Meet the Champions Making Wollongong a More Welcoming Place

Meet the Champions Making Wollongong a More Welcoming Place

To help SCARF continue our important work, we called out for some passionate people to become Champions of Welcome and raise vital funds for SCARF. Forty-nine people responded, and together, they raised $36,365 for SCARF. We think that’s pretty amazing!


What is ‘Champions of Welcome’?

Champions of Welcome is based on the peer-to-peer fundraising model. In this model, fundraisers (in this case, the Champions of Welcome) ask for support in the form of donations from their own personal networks for a cause they’re passionate about. The money raised is tracked on individual’s fundraising pages, as well as on a central campaign page where the total amount raised is visible.

For SCARF’s Champions of Welcome campaign, we wanted to make the experience of being a Champion as enjoyable and exciting as possible. So instead of choosing a single fundraising method, we encouraged our champions to fundraise in a way that suits them.


We also wanted our Champions to not just be fundraisers, but to help us champion compassion, humanity and welcome by having positive and empowering conversations about refugee entrants.

By raising vital funds for SCARF, and by championing a more truthful and compassionate message about refugees along the way, we believed that the Champions of Welcome could help to make the Illawarra a more welcoming place for refugee entrants (spoiler: they totally did!).

The Champions of Welcome Launch and Workshop

To help the Champions of Welcome get geared up and ready to make a big impact out in the community, we held a Workshop and Launch event at Flourish Australia on the 2nd of May.


After speeches from SCARF’s founder, Sharyn Mackenzie OAM, and our founding patron, The Hon. Sharon Bird MP, there were presentations on SCARF’s services, fundraising and positive conversations workshops, stories from SCARF community members and idea-generating games. Later, guests enjoyed a dance performance from the Karenni Dance Group, and traditional Syrian snacks to keep energy levels high.


By the end of the workshop, the Champions were skilled up, and fundraising ideas were already being exchanged. We were confident that our Champions would go on to achieve great things!

What The Champions Got Up To:

We were blown away by the ingenuity, dedication and enthusiasm of our champions, not to mention their incredible successes!

The Champions held a wide range of events and activities, from running half marathons and getting sponsored to ride a bike tens of kilometres, to selling artworks, holding unique events, fundraising through their business’ and much much more.


Neave creating artworks of friends and family in exchange for donations

Our incredible top fundraiser, Vanessa, asked for gifts in lieu of a major birthday. She raised $3700!


Our top fundraiser, the wonderful Vanessa!

The Retro Surf Comp raised a super impressive $3200 by donating proceeds from their annual event.


Penny from The Wine Bulb raised money by holding a wine education evening at The Throsby.


Penny from the Wine Bulb at ‘Kevin Loves Giuseppe’, a wine education event.

…And Inaia and her mum Lucy made the awesome tie-dyed shirts and gave them away in exchange for a donations.


Inaia and Lucy Janssens’ tie-dyed shirts

These are just a few examples amongst many impressive ideas. To see more of what the Champions of Welcome got up to, check out this video at 1:56 mins!


A massive, heartfelt thanks to all involved – from our incredible Champions, to those who worked hard behind the scenes to make it all happen. The funds raised through Champions of Welcome will help SCARF continue to ensure each refugee entrant in the Illawarra is welcomed, supported to rebuild their life, and has access to the tools for self-empowerment. That’s something worth celebrating!