhere around Hobart. We are a diverse bunch but working together has brought to the fore an extraordinary range of high level skills – research, design, networking, communications, legal, photography and more. And if we can’t find the skills within the group it’s generally not a far reach to find them willingly offered from elsewhere.

We are all volunteers of course, but we think about and work on this campaign all of the time. Determination to keep Kunanyi as a natural and unshackled icon is our common motivation and incredible creativity springs from that determination.

We look to Kunanyi virtually every day of our lives here. It’s our glimpse of wilderness, our restful gaze and a weather station all in one. The least then that we can do is to look after it.”

You can read more about the ROCC and their efforts to preserve Kunanyi on their campaign page:

Basics for Blokes: Helping the Homeless in Perth

Lenny Jacoby Basics for Blokes

Lenny Jacoby Basics for Blokes

“I am a mother of two young kids 4&2 so any of my volunteer work is fit in around my job as a mum and a job as a nurse. Probably good to mention my amazingly supportive husband who does a lot of the background work at home to make sure I have space and time to do this. He is a dead set legend.

I used to work in an inner city hospital, seeing homeless people come in for treatment and often making remote indigenous people become homeless so that they can access their life saving treatment. So I guess the issue of homelessness has been around me for a while and Ive always been aware of it.

In 2014 a small chat with a friend saw my request for ladies toiletries and decent underwear turned into a viral campaign called Essentials for Women. Since then I have created a charity called The Essentials Collective Inc in Perth.

Our next chapter is Basics for Blokes.  Our goal is simple: to make sure that every man in Perth has access to basic toiletries, socks and underwear.

I’m part of an incredible team at BFB. We have six strong leaders in Perth sitting at our table. We know that we can’t change everything about homeless in Perth. We know that the cost of living is high, that access to basic hygiene products are difficult, that people can fall through the gaps in our system. It is the simple things that we take for granted that can make a tangible difference, that giving people a hand up, not a hand out, can empower them to put their best foot forward.

And we know socks work. The bloke that I talk about in our campaign video, we gave him a few socks in 2016. He found me at Perth Homeless Connect last year. He remembers the socks that we gave him. And the best thing is that he is no longer homeless.

We hit 50% of our goal in 12 hours. It blew us out of the water. $5000 means that we would get 500 pairs of socks for the homeless. Our next step would be to smash our goal and increase our target so that we can get 1000 pairs of warm socks on the Perth streets this winter. Could you imagine that? ”

Learn more about The Essentials Collective and their work with the homeless on their campaign page:

Getting Cajon High School Jazz Band to The Santa Cruz Festival!

Cajon High School Jazz Band

Cajon High School Jazz Band

“As a music educator, I’ve always had an interest for serving urban, working-class communities like the city I grew up in. When I was appointed the band and orchestra director at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California three years ago, I was overjoyed to bring opportunities for music education and performance to the students in the city.

San Bernardino is a city in the Inland Empire region of Southern California that has been struggling with economic recession- in 2012, the city became the largest city in the United States to file for bankruptcy (and to this day, remains the second-largest city to have filed for bankruptcy- behind Detroit). Most of my students at Cajon High School live in economic hardship. My students have lived with violence around them: in 2015, our city was rocked by a terrorist attack that placed the community in fear and mourning; in 2017, the elementary school a block away from our school was the site of a school shooting stemming from a domestic dispute. Despite this, the city of San Bernardino shows its resilience through its community. As an educator, I support this resilience by teaching one thing: hope.

My approach to making hope happen in my music classes is to provide my students greater opportunity. Since taking over the position of band and orchestra director, the program has expanded in its ensembles offered, amount of performances, quality, and in number of students.

This is the third year that I have spent restarting the jazz band program at Cajon High School, and the first year we have had a big band instrumentation. As a professional musician who has travelled performing music, I also wanted to show my students that music can take them places- quite literally. When the band was accepted to perform at the 2018 Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, I knew this was an opportunity I had to make happen for my students. I investigated the costs involved, and saw that it was an achievable goal, which was why I went to my parent group to start a Chuffed.org fundraiser. In tandem with the Chuffed.org fundraiser, I promoted the group and the cause through social media with musicians I performed with and friends and family, and through a piano recital series. I never realized how quickly the community could come together to make this opportunity happen for my students!”

You can read more about the Cajon High School Jazz band on their campaign page:

The Big Bottle Tour, by Annett and the Boomerang Alliance Team!



“I used to be a telecom engineer and got to work in different countries. But wherever I lived, I was drawn to and fascinated by our oceans and the many amazing creatures that live there. 15 years ago, I decided to make this passion my profession. I studied marine ecology and came to understand that human impact goes further than overfishing and loss of habitat. Our oceans are drowning in waste, most of it plastic. That plastic never goes away, it just breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, which when ingested by animals can transfer toxic chemicals, many of which have been found to magnify up the food chain. The scale of plastic debris is simply staggering and cleaning up is not a solution. I wanted to do something to stop this at the source, on land.

I joined Boomerang Alliance, an Australian not-for-profit group working to reduce marine plastic pollution. We lobby governments, work with industry and educate communities on issues such as single-use plastic packaging. I’m their sole Victorian representative and have been campaigning for 18 months for a container deposit scheme. Drink containers are one of the biggest contributors to plastic marine debris. The CSIRO found that containers are three times less likely to be littered in areas with a container refund scheme. It’s easy really: put a value on it and it doesn’t get tossed! Victoria and Tasmania are the only states that have yet to commit to such a scheme.

The scheme is also great for providing funding for charities and community groups. It’s easy to convince people of why this makes sense, but it’s sometimes hard to be heard over the dim of other issues taking up space and time. So, I decided to go BIG… enter the Big Bottle, which I want to tour around regional Victoria. I put out the call and have already received many offers of help with setting up meetings with MPs, talking at schools and doing clean-ups. The best part of my job is working with all these local waste heroes and I can’t wait to meet them! Together we can push this sensible scheme high up on the Victorian government’s agenda. Let’s just hope the Big Bottle makes it all in one piece 😊”
Annett and the Boomerang Alliance team

Learn more about this awesome cause on Annett’s crowdfunding campaign page below: