top of page


Legal Status

The Foundation was established in 1965 under a Deed of Trust. It operates under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 and has Deductible Gift Recipient status under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.


The Foundation is managed by a Board of up to ten directors – a mix of city and country people including farmers, school leaders, finance managers and solicitors. The current directors are:

Richard Dougan, BA, CMC, FIMC, Cert IV & Dip Proj Mngmt - Chairman 

Richard Dougan who grew up in Bathurst NSW and attended The Scots School.  He was Managing Director of the consulting company, Australian Strategic Planning Pty Limited (ASP) and also of XSOL Australia, the distributor of New Zealand based XSOL Limited’s Business Process Management software which he set up. He worked with Coopers & Lybrand Services and Wang Laboratories before setting up ASP. He has co-authored a number of text books for the McGraw-Hill Publishers on office automation.  Richard has had extensive experience and involvement with educational institutions including planning, governance, operations and fundraising activities for 

Northbridge Primary School; The Shore School; St Andrews College, Sydney University; North Sydney Institute of TAFE; Riverina Institute of TAFE; NSW TAFE Commission; NSW Department of Education; The King’s School and Tudor House.


His involvement at St Andrew’s College included as a Councillor and Chairman of the Business Committee and Chairman of the St Andrew’s College Foundation Inc.  He is an Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and a Certified Management Consultant. Richard joined the Board in 2014 and was elected Chairman in early 2015. 

Andrew Heaven, BA, MFinPlan, DipFP, CFP, JP - Vice Chairman & Public Officer

Andrew is a Certified Financial Planner and Co-Principal of WealthPartners Financial Solutions. He has extensive involvement with community based organisations supporting children. A former director and board member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia he joined the Foundation board in 2013.

John McRae, BA, MComm, FCPA, FCA, AICD, JP – Treasurer

John has extensive experience in public accounting and the Australian retail sector. He has held senior management roles in publicly listed companies on the Australian Securities Exchange with a focus on general management and finance. His work experience has been gained in Australia, the UK and USA. John’s family come from Armidale where they continue to own grazing properties. He maintains a close association with residents in rural New South Wales, joining the Foundation Board in 2011.

Kerry Blight, BA DipEd, LltB, MEd

Kerry has had extensive experience in Education, Secondary Education, TAFE and at University level. She started teaching at Wauchope High School before working as a Teacher Education Advisor with the NSW Education Scholarship Scheme.

Kerry has worked for the Department of Education at State office by providing support and training to teachers,

as well as developing educational material. At Educational Assessment Australia at UNSW she lead teams in developing literacy tests for use in Australia as well as overseas, and at the NSW Board of Studies, Kerry was involved in developing educational material for the Assessment Resource Centre website. Recently Kerry has written educational modules for IDEA Digital Education. Kerry still does occasional work for New South Wales Education Standards Authority. Kerry joined the Foundation Board in 2019.

Rod Cowdroy, BBus

Rod is a director of various companies that have invested in a diverse range of Australian enterprises. After spending most of his career working for large listed companies including Lend Lease, Commonwealth Bank and Colonial Funds Management, Rod helped establish a number of unlisted businesses with interests in property funds management, tourism and maritime operations where Rod is now focusing his attention. Rod joined the Foundation Board in 2012.

Joy Dodds, BEc (Hons) 

While Joy was raised in Sydney, she spent much time in the state’s north-west where her grandmother lived, observing first-hand the effects of drought, flood, fire, and inner strength.

After completing an Honours degree in Economics at Sydney University, she joined the Australian Broadcasting Commission (now Corporation), working in Sydney and London.

Completion of a post-graduate degree in Media corresponded with the birth of the first of four children and husband, David’s, media career promotions to Brisbane, Perth and later Darwin, the latter managing Kerry Packer’s ACP television station, Channel 8. The experience of crocs, the tropics and rural characters proved unforgettable!

Joining NewsCorp, she worked in the Darwin newsroom at the “N.T. News” until the Dodds family returned to Sydney. with four children.

Joy enjoyed working as a journalist with suburban press, including “The North Shore Times” and “The Mosman Daily” before moving to Fairfax Media as a journalist and sub-editor with “The Australian Financial Review”. She was subsequently asked to become Editor of a travel magazine within Fairfax Media country press, which she greatly enjoyed, writing travel pieces with a distinctly country feel and skew.

In addition, Joy and David run cattle at their farm near Yass on a property they bought more than three decades ago to ensure that their children enjoyed a similar country link and shared experience to them, David having been born and raised in Gundagai.

Ensuring that rural children and young people are not disadvantaged by being raised in isolated country areas is an issue dear to her heart.  She joined the Foundation Board in 2020.

