By HARRY CLARKE | SPONSORED
A LEADING Australian stockbroking, wealth management and corporate advice firm will host hundreds of city workers nationwide for the fifth instalment of a charity function which has so far raised more than $3.4 million for country folk in need.
Instead of being a fancy corporate fundraiser characterised by ball gowns and black ties, Morgans‘ annual Big Dry Friday event aims to truly connect its donors from the big smoke to their beneficiaries in bush.
Guests are asked to consider the luxuries they enjoy in capital cities which often aren’t available to those facing hardships on the land, by setting aside whatever amount of money they might usually spend on a Friday long lunch and donating it to a selection of rural charities.
“Our business is a bit different to some of the other broker and financial advisory firms,” said Brian Sheahan, Brisbane-based Executive Chairman of Morgans (pictured).
“We’re very much a regional network and we always have been. It’s in our DNA. We’ve done a lot of work in the agriculture space and for regional businesses in general.
“We started Big Dry Friday in 2018 which was obviously a tough year in regional Australia with droughts, not only for farmers but also flowing through to regional communities.
“We decided we wanted to do something to help all of our friends, families, clients and compatriots in country areas.”
This Friday, November 18, Big Dry Friday in Brisbane will held on the banks of the Brisbane River at the venue Events On Oxlade. The event will feature a mechanical bull riding competition complete with a Calcutta charity auction.
About 340 people are expected to attend. Similar Big Dry Friday events will be hosted by Morgans simultaneously in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
“The name ‘Big Dry Friday’ is a bit of a play on words,” Sheahan said.
“Guests can of course abstain from having a drink if they wish, but the idea is to make the event accessible to everyone and for people to donate whatever they might usually spend having lunch and a beer on a Friday afternoon.
“For some people that might be 10 or 50 dollars, and for others it might be 200 dollars.
“Sometimes stories of the terrible situations going on in regional Australia don’t get through to people in the cities. What we are trying to do is create a day that connects city and country and try to make it approachable for all people.”
When Big Dry Friday began in 2018, organisers distributed the funds raised to causes which supported drought-affected farmers and communities, however over the ensuing years the list of beneficiaries has expanded to reflect changes in the needs of people living in the bush.
In 2022 funds will support organisations which focus on education and mental health in rural communities. The selected charities are Schools Plus, Rural Aid, Outback Futures, the Rural Doctors Foundation and QUT Rural and Regional Teaching Bursaries.
One hundred cents in very dollar raised will go to the charities.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters (pictured) said of the total $3.4 million raised through Big Dry Friday over its first four years, nearly $1.5 million had been received by Rural Aid and distributed to people impacted by droughts and floods.
“We’re huge fans of what Morgans has done and continues to do, knowing that all of their efforts go back into supporting organisations like Rural Aid and other beneficiaries so that we can, in turn, support those farming families which need a bit of help from time to time,” Warlters said.
“The dollars that come from Big Dry Friday go to people who are often in very desperate situations and we saw that very graphically illustrated through the drought, when every dollar was incredibly precious.
“People make huge sacrifices to keep their places going and keep their livestock alive. The help that Morgans and its supporters gave to Rural Aid, so that we could then pass that on, has made a difference to so many people.
“More recently, that same support from Morgans has been delivered against the backdrop of floods – that stark contrast that only Australia seems to be able to serve up.
“I love the Big Dry Friday event because it is an opportunity for story telling about why the funds raised are so important and how they make a difference to people.
“It helps people understand that what they’re a part of is not just a good social opportunity, but has a real impact in a positive way in someone else’s life.”
For more information, or to donate, visit bigdryfriday.com.au.