Home-grown icon Weis Ice Creams continue to support the Darling Downs through community grants

17 June 2022

The Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation and Unilever today celebrated a landmark occasion by announcing the two charities who will share in $25,000 as beneficiaries of the inaugural round of Weis Community Fund grants.

Funded by Unilever and administered by the Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation, the Weis Community Fund helps charitable organisations build a stronger and more resilient Darling Downs region.  

We are excited to announce that grants have been awarded to the following beneficiaries:

The Mulberry Project - Farm Ready Pathway, which aims to prepare participants for work in agriculture. Participants will have the opportunity to improve their employability by obtaining a Farm Ready Certificate. The program provides a purposeful activity in the community for socially isolated adults from migrant backgrounds who need to connect, build knowledge and self-confidence in their abilities, to prepare them for farm work. 

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation - One TRAIL scholarship for a Darling Downs emerging agri-business leader. TRAIL is a cross-sector, challenge-based leadership program for emerging leaders who are looking to develop their leadership capability, awareness, and practice. 

Both organisations have a strong track record of supporting and encouraging participants of their programs to be productive and valued members of the Darling Downs community.

The Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation’s Executive Officer Paul Olds believes this inaugural grant round has kicked off what will become a strong long-term contributor to the region’s economic development.

“While taking different approaches and working with different people the amazing recipients both focus on helping people achieve on a personal and professional level,” Mr Olds said

“Short-term outcomes such as employment are critical, it is the long-term changes these programs can deliver that really excites me. There is the ability to totally transform the trajectory of participants’ lives, leading to a more prosperous community for future generations.”.

Unilever spokesperson Annie Lucchitti said, “The Weis Community Fund was set up to leave a legacy that honours Weis’ 60+ year history and the Weis team’s passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, continuous improvement, and quality agricultural ingredients. 

“We’re thrilled that The Mulberry Project and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation have been selected as the first beneficiaries of the Weis Community Fund. Both organisations have already brought immense value to the Darling Downs region, and we hope with the support of the Fund they’ll be able to scale their impact even further.”

The Weis Ice Cream factory’s legacy in Toowoomba continues in perpetuity thanks to the Weis Community Fund established by Unilever Australia as a sub-fund that sits under the Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation (HBCF) banner.

The Fund was set up to have a longstanding impact in the Toowoomba community and leave a legacy that honours Weis’ 60+ year history and the Weis team’s passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, continuous improvement, and quality agricultural ingredients. 

The Weis Community Fund supports an annual grant funding program for local charitable projects that support innovation in agri-foods, sustainable farming practices and/or the next generation of local entrepreneurs. To ensure the grants principally flow to the Toowoomba district, the selected initiatives are located in Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Southern Downs and/or Western Downs. 

The HBCF was established in 2018 with seed funding of $2 million from Heritage Bank.  The Charitable Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need throughout our community.  The Foundation’s philosophy is to provide support now whilst also building a strong corpus that will benefit and grow stronger communities well into the future.  

Heritage Bank funds all operational costs of the Foundation, ensuring all donations received and investment income generated is applied to helping those in need, now and into the future.

Photo: Ricky Adams (The Mulberry Project Engagement Coordinator), Greg Johnson  (The Mulberry Project), Bronwyn Herbeson (The Mulberry Project), Nicky Sparshott (Unilever CEO),  Annie Lucchitti (Unilever Marketing Manager), Paul Olds (Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation Executive Officer).

Weis Community Fund Beneficiary - The Mulberry Project

Photo: Paul Olds (Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation Executive Officer), Philippa Woodhill (ARLF Director Partnerships), Vivienne Johnson (ARLF Manager Philanthropy), Nicky Sparshott (Unilever CEO), Annie Lucchitti (Unilever Marketing Manager) and Bill Armagnacq (Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation Chair).

Weis Community Fund Beneficiary - ARLF


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