The Opera Australia Benevolent Fund was established in October 1980 (as the Australian Opera Benevolent Fund) with the purpose of helping past and present employees of the company and their dependants in times of hardship.
Since then its resources have grown steadily and, most importantly, the Fund has been able to fulfil its purpose by providing financial gifts, interest-free loans and counselling services to individuals who are in need.
The Fund’s Trustees are elected to represent various constituent groups (both past and present of the company). The current Trustees are:
Robert Mitchell (Hon. Chairman)
Anson Austin OAM
Li Li Fisher (Hon. General Secretary)
Rachel Westwood (Hon. Minutes Secretary)
Ann Wang (Treasurer)
The dealings of the Fund are absolutely confidential to the Trustees, but it can certainly be said that over more than 30 years the Fund has been of significant assistance to employees of different generations and their families, in a surprisingly diverse range of needy circumstances.
Membership fees are generally collected through fortnightly salary deduction via OA Payroll. In addition, other fund-raising activities are conducted throughout the year and one-off donations can be made directly to the Fund through contact with any of the Trustees.
It is not a requirement for an individual to be or to have been a financial member of the Fund to be a beneficiary in cases of hardship.