The Hon. Duncan Gay, AM

The Hon. Duncan Gay grew up in Crookwell and attended a boarding school in Sydney.  He was the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight from March 2011 to January 2017, Duncan played an instrumental role in helping to develop, manage and deliver the largest infrastructure investment and construction program in Australia.

He was directly responsible for the government agencies of Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Centre for Road Safety and Ports Authority of NSW and he shared joint responsibility of Transport for NSW.

Duncan’s ministry also designed and developed innovative regional funding programs such as Bridges for the Bush and Fixing Country Roads and Rail, not to mention major road safety initiatives including flashing lights in all school zones in NSW.

Since leaving Parliament in July 2017, Duncan was appointed Chairman of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in October 2018. In 2017, he joined the board of MU Group as an Advisory Board Member. MU Group provides business services for transport and infrastructure companies in both government and non-government sectors. Duncan is a director of Sir Earle Page Memorial Trust, ARC Asia Pacific Consortium and the NSW regional energy supplier Essential Energy as part of their reform process.

Jenetta Russell, GAICD, CCEO, OAM

Jenetta Russell is an experienced Director, Chair, and CEO, following a career of 35 years as Principal/CEO of an import/export agribusiness. This included commercialising a range of novel agricultural solutions, managing start-ups, complex foreign exchange, dealing with regulatory authorities and the challenges around owning/managing businesses. In 2012 Jenetta graduated from the Company Director’s Course at AICD and joined the BCEF board in 2014. 


She currently has a portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships and consultancies for a range of For Profit and Not For Profit (NFP) organisations, chairs a leadership forum and acts as a coach/mentor for a number of senior executives in a wide variety of industry sectors. Jenetta also acts as an Australasian Reporting Awards ( panel adjudicator for Governance Awards (recognising excellence in governance for both corporates and NFPs).


Jenetta started working with charities at the age of 17, assisting Riding for the Disabled as it established itself in Australia.  Since then she has been involved with the Primary Club of Australia, Abbotsleigh Old Girls Union, Jaycees, Rotary, St John’s Anglican Church, Cape Horners Association and the Australian Society of Marine Artists.  She co-ordinated one of the Sydney Bicentenary events in 1988, a 4-day ‘Cape Horners’ Conference for those who crewed the original cargo-carrying tall ships, an industry that finished in 1949 – 500 attendees came from all over the world. Jenetta is a published author and loves reading, gardening, cooking, sport, music and the arts.

The Hon. Sarah Mitchell, MLC

Sarah Mitchell was born and raised in Gunnedah and has spent most of her life living in north west New South Wales. She continues to live in Gunnedah with her husband Anthony and their daughters Annabelle and Matilda.

Sarah is a graduate of Gunnedah High School and the University of NSW, and is passionate about education, especially in regional and remote parts of NSW.  

Since entering NSW Parliament as a Member of the Legislative Council in 2011, Sarah has served on numerous committees and as Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW, and as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Education and Minister for Early Learning. She is currently the Shadow Minister for Education and Early Learning, Shadow Minister for Western NSW and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council.


As Minister for Early Learning, Sarah led a visionary investment to transform early childhood education, child development and women’s economic participation over the next decade. In particular, she was a key driver behind one of the biggest education reforms in a generation – a commitment to introduce a universal pre-Kindergarten year of education for all children in NSW by 2030. As Education Minister, Sarah led evidence-based reform, introducing mandatory phonics and creating the School Success Model to bring more transparency into the system to ensure students receive the support they need to succeed.


Sarah is an active supporter of local community organisations and has been involved with several local charities, including the Gunnedah Family and Children’s Services and Gunnedah Paediatric and Maternity Support (PRAMS).

 Sarah has a deep love for the regions she represents, and is particularly passionate about working hard to ensure regional, rural and remote NSW is the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Our Patron 

Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO KC is our Patron. Her Excellency has expressed her keen desire to help the Foundation in its efforts to support young people in the Bush.  We greatly appreciate her support.


The Board meets quarterly to manage the affairs of the Foundation and to assess applications for bursaries.

Bursaries are funded by income from invested capital and donations. The number of students assisted each year is governed by the income available.

Standing committees of the Board have responsibility for developing and implementing the investment strategy for the Foundation’s funds, for handling applications and for fundraising.

The Committees include:

  • Finance, Administration & Investments chaired by John McRae

  • Education, Scholarships & Bursaries chaired by Kerry Blight

  • Fundraising, Marketing & Partnerships chaired by Richard Dougan

RAD at Tobruk Station 1 (002).jpg
John McRae.jpg
kerry blight.jpg
Gerald Naughton, Boof, Rod Cowdroy, Phil
Richard Dougan.jpg
Jenetta Russell Publicity Photo.jpg
Sarah 2_edited.jpg
Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC
bottom of page