On 25- 26 May Dusseldorp Forum brought together change-makers from across the country for our inaugural Festival of Change. Over two days we shared stories and explored how to model and drive real systemic reform and shift long-term outcomes for vulnerable children and communities.

Doveton College, Logan Together, Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project and Nawarddeken Academy are four lighthouse partners that are shining light on the way forward for the future of our country.

What makes a lighthouse?

During the Festival of Change we explored the common elements among these community builders at the forefront of social change in Australia. They’re not waiting around for change to happen. They are self-organising, they are restructuring and reconfiguring their communities, services and supports from the ground up to better meet the needs of this and future generations.

Lighthouse initiatives discovered they share five key elements that place their work at the forefront of social change:

1. Community is everything

They prioritise knowledge, experience and aspirations of the local community. They involve the community at all levels of planning and decision making.

2. Collective models

They combine the perspectives of all stakeholders – local people, Government, NGOs, services, business and philanthropy to develop appropriate shared vision and goals.

3. Systemic reform

Going beyond programmatic responses to address the underlying causes of disadvantage requires the systems around young people and their communities to shift. They are demonstrating how the realignment of services and funding better serves young people and their families.

4. Rigorous commitment to learning

They are drawing on data, building evidence and tracking outcomes aligned to their goals.

5. Long-term strategy and investment

Population level change is long-term therefore their strategies span 10 years or more.

So what next?

The lighthouses have committed to working collectively, to share and support each other in the nation-building work they are leading. Dusseldorp Forum is proud to work alongside them. 

The work required to tackle intergenerational poverty and structural disadvantage is hard and these lighthouses need strengthening for the long road ahead. This social innovation requires a coalition of corporate, government and philanthropic supporters who understand the work and can orient themselves to a long-term social investment strategy.

If you are interested in hearing more about the lighthouses, their work and our collective efforts, please get in touch.