The Philanthropist From Da Maria Disco Charity Lunch

Meets Adrian Reed, Amanda Bruce, and Margaret Barry. Those Philanthropists will in collaboration to make a giving project in the near future.

“Indonesia has been incredible for me and I am extremely passionate about giving back to the community and to the planet as a whole.” – Adrian Reed tells Gaby Nareswari

Seminyak is the epicenter of Bali’s food scene and offers every imaginable cuisine from new and trendy to golden oldies. Foodies were delighted when Da Maria launched a new chic osteria style Italian Restaurant in Bali Seminyak. Da Maria is without a doubt the grooviest Italian restaurant in Seminyak. This cozy, humble restaurant serves up Italian cuisine “just like mama used to make”. Open since late 2016, Da Maria has a cool blue and white décor inspired by the Amalfi coast. This ain’t your grandma’s Italian restaurant, Da Maria is open for lunch and dinner and stays open late, hosting a late night “pizza and disco”

Adrian Reed is one of the mans whose behind this successful Italian Restaurant. But as many successful businessman while their already reach their succeed, philanthropy lies at the heart of human greatness. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Adrian travelled to Bali with his parents frequently from the age of 11 and as he formed a deep emotional attachment to what was almost like a second home to him, the seeds were sown for the profound connections he now has to the island, its environment and the people. With high levels of creative intensity and motivation, the self-confessed former bad boy of the Bali party scene has in recent years channeled his focus towards some amazing community initiatives that are making a genuine difference to lives of hundreds of people and putting back into the culture he so loves.

At the heart of Adrian’s understated philanthropy is the Indo Thrive Project, created to assist the disadvantaged in the Indonesian community to thrive and prosper. Adrian’s latest BIG project is Earth Ledger. Earth Ledger is a global log of environmental challenges and solutions. It is a platform designed to grow a decentralize autonomous community to identify, verify, activate and deploy global solutions to create positive social and environmental impacts. As one of the Founders, Adrian and the team are focused on solving climate change and the environmental challenges that the world currently faces.

His partner for philanthropy action was Amanda Bruce. A frequent visitor to Bali from a young age, with family involved with business in Indonesia for 30+ years, Amanda has developed a profound attachment and bond with the Balinese people and their culture. Originating from Perth, with a 25 year career in the Financial Services industry and as a business owner, Amanda decided to take time from her busy professional life and invest her time in finding where she could contribute and make a difference to people who needed help. It took her 7 years of research, testing and “feeling the way” with what was going to work and where she would be most effective.

All of these experiences have led Amanda into making positive changes for disabled children and their families, for families in need of refuge due to domestic violence, in childhood education programs, environmental education programs, environmental sustainability projects and more, in both Australia and Indonesia.

The Indo Thrive Project (ITP) founded by Adrian Reed and Amanda Bruce to assist the disadvantaged in the Indonesian community. ITP make collaboration with Margaret Barry, OAM DSJ, Founder of Bali Children Foundation, to presents a charity disco and lunch at Da Maria. Margaret Barry has spent much of her working life in Asia, managing, designing and manufacturing in the garment sector. Her role at a prominent global garment manufacturing company saw her posted in New Delhi during India s turbulent 70s and 80s. This experience developed Margaret both professionally and personally, as she witnessed the great injustices caused by a lack of education. The 1990s brought Margaret to Bali, where she launched her own fashion-manufacturing firm. The company quickly expanded into retail, lifestyle products and premium exports. As Margaret got to know Bali, she again witnessed the social detriments that come from poor, or no access to education – as a result, Bali Children Foundation was born. You could say philanthropy runs through Margaret s DNA. Growing up in Yarram, South Gippsland, her family was heavily involved in community building. So, it was only natural, then, after fifteen years building Bali Children Foundation, that in 2017 Margaret closed the doors to her garment business to focus solely on charitable work.

At the fabulous Da Maria restaurant, those philanthropists were going to presents a charity disco and lunch at Da Maria to celebrate Dame Margaret Barry OAM DSJ, Founder of Bali Children Foundation, receiving recent honors in recognition of her services to education in Bali. Fundraising will be via live and silent auctions, raffles and more, with 50% of proceeds to Nusa Lembongan & Bali Environmental Education Programs provided by Bali Children Foundation. The other 50% of proceeds will go towards upgrades to the Nusa Lembongan Recycling Program provided by Friends of Lembongan. There will be Champagne tastings, lucky door prizes, best dress competition, art exhibition and lots more.

There will be filled with color and merriment, all in the name of a good cause. It is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Indo Thrive Project, which supports projects around Indonesia and a highlight of the social calendar.

What inspired you to establish?

Indo Thrive Project

Adrian – One day I was approached by Amanda Bruce who told me an incredibly moving story about her experiences assisting some local Balinese families at the hospitals and I just went……WOW! We decided to set up the Indo Thrive Project to work with existing charities, NFP’s and likeminded organisations to contribute to making a difference.

