Building Positive Futures for young Indigenous Australians

To build an enduring program we have established AFL Cape York House Foundation to support the work of AFL Cape York Ltd, particularly AFL Cape York House for boys and girls. The Foundation’s purpose is to ‘support students and families participating in AFL Cape York coordinated programs in the areas of Education, Well Being Support, AFL Pathways, Careers, Transition, Residential Care and Outreach Programs.’

The Foundation is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient and registered with the Australian Not for Profit and Charities Commission.

Our long-term goal is to build a capital base that will enable us to undertake forward planning with certainty and to lessen our dependence on annual funding. We also aim to build transition accommodation and provide support to our students after they graduate.

In the short term we are seeking support for vital education and wellbeing programs undertaken annually at AFL Cape York House. These include:

Establishing an Education Fund to assist students not eligible for ABSTUDY         $60,000
Purchase of essential School supplies, equipment and support activities $20,000
Personal Student tuition $20,000
Student related travel (return to community, family reunion visits, welfare related travel, staff accompanying younger students, etc) $20,000
Student Support Coordinator   $40,000

Inspiring Success

We have witnessed great success from students navigating through boarding and secondary schooling with all our past graduates completing QCE. Further highlighting the success of our graduates is the number of students transitioning through to tertiary levels and meaningful employment. We have been able to partner with some of Australia’s most prestigious universities including the University of Sydney, Bond University and James Cook University.

The reason there has been this level of success is not by accident. The houses provide a wrap around service that supports the young people to transition into education, work or tertiary levels of education.

Sustaining Opportunity

Sustaining this level of support is a financial challenge. Families can apply for the ABSTUDY living away from home benefits if their combined income is less than $44,000 however the funds decrease when incomes increase. This means that for families where the parents are employed, active and contributing members of their community, the cost of having to send their children away for a secondary education can be paralysing when also considering that living remotely increases the cost of living to families of up to 15-25% more than in urban areas. For participants to attain equity within the education and boarding space, more needs to be done to provide for them so they can participate in all areas of school on a level playing field with other students.

Our governance framework is strong, built on integrity, diversity engagement and inclusiveness which has enabled us to have successful outcomes supported by Local, State and Federal governments. The next stage for the Foundation is to build corporate and philanthropy relationships so that we can take up further opportunities. It is critical to build a sustained funding base that will enable the provision of services to more students and families. This is where AFL Cape York House Foundation steps in.

We are proud of the achievements of our students and keen to ensure that we can continue to create opportunities, build capacity and deliver positive outcomes for our young people so that they have a rewarding life and can contribute to the wellbeing of their own community and the broader Australian community.

We value this support which has helped our students achieve so much and we believe it is important for us to be proactive and to build a sustainable funding base that will allow many more students to enjoy the same benefits and the opportunity for  positive futures.

Meet the Board

Dean Warren – Chairperson/Director

Dean Warren is the current AFL Queensland Chief Executive Officer. Mr Warren has a Graduate Certificate of Business (Sports Management) and completed the AFL Senior Leaders Program at the Melbourne Business School ‑ Mt Eliza. Dean spent 14 years managing participation, talent and community programs in Queensland as Regional Development Manager then State Development Manager. In 2010 Dean was the Brisbane Lions General Manager ‑ Football Operations overseeing all aspects of the Football Department including coaching and development, physical performance and medical, list management, football administration, player welfare and education.

Rick Hanlon – Director (OAM)

Rick is employed by AFL Queensland as General Manager, AFL Cape York Ltd. Rick first arrived in Cairns in 1998 to take up the Regional Development Manager position which he held for eight years. Originally from Tasmania, Rick worked in AFL game development for over 25 years and with the support of AFL Cairns Juniors has witnessed excellent growth in AFL throughout the Far North. Rick received life membership of AFL Cairns Juniors in 2008, Tasmanian Hall of Fame and the Order of Australia Medal in 2017.

Ros Casey – Director

Ros is Director of Advancement at St Michael’s Grammar School in Melbourne. Ros is an experienced senior manager who spent more than 10 years at Victoria University (VU) as Director of Advancement. In this role she was responsible for the University’s philanthropic, sponsorship and alumni relations programs, and established a strategic fundraising program to support key university activities. Prior to joining VU, Ros worked as a consultant to the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership where she developed an extensive community business partnership program.

She has also worked with the Secretariat to the National Council for the Centenary of Federation, the Institution of Engineers, Australia and the Australian War Memorial and has served on a number of not-for-profit boards.

Del Lythall – Administration Manager

Del has 32 years administration experience working in the AFL industry. Del commenced with AFL cairns in 1989 as a receptionist then secretary/manager of AFL cairns juniors in 2000 until 2006. Del started as Administration manager at AFL Cape York in 2006. Del was awarded a life membership with AFL Cairns Juniors in 2009. Del has a long and successful background with Women’s Softball in North Queensland from 1972 ‑ 1999 having been awarded a Queensland Softball Association Service Award and a Life Member of Cairns and District Softball Association in 1999 and a Softball Australia Service Award in 2003. Del was awarded life membership with AFL Cape York Limited in 2018.

Chris Johnson – Director

Chris is the Manager Director of SKS Indigenous Technologies. He is a proud Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri man. Chris played in a successful era with Brisbane Lions being a 3 x Premiership player and also was the Australian Captain on the Tour of Ireland. After his successful AFL career, Chris has held several coaching roles within the AFL and also worked in talent ID, delivering leadership and cultural programs. Chris has also been the Head of Engagement & Communications team at First Peoples Assembly in Victoria. Chris(SKS Indigenous Technologies) with SKS Technologies have established a joint venture while also being part of the AFL commentary team for Seven Network.