Partner profile: The William Buckland Foundation 

The William Buckland Foundation has been one of the earliest supporters of Our Place as an original philanthropic alliance partner and today funds the Our Place sites at Seymour and Morwell Central.

Named for its founder, businessman and pastoralist William Buckland who was born in Mansfield, Victoria, the William Buckland Foundation has committed its first 10-year grant in its history to Our Place.

Ferdi Hepworth, Foundation Lead of the William Buckland Foundation, said longer term funding of an organisation such as Our Place, where relationships and trust have been built over time, made sense.

“We’d been funding Our Place’s first site at Doveton for many years and seen the success and the magic that is happening there,” In fact, our chair recently asked our staff, what is the work they are most proud of, and every single one of them said Our Place.”

A long-term approach as Our Place’s first 10-year philanthropic partner, was the perfect fit for the Foundation.

“We are able to be really patient because the William Buckland Foundation is a perpetual charitable trust. We align well with Our Place because we don’t need to see immediate outcomes and we recognise its going to take more than 10 years,” Ferdi said. 

“That puts us in a really lovely position to be able to support this kind of longer-term initiatives.”

Doing things differently, such as moving away from a siloed approach and instead working with entire families and communities, meeting people where they are and giving them what they need to thrive – based on data and evidence – made Our Place very attractive to support long term.

“The evidence of the Our Place model that was really compelling, which then comes to life when you are actually on the ground,” Ferdi said.  

“The complexity of the different locations, the complex local engagement and stakeholder engagement with government is challenging work. The team leading the work are driven by a desire to really create significant change…We are willing to back trying different things and seeing feedback loops in action.”

Having a connection to the sites is important to the Foundation, with William Buckland’s birthplace being near Seymour in Mansfield. And Morwell as a region in transition and renewal, with high needs there also, Ferdi said.

The plan is to build stronger engagement with the regions through Our Place and bringing guests and supporters to get a better understanding of the work being done and the issues they face such as the transition from coal in Morwell, for example.

“We love the idea of having commitments to these regions, and we are looking at how we can continue to support these communities. So we are really keen to explore the types of initiatives that help communities build the resilience to thrive,” Ferdi said.

“We recognise that whilst we do distribute a whole lot of money we know that we can’t make impact by distributing a whole lot of money everywhere. So the more we can target and focus our efforts on a couple of specific regions, and the wrap around support that is really important, rather than funding a whole lot of different programs.”

As a Foundation with offices and staff based in the city, it is really important to be partnering with a place-based organisation such as Our Place who are embedded in the Seymour and Morwell school communities.

“That’s a role that Our Place plays really beautifully, and it gives us the opportunity as philanthropic partners, to engage with the community as well,” Ferdi said

Further information about charitable work of William Buckland Foundation can be found at