Bali Children Foundation 

Margaret – I founded Bali Children Foundation (Yayasan Samiarsa Seminyak) in response to the 2002 Bali bombings. We provide educational support and scholarships to Bali’s disadvantaged children. We began in children’s homes and later progressed directly into Bali’s poor and remote communities. We now have a large team of teachers, educational advisors, brand ambassadors, fundraisers and administration workers in both Bali and Australia. BCF currently provides educational opportunities to over 4500 children, in 66 villages, across Bali and on other Indonesian islands.

And what did you focus on for the foundation? 

Margaret – Education – after seeing the synergy between the Balinese, the expats and the tourists during the 2002 Bali Bombing recovery time, I realised the successful combination could be used for other things. Education leading to employment seemed like a solution for Bali’s poor and remote children.

Does the project only support in Indonesia or also other countries

Indo Thrive Project and Bali Children Foundation only work in Indonesia at this stage.

What’s the benchmark to take a decision to support something?

Amanda – There are many and varied factors we consider with Indo Thrive Project before we take on a cause, but the main considerations are; who we will be working with, if our skills and resources will complement what they are looking to achieve, and their previous experience in achieving successful outcomes. We do an extensive pre-assessment of all the projects we take on to ensure the collaboration is the right fit for the purpose.

Margaret – we do base line studies on all communities. Some of the considerations we look at are educational background of the community and the required literacy employment profile of the demographic. We consult with the Desa Leader and if he is welcoming and interested in collaboration we progress. We then open an applications process, from there we survey each family application to ensure they comply from a socio economic perspective. We then offer scholarships to the most disadvantaged, and provide vocational education English and Computer studies to the whole community.

What was your purpose when you launched?

Indo Thrive Project (ITP)

Adrian – Simply to make a difference to disadvantaged people and work with people that are committed to the same. There have only been good challenges and learning experiences for us.

Bali Children Foundation

Margaret – Our purpose always been to use the path way of education to benefit the student and their family and the community. Our biggest challenge is the remoteness of many of the locations that we work in. For many children they have a long travel to school. Keeping them engaged until year 12 school is something we put enormous effort into. Fortunately we have been successful with 99% of our students from year 2 to year 12 graduating, which is a vastly higher figure than the Bali average.

When you set up the foundation, can you tell us how you correspondence with the government, local people, and if you do collaborations with local foundations?

Margaret – we work in partnership with several foundations in Bali; some examples are –

  • Bali Kids – health
  • Stepping Stones – disability
  • Lumina and Kolewa – provide support for hearing impaired students.
  • Friends of Lembongan – Environmental

Plus many other partners to maintain our focus on education and utilise the other foundations to cover the other necessary components to successful outcomes.

Did you experience any negative issues from other parties when you launched the foundation?

Margaret – no.

Your status as an F&B business owner brought attention to your charity work, but how has that influenced the businesses?

Adrian – The have been only positive responses and outcomes. Our team also get involved in some of the projects we support via ITP and this provides them with an opportunity to contribute even more into their communities and provides ITP with a deeper insight and understanding of the challenges and where we can assist.

How did you raise the funds, is it your personal money only? And did it risk and impact your personal business?

And if you raise the funds from others, did you have to make official financial reports for the donators for your responsibility as fund collectors?

Margaret – BCF was run completely pro bono for the first 10 years through my personal business interests. As we grew it became necessary to provide additional support which is now provided from many other contributors in  both Indonesia and Australia. BCF is a registered Yayasan in Indonesia and a registered Charity in Australia. With this government accreditation and recognition of the work we do there are many detailed reporting requirements to government and also to our stakeholders and donors. Transparent and detailed financial records is just one of the Annual Reporting requirements that are provided and are externally audited to continue our accreditations.

Do you think it’s important to conduct research before beginning a project or would you rather jump right in?

Amanda – it is vital to the success of any project that extensive research, survey and assessment is completed before we take any action. This is done in conjunction with all of the project stakeholders, and with the interests and outcomes of all parties considered to ensure a result that is correct for purpose and sustainable for the future.

It seems many Business Owners, socialites, maybe celebrities, and cities crème de la crème are involved in charity. Do you sometimes wonder whether it’s all genuine?

Amanda – We believe people want to make a positive difference and there are many different ways to achieve that. What we support is providing an opportunity and space for all who want to contribute to do just that.

If you hadn’t been personally affected, would you have committed yourself to philanthropy? Are you happy with this move?

Margaret – I am very happy to have had philanthropy as a large part of my life. And we are very proud that amongst many other awards, BCF has been awarded the esteemed Inaugural International Philanthropy Award from Philanthropy Australia and DFAT (Dept Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia) 2018.

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