A new generation has taken a seat at the CEF board table. Earlier this year Peita Burton Taylor, Burton Taylor Foundation CEO , and Oscar Oberg, from Wilson Asset Management, were officially welcomed.
With a knowledge of the country and a passion for equality in education the pair is keen to make the most of these appointments while also contributing to the wealth of experience already in the board room.
“It’s only been a few months and from attending just one board meeting I’ve realised running a not for profit is hard and complicated. For me it’s about helping CEF and I think having Peita and I as a younger generation will be a huge benefit,” Oscar says.
Both are also keen to reach out to their networks and share CEF’s work urging a new generation of supporters and donors to come forward to broaden CEF’s impact and reach.“It’s about making a difference. The attraction of CEF is that we are helping people that will potentially miss out. Every donation, no matter how small, can make a huge difference. To some people that might not sound like much, but it’s life-changing. That’s important for us to communicate,” Oscar says.
“We’re in the worst drought in 30 years at the moment and I think these kids need help and CEF is a great way to do it.”
Peita agrees. “There is story after story of CEF inspiring and supporting young adults – that’s a real privilege. You could pick any recipient at random and I could guarantee, that every single one would have an amazing story, many facing financial, emotional and social obstacles in disadvantaged rural and regional areas.”
“These young adults come to CEF at such a crucial and vulnerable time in their lives, where they have decided to take the next step and they have worked out how to get there. They have proven they have the drive and fortitude to come to their community and ask for assistance.”
“As I start to put my kids through school it’s only becoming more relevant for me to make sure the opportunities of city kids and country kids evens out,” Peita says.
Peita Burton Taylor is the CEO of the Burton Taylor Foundation. She lives in Sydney with her husband Mark and three young children, Clover, 8, Bertie, 5, and Clementine, 3. They regularly drive down the Hume Highway to spend time in Boorowa.
Oscar Oberg is a portfolio manager at Wilson Asset Management. He lives in Sydney with this wife, Sophie and two young children, Isabella, 2 and Adelaide, 6 months. His connections with the Boorowa and Yass communities still run strong with parents, and younger sister who is now running the family property.
Originally from a property between Yass and Boorowa, Oscar says his love of sport and finance called him away from pursing a life on the family farm. “I would have been a terrible farmer,” Oscars laughs.
Despite not being drawn to a country life, he has always felt close to the people who live there and make it what it is, and when he was invited to be on the CEF board he jumped at the chance to give back.
“Through my work as Wilson Asset Management we’re encouraged to get involved in philanthropy and when I was looking for a way to help and give back, Mum mentioned the Country Education Foundation. When I started investigating the organisation further and what it provides to students, this is exactly what I was interested in. It helps a range of people and educational opportunities – it’s not just TAFE or uni.”
Oscar knows sometimes it’s one person’s encouragement and belief can be a life-altering experience in young person’s life. “Mum worked at Yass High as a physics teacher, and I always remember one particular story that makes me proud. She was teaching a Year 12 class and one of the students who graduated went on to university and wrote her a letter. He thanked her and said how good a teacher she was, and if it wasn’t for her who knows where he would be.”
As the daughter of CEF’s founders, Nick and Julia, Peita has seen first-hand the impact CEF has made.
“Over the years I have been fortunate to hear and witness many of these journeys that start with a dream and become a reality,” she shares.
“One of the first stories that has remained with me, was hearing about a young man in our community that desperately wanted to become a butcher, however he didn’t have the resources to buy the metal glove and knives required to start his apprenticeship. He received the grant, completed his apprenticeship and became a butcher in the local community that supported him at the beginning.”
“That is what I love about CEF – that the grant can help in different ways for different individuals, whether it is with accommodation or a computer for university or it could be help with textbooks to study a trade.”
“I want to keep the CEF legacy going, it’s something that Mum and Dad have been so passionate about. I want to keep the momentum up.”