LIFESTYLE | FAMILY

Community Co-op to host fundraiser to build a cultural centre

Michelle Baltazar

A group of Filipino-Australians are celebrating Father’s Day with a twist – they are raising funds to go towards building a Philippine Art Gallery and Cultural Centre in Sydney.

This Sunday, as most Dads get spoilt with breakfast in bed, a family lunch or an expensive tech gadget, some are instead participating in something different – a fundraiser for a community cause.

Called ‘Tribute to Mothers & Fathers’, they will be part of 20 individuals (10 moms, 10 dads) who collectively raised thousands of dollars since the beginning of the year to go towards the Philippine-Australian Arts, Culture & Innovation (ACI) Central – a performance space, art gallery and social hub all rolled into one.

Technically, ACI Central already exists. It currently occupies a ground floor office space in Campbelltown (See Facebook Page: ACI Central).

It already functions as an art gallery and it has hosted several community workshops and meetings since it opened its doors late last year.

But the space only fits 60 people at any given time and the dream is to move into a bigger property featuring a restaurant, an art gallery and a multi-purpose hall for 500 people all under the one roof.

At the opening of ACI Central last year 
“ACI Central is just the first step. We are very fortunate that we have a lot of supporters who have either signed up as members of our community co-operative or made a generous donation,” said Jimmy Lopez, the founding president of NARRA Co-operative, the co-op behind the planned cultural centre.

This week, the co-operative got one step closer to its dream when it purchased a second property right across the hall where ACI Central is located.

“Our plan is simple. We want to purchase a portfolio of property assets so that eventually, we have enough funds to purchase a bigger property – maybe even one with a performance theatre!”, said Lopez.

To achieve that dream, NARRA Co-op has a multi-tiered membership structure. Called ‘Kapit-Bisig Legacy’, the entry level membership is $100 per share in the co-op plus $20 admin fee and an annual $20 ongoing membership fee (How to become a member).

From there, some members might want to contribute as a family or as a business and that membership can be anywhere between $1,000 (10 shares) to as high as $5,000 (50 shares).

All members and supporters are encouraged to support two major fundraisers - one in March and another one in September (which this year coincided with Father's Day). Raffle tickets worth $2 each are sold to add to the pot. 

The simple model worked. There are now more than 100 Kapit-Bisig Legacy members and more than 50 Bronze, Silver and Gold members. Their funds, alongside a major donation of $30,000 from a community association (Plaza Filipino) and a $16,000 government grant, plus low-interest commercial loans to cover the shortfall, NARRA Co-op has successfully purchased two properties.

The aim is to raise enough funds over the next 12 months so that both properties are fully paid and self-sustaining. NARRA Co-op and Plaza Filipino, Inc. are also applying for government grants next year.

Second property bought will be leased for three years

List of donors and co-op members are acknowledged in a plaque near the entrance

One property will be run as a venue for community events and the other will be leased out for three years to provide NARRA Co-op with additional funds.

Lopez said that ACI Central is currently being operated by member-volunteers from both NARRA Co-op and Plaza Filipino.

“At the moment, the officers of both associations are volunteering their time and skills pro bono. We do plan to allocate a small budget for a General Manager to run ACI Central if and when it becomes necessary to do so,” he said.

For now, all hands are on deck for the fundraiser this weekend. Running by the theme “Audrey & Elvis”, more than 120 guests will celebrate the contribution of ordinary mums-and-dads doing extraordinary things for their community.

Tribute to Mothers & Fathers
Burwood RSL Club
This Sunday, September 3, from 4pm
Tickets at the door: $30 includes entertainment and dance
Can't attend but want to donate? Make a Tax Deductible Donation now.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is a volunteer member of NARRA Co-op.

Fundraising event this weekend

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