Board Members

Ruth Kneebone


Ruth’s career experience is largely in the accounting and Local Government sector, including responsibilities for finance, governance, risk, information services, people and culture, customer services, media and communications.  Ruth is a lifelong resident of the Wangaratta community and enjoys her involvement as a Board Member of Northeast Health and other local community groups.

Ruth can be contacted via eMail HERE

M: 0402 104 188

Fiona Nicholls GAICD

Vice Chair

Encompassing 30 years in the global resources industry, Fiona has worked across a range of business functions including strategy and planning, due diligence and assurance processes, crisis management, and organisational change. Fiona has had experience on multiple public and private boards, she has extensive knowledge and expertise in Sustainable Development, environmental management and community development.  She lives locally in the Alpine Shire and brings her depth of corporate social responsibility and community grant-making experience to her board position. Fiona is also currently the Chair of the Alpine Bushfire Community Recovery Committee.

Fiona can be contacted via eMail HERE

John Bailey


With a strong local business and real-estate background John has held a career in body corporate management and real estate. He has served on multiple community  and corporate boards over the years including Wangaratta High-school and Wangaratta RSL, Omeo District Hospital and Pangerang Community House. He is also a current Director for REI Super. John brings with him a strong background in governance, finance and community networks. He joined the Board early in 2019.

John can be contacted via eMail HERE


M: 0418 516 636

Loretta Carroll

Board Member

Loretta was a Community Advisory Committee member of the Victorian Bushfire Appeals Fund in 2011. Loretta is the founding chair of Into Our Hands Community Foundation since 2012. She received the National Emergency Medal after the 2009 Victorian bushfires and has been a finalist in the Bluescope Leadership Innovation Award at the Regional Achievement and Community Awards. She is a Director of the Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) Board.

Bart Crawley

Board Member

Bart joined the Board in 2020, he brings years of experience in all aspects of commercial and social purpose organizations, and a passion for people centric leadership. Growing up in North East Victoria, the oldest of 5 sons of the now retired Father Malcolm Crawley, Bart was raised with a lived connection to community, in a caring and supporting Christian family environment. Bart studied business, leading onto a 26 year career in senior leadership in the taxation, business consulting and manufacturing sectors. Being blessed with the opportunity in Australia to work and immerse himself with another culture (Korean) over a period of 14 years, in 2014 he returned home to the North East, landing his dream role as the CEO of one of Australia’s leading Disability Enterprises, Merriwa Industries Ltd.

Jodie Wells

Board Member

Jodie’s strong sense of community has arisen from a life-long connection to north east Victoria. Born and raised in the area, her love of small communities led to her serving on the boards of many local community organisations over the years, including North East Support and Action for Youth Inc. (NESAY), Thoona Progress Association and Wangaratta West Primary School. In recognition of her volunteer work in her home town of Thoona, Jodie was awarded the Australia Day Citizen of the Year in 2017. With more than 14 years practicing law in our community, Jodie has spent the last four in the community justice sector, helping vulnerable and disadvantaged clients get their lives back on track.

Roberta Baker

Board Member

Roberta joined the Board in November 2020. She believes in the power of community to bring about positive change at the grassroots level. Her work experience over many years in Australia and the UK, in the private and public sector and her broad travel experience, has involved stakeholder engagement, communication, advocacy, leadership development and empowerment. Her absolute passion is enabling people of all cultures to develop the skills and confidence to take on advocacy and leadership roles that help strengthen their community, to break down barriers and to make their community more resilient; to take charge of their future.

Anita Smith

Board Member

Anita is passionate about regional economic and community development and brings a wealth of experience working with local communities. Anita lives in North East Victoria and has worked in senior executive and management roles in the health and not-for-profit sector, the private sector and more recently in the government sector. Anita has an in depth understanding of the needs, opportunities and priorities for the communities of North East Victoria and how to leverage support to address these needs and advance opportunities.

Megan Buntine

Board Member

Megan’s professional and business background includes a 25 year career working in the disability sector, nearly 20 years running a boutique tourism accommodation business, and more than 10 years working as a governance consultant on projects with government and not-for-profit organisations.

She has served as a board member for a number of organisations, including the Kinglake Ranges Foundation, Alexandra District Health, the Victorian Public Tenants’ Association, and the Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program, as well as many smaller local community groups.

She is a proud volunteer citizen advocate for a man with disability, and has been providing advocacy support to him and his family for more than 25 years.

Megan lives with her husband and two dogs near Buxton in regional Victoria.

M: 0421 525 048

Sarah Thompson

Executive Officer

Sarah Thompson joined the Foundation in April 2018. Sarah has a strong background in community philanthropy, grant making and community development.

Sarah can be contacted via eMail HERE

M: 0466 252 866

Board Membership

Are you interested in supporting your community and being part of a dynamic organisation?
We are seeking expressions of interest for board positions. Applications close end of February 2020. For nominee information pack and nomination form see below . For further information contact Sarah Thompson, Executive Officer 0466 252 866 or Ruth Kneebone, Board Chair 0402 104 188.