About us

Meet the foundation

Our mission, values and vision

Our mission is to help establish and support a tradition of philanthropy in the Southern Highlands by providing a simple and effective way to give something of real value back to the community.

Respect, diversity, collaboration and stewardship are the values which provide guiding principles for the way in which we operate.

Our vision is a strong and resilient Southern Highlands Community.

These ideals are encapsulated in our mission statement:

foster philanthropy, generate hope and strengthen community.

Our history

With an eye toward the future, in 2000 Dr Helen McCue AM, philanthropist, academic and human rights activist decided to investigate the possibility of a local community foundation in the Wingecarribee Shire of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Recognising that there was no facility in the Southern Highlands for locally focused philanthropy, this was a decision that would impact on the community for years to come.

Dr McCue gathered a group of likeminded people to form a committee who with the support of a grant from the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal conducted a study to test the feasibility of the establishment of a community foundation in the Wingecarribee Shire.

The Wingecarribee Community Foundation was subsequently established in 2002 and in the years that have followed the Foundation has developed a broad focus which funds and supports health and aged services, arts and culture, Aboriginal health and culture, youth services and a variety of other identified needs.

Since 2002 the Foundation has dispensed over $500,000 in grants and scholarships for the Southern Highlands community. The Wingecarribee Community Foundation was renamed the Southern Highlands Foundation (SHF) in 2009.

Meet our board…

Hugh Mackay AO, Patron

Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and bestselling author of 19 books, including The Good Life, The Art of Belonging and his latest, Australia Reimagined. Hugh resided in the Southern Highlands for many years and serves as the patron of the Southern Highlands Foundation.

He has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. Among many honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School, the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board and an honorary professor at Macquarie, Wollongong and Charles Sturt universities. He is also a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre.

In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

Shelley Boyce, Chair, JP, PHF, OAM

Shelley moved to the Southern Highlands in 1979 with her husband Philip, where  they have lived, worked and raised their five children.  Through her work as a legal administrator and her extensive work in Community Philanthropy and volunteering, she has had association with countless members of the community, government, local authorities and agencies in the southern highlands.

Shelley has held positions on boards and committees over many years, in local service clubs, volunteer groups, P&Fs, welfare groups for women and girls, the arts, adolescent mental health projects and many grassroots community initiatives.  

Shelley joined the board of The Southern Highlands Foundation in 2009, becoming the chair in 2010 and continues to date.  Shelley is a Director of community foundations peak body, Australian Community Philanthropy. In 2019, Shelley received an OAM for her services to the community of the southern highlands.

David Allen, Director and Public Officer 

David is the Practice Manager and a Principal of Haille Paine solicitors in Bowral. David moved to the Southern Highlands in 2007, practicing as a sole practitioner for 10 years, before joining Haille Paine in 2017. David is the President of the Berrima District Law Society, a member of the Highlands Business Circle and also the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Industry. David and his wife Tina enjoy living on their farm near Berrima where they have a small herd of black Angus cattle and an olive grove. Their two children attended local schools and are now pursuing education and careers outside of the Highlands. David is a regular tenor soloist in sacred music productions at St Jude’s Anglican Church in Bowral. He is involved in other community non-for-profit organisations, including the Bowral Autumn Music Festival and the Mandemar Rural Fire Brigade.

Nicole Smith, Director

With a degree in communication, and a sub-major in sociology and PR, Nicole takes a research-driven approach to marketing and business strategy. She acts as a strategic advisor to a select number of clients. At the heart of Nicole’s approach is a strong belief in supporting business to “do well by doing good”. Nicole grew up in the highlands, and has been deeply involved in community organisations and voluntary activity – starting from her role as school captain at Bowral High School as girl, through numerous other roles including serving as President of the Bowral Public School Council, working closely on the communication and marketing for the establishment of the Southern Highlands Regional Gallery (Ngungulla), and her current position as a director of the Southern Highlands Foundation to name a few. Nicole has also mentored many younger women throughout her career, giving them the confidence and support to establish businesses of their own.

Jennifer Harper, Director, OAM, RN, Grad Cert ICU, M.Mgt (Health), MICD

Jenny recently retired from Southern Highlands Private Hospital and Cancer Centre, owned by Ramsay Health Care, where she held the position of CEO for 23 years. She qualified as a registered nurse, specialising in intensive care and later in Hospital management, and has worked at executive levels since 1994.
She has been Director of Harbison Care for 15 years, and recently become a Director of Southern Highlands Foundation and President of Can Assist Southern Highlands Branch. She was a Rotarian for 15 years and became a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International in 2014. Jenny is married and lives with her husband on their farm, situated in the Southern Highlands. She enjoys gardening, cooking, outdoor fitness activities,  time with her family and community volunteering.

Lyndall Dalley, Director

As an environmental management consultant, Lyndall has a passion for navigating the competing objectives of environmental conservation and progress. She has spent her career working with clients (including the State Rail Authority, The Electricity Commission, the Roads & Traffic Authority, the Water Board and a variety of private construction and rural companies) to help them negotiate their way through this conflict.  My work has included project management, community relations, environmental training of staff, report writing, report analysis and multidisciplinary negotiations between consent authorities and clients.

As a resident of the highlands for almost 20 years, Lyndall has been involved in local politics and community projects in the area.  She strongly believes that teaching people to know and love their environment and community is the best way to protect it and make it grow.

Jim McAlpine, Director, AM, FACE, FACEL

Jim has been a resident of the Southern Highlands since 2001. He has been a teacher, a high school principal of two very different schools, a leader of his profession as President of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council and Deputy President of the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association, and an education consultant since failing his retirement. Jim is a member of the Rotary Club of Moss Vale, having joined Rotary in 1990 in Tumut. He has been married to Lorraine since 1971, is the father of two sons, and the grandfather of five delightful youngsters. He also likes travelling and specialises in falling over in snow. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Jennifer Bott, Director, AO

Jennifer Bott AO is an experienced mentor, arts manager, board member and consultant.  She is currently Chairman of the Bundanon Trust and is a Board member of the Australian Museum, the Australian National Academy of Music and the Sydney Orthopaedic Research Institute. Jenny’s career has been in all aspects of the arts, philanthropy and international student exchange.

Michelle Mulvihill (PhD, MA, M Ed, MA, BA, G Dip Couns, MAAP).

Michelle Mulvihill is an organisational and counselling psychologist and is  the principal psychologist at Bowral Psychology.

With a background of Leadership in Higher Education institutions, and having worked as an academic at ACU, UTS and Macquarie University, Michelle has broad organizational experience: a founding member of the Senate of Australian Catholic University, Board Member Loreto Normanhurst; Co – Founder of Dignity Homeless Services, and constant mentor and strategic thinker with leaders in the NFP sector.

Passionate about public health and in particular access to mental health resources for those in regional and rural areas Michelle brings to the Foundation skills in community engagement and the sharing of vital resources across diverse communities.

Michelle  enjoys her musicianship, playing violin with the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra, Southern Highlands Sinfonia and local string quartets.

Bridget Cosyn, Executive Officer

Bridget,  a business women and resident who has lived in the Southern Highlands for over 30 years. She is actively involved with Youth training and education. As a member of Berrima Rotary Bridget sits on the District committee for Rotary Youth Leadership along with a being current Board member for the Highlands Community Centres.