Donation allows Hawks to invest in Indigenous football communities

AFL premiers, Hawthorn, will expand its Indigenous program following a $1 million donation from Epic Pharmacy Group founders and Hawthorn Football Club Foundation members, Stuart Giles and Cathie Reid.

Hawthorn President Andrew Newbold, CEO Stuart Fox and the Hawks’ five Indigenous stars, Shaun Burgoyne, Cyril Rioli, Bradley Hill, Jed Anderson and Jermaine Miller-Lewis accepted the donation this week.

The donation will allow Hawthorn’s Indigenous program to facilitate:

  • Employing an Indigenous Programs Officer at Waverley Park
  • Funding and supporting the Eastern Eaglehawks Under 18 Indigenous football team
  • Growing and leveraging a current affiliation with Big River Hawks Under 18 football team from Katherine, NT
  • Facilitating a leadership and cultural awareness camp in Melbourne for the Big River Hawks
  • Facilitating an annual community camp with specific Indigenous activity in Tasmania
  • Providing Indigenous cultural awareness training for all staff and players
  • Facilitating an Indigenous Auskick Centre visit from Northern Territory to Melbourne
  • Undertaking a community visit to Katherine with a Hawthorn Football Club Indigenous player each year

Hawthorn’s Indigenous ambassadors, Burgoyne and Rioli, will take on mentoring roles within the program.

Mr Fox said the donation will enable the club to extend the reach, breadth and growth of its Indigenous programs.

“Stuart and Cathie’s generous donation will enable the club to facilitate and cultivate the program for the next five years and beyond through mentorship, lifestyle and participation programs in Indigenous communities,” said Hawthorn CEO Stuart Fox.

“A five year funding commitment in this space also allows the programs to continue to develop, evolve and grow in this time so we can help effect real change.”

“The AFL is an integral part of many Indigenous communities, particularly in the Darwin and Katherine regions where school attendance and a healthy lifestyle are an essential element to joining the football team.

“Through initiatives such as these, Hawthorn hopes to generate lasting relationships with these communities and help bring about real change in not only the Northern Territory but throughout Indigenous communities nationally,” he said.

ASF Chief Executive, Patrick Walker, congratulated Hawthorn on its Indigenous program and thanked Mr Giles and Ms Reid for their generous donation.

“This is a wonderful case study of ASF partners working together with generous donors to assist the growth, development and participation of AFL in Indigenous communities,” said Mr Walker.

“Not only are Hawthorn premiers on the field, but they are champions off the field through its Foundation’s activity.

“It is fantastic to see a club directing funds into Indigenous football. The club has developed and fielded a host of great players from Indigenous backgrounds, and this expanded program will ensure more Indigenous players are given opportunities and pathways to excel,” he added.

Mr Walker said it was appropriate Hawthorn, through its Foundation and partnership with the ASF, announced its expanded Indigenous program ahead of the AFL’s Indigenous Round this weekend.

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