This is the inspirational story of a project that rose from the ashes …
Morningside CARE was on the verge of collapse when a determined group of people came along to revive it. Now it is stronger than ever, a member with a difference that helps other projects all over the world.
From an article by Harris Smart, editor of Subud Voice
Morningside C.A.R.E. Inc (MCI) is an Australian charity started in the 1980s. Its best-known project is Sine Cera, a facility that hosts residential retreats, seminars and other events. Located on a 200-acre property in a remote location in New South Wales, just two years ago it seemed that the Sine Cera venture was about to collapse. It had problems attracting sufficient customers, maintaining the facilities and grounds, and it felt like it was losing direction.
In a dramatic move, Sine Cera was put up for sale. Fortunately, it did not sell. Instead it has been revived and has even known remarkable growth. Irwan Wyllie was appointed as the CEO and is supported by a strong and committed Board composed of Arif Matthee and Denise and Davin Shellshear (chairman). It is now attracting a substantial number of groups to use the facility.
According to Irwan: “Sine Cera wasn’t working for all kinds of reasons. It was proving impossible to get the people that we needed living on site to maintain the large property and to work with groups using the place. The remote location certainly didn’t help.
Then we were introduced to a man called Tim who proved to have the right skill sets and the dedicated attitude to become the on-site caretaker at Sine Cera. Tim looks after maintenance and deals with guests. Having an on-site caretaker to do all this meant that I could concentrate on offsite things like finance, marketing and administration and the development of other charitable activities. We also cut out some of the services we were offering. This restructure was vital to the turnaround of Sine Cera.”
As a bonus, recent changes in the tax laws in Australia have meant that Morningside CARE can now send money to support projects outside of Australia whereas previously it could only assist projects nationally. SDIA has helped MCI identify projects that are a good fit with its constitution and mission.
According to Irwan, “maintaining our charitable status, which is quite a precious thing, was the priority. We did a very thorough review of our situation and it became clear that Sine Cera, far from being a burden, had the potential to enable a more sustainable future for MCI and to support more charitable works. We have renovated Sine Cera and built up the marketing through social media.
“We’ve been able to fund projects in Nepal, in Java, in Borneo, and in the DR Congo. They are all relatively small amounts of money, raised through the relatively small membership, but in that way, we’ve been able to broaden our scope and our thinking. The latest thing we’re exploring is to provide housing for elderly people. We’re starting to research this possibility as another way through which we can express our charitable purposes.”
MCI is also working with two well-known charitable groups in Australia focused on helping women and children. The first is a Women’s Center focused on domestic and family violence and nationally renowned for its pioneering work. The second is an initiative called Thrive2484 whose aim is to improve the links within the local community that will enable families and young children to thrive. All of this has contributed to MCI developing a healthy financial picture and creating a much broader field to operate in.
In the face of apparent disaster, MCI’s outward-looking vision led to transformation and growth. This is an example to us all never to give up, and that we can all make a difference if we believe in ourselves!