It is now one year since I took over from Malcolm Reed as
President of the Australian Flora Foundation. At the time of taking office
I noted that Malcolm's time as President would be a hard act to follow.
I was not wrong.
Progress has been slow this year, largely I feel because we had become so dependent on the central role that Malcolm has played in keeping things moving, with of course the help of other Council members, and access to facilities at Macquarie University. Changes in my own work situation, plus the difficulty of operating remote from the Sydney base, where all the files as well as most members are located, have added to the problem. However, I have plans afoot to overcome these problems for the year ahead.
We received a strong field of applicants for this years Research Grant round. After the usual two staged application round a list of finalists was agreed upon. Notification of the successful applicants has been delayed but $35,000 has been allocated for new projects in addition to ongoing commitments. As usual there were other very worthy projects that we were unable to fund; this is what drives the Board to keep striving for ways of increasing the research funding base. Thus one of the main challenges always facing the Foundation is how to raise our profile and attract significant funding into the research trust account.
Overall fund raising has been down this year but a substantial bequest has been gratefully received from Mrs Inez Armitage, a past member of the Foundation and a prominent member of the Australian Plants Society. Earlier in the year the Council again tried to enlist the support of people from the business sector to get an effective fund raising program underway. One hope was that we might attract corporate sponsorship for Bill Payne's proposal for 'The Australian Flower of the Year'. As yet, these efforts have not borne fruit.
Through the year the Board has had to deal with some legal matters due to changes in the Incorporation of Associations Act under which we operate. Acting on legal advise, newly co-opted Board member, lan Cox is undertaking a revision of our Memorandum of Articles of Association. The changes are administrative and will not materially change the Foundations operations.
In spite of the operational difficulties encountered, the Foundation has continued to impact positively on research into the Australian flora. However, we could do so much more with active support from more of the membership. We would be delighted to hear from willing helpers!
Richard Williams, President