Acknowledgement of Country
NASCA acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia.
We honour and respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have spiritual, social and cultural connections with their traditional lands and waters. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the communities on whose land NASCA works.
We work with young people and their families, schools and communities in urban, regional and remote areas in NSW, WA and NT to build culturally rich relationships with young people.
We co-design with these young people the future they want for themselves. We use sport, music, dance, art, poetry and storytelling to strengthen our young people’s connection to culture.
Our programs are created to increase school engagement and school attendance and develop life skills. They are also designed to support our young people in feeling culturally safe and culturally connected.
NASCA is guided by five core values that anchor all of our objectives and strategies:
Cultural Pride & Inclusion
This year’s annual report is a telling of stories that convey the outcomes and impacts of our programs in 2020 – a year that posed significant challenges but proved our resilience and that of the young people and communities we work with.
The future is First Nations.
We work through Culture to connect with Community and Country so that we can strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples’ Capacities and support them to achieve their Calling.
NASCA is a 100% First Nations governed and led organisation. We place First Nations culture at the centre of everything we do.
Since our founding in 1995, NASCA has worked alongside more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families, schools and communities. Together we have built real and lasting partnerships to support our young people in moving towards the future they see and set for themselves. This is where they will thrive.
NASCA is defined by the impact of our programs. The work we do in collaboration with our partners and supporters has resulted in thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people across Australia looking for, and taking, opportunities that are meaningful to them and their communities.
Pride in Aboriginality and culture permeates our work, informing our actions and inspiring our young people to strengthen cultural identities as the basis for healthy, fulfilled lives.
To feel safe, to feel valued, to know you are important – this is the starting point. Without this grounding, the young people we work with cannot make the most of the opportunities available to them. Strength in community is a vital building block in building the future we want to see.
Jonathan sees the centering of First Nations knowledge and experience in the wider Australian community as key to this process. “I would like more education of our culture and history, for all Australians to understand our culture and learn our untold history so that Australia will no longer be divided by race and culture. I would like our country to treat us equally.”
We have learnt from years in the field that what matters are relationships, and this is what we’re good at. At the basis of all our work is trust.
NASCA has been working with Mikayla* at the Mount Allan School in Yuelamu, NT, for the past five years. She is now a student in the senior class.
Mikayla has a strong relationship with NASCA, and she trusts our support, so we are able to work closely alongside her, supporting and encouraging her learning. Mikayla attended school every day of our last visit, in November 2020, and she attended school every day of the following weeks.
Principal Phil Bartley says that he always sees more students at school when NASCA visits. “It has been fantastic to see Mikayla at school every day for two straight weeks. That is a result of the NASCA program sparking her interest in returning to school. We are so happy to have NASCA back at our school!”
*To ensure the safety of the young people we work with, some names have been changed.
Students created a ‘Trust Tree’ to identify their personal trust network, and after receiving support from NASCA (asking for help was one of the key learning concepts of the week) Mikayla identified several people she trusts within her family, friends network and school community and incorporated them into the class Trust Tree.
|How we build trust|
|How we maintain trust|
|How we build trust||How we maintain trust|
We persist through challenges in the pursuit of our purpose. Former student Jaida is a consistently high performer across academics, sports, leadership and school and community service – but it turns out Jaida is strong in her learning and strong in her culture.
Jaida not only came first in the state in her favourite subject, Aboriginal Studies, she finished her schooling last year with an ATAR score of 93.75. “I feel very proud and excited about my HSC result – but it was pretty unexpected.” Those who knew Jaida at Alexandria Park Community School, where she was a student for five years, were less surprised.
Maeve Thompson, Jaida’s Aboriginal Studies and English teacher, has high praise. “Jaida is nothing short of exceptional, I cannot speak highly enough of her. Words do not express the impact she has had on her school community, including me as one of her teachers. She is a shining light of the future generation, a true leader of this future.”
And more from her principal Diane Fetherston. “Jaida was voted by her peers and the staff of Alex Park as school captain in 2020. Alex Park is proud of its students and none more than Jaida, outstanding student, enthusiastic participant, inspirational leader and role model for our school community.”
The feelings are mutual. “I loved going to Alex Park. My teachers believed in me from the start and never stopped, especially when I didn’t believe in myself.”
NASCA’s Blake Borgia worked with Jaida for five years. “Jaida is wise beyond her years. She has been a big influence on her peers and even the staff and mentors who work with her. Jaida will only add strength and positivity to those around her. I wish her all the successes that come her way – it will be from the hard work and effort that she applies to her everyday life.”
Jaida says that NASCA provided her with a community of people who were proud to be Aboriginal and loved their culture and this offered her a chance to do the same. “Seeing Aboriginal people achieve the things they want was a huge inspiration, as it affirmed the idea that I could do anything I wanted, and that being Aboriginal wasn’t a barrier to my success but rather a helping hand. I became more confident and proud of my identity as a Kamilaroi woman, undoing the stereotypes I had internalised about being Aboriginal.”
And here’s a hot tip from Jaida’s friend, Zoe: “If you get the pleasure of meeting Jaida, and what an extraordinary pleasure that is, watch for the twinkle in her eye when you bring up decolonisation, and you too will see how she is a girl destined to change the system that has limited her.” Watch this space.
We build meaningful, sustainable community partnerships that are vital to the development and implementation of our work. Through sharing knowledge and resources and building respectful, enquiring relationships, we take a long-term approach.
Collaboration is not merely transactional. It is about the relationships we develop with our corporate partners, with our volunteers and donors, with community. It is about the values and aspirations we share and which become the foundation of our work and success.
The evolution and growth of our relationship with Lendlease exemplifies what NASCA strives for in all of our partnerships – true collaboration.
As NASCA has evolved, we’ve focused on getting the details right, building a strong foundation from which we are now scaling our impact. To do that, we’ve stayed true to our purpose, listened to our young people and the communities we work with, and collaborated closely with key partners.
Our Inner Circle of donors are our partners – together, we are equally committed to creating the conditions for First Nations young people to truly fulfil their potential. TAL is in our Inner Circle.
For Anthea Jackson, TAL Community Foundation Manager, the partnership with NASCA was an important match in the alignment of values. “What stood out for us from the beginning was a strong sense of purpose and leadership, and each and every interaction confirms that we have chosen the right partner in NASCA. Our aim for the partnership is to support the work NASCA is uniquely qualified to do. For both of our organisations, it’s about the people.”
In February 2020, Chris Murphy, TAL Business Development Manager, volunteered with NASCA at remote Wiluna, WA. He says for him the week was a game changer. “To go into a community very different from your own, and go in with the trust that comes with wearing the NASCA uniform, you learn about community, you learn about yourself. My biggest takeaway was a leap forwards in understanding – you quickly start to see a huge web of connection. Wiluna is an amazingly connected community.”
As a result of TAL’s investment since 2019, NASCA has expanded our work into WA, expanded our program into two additional remote communities, increased our remote participant numbers by more than 170 students, delivered almost 2000 hours of programs across our partner remote communities, and increased school attendance by an average of 7% across our remote communities.
From the classroom to our boardroom, we commit to the development and growth of our people every step of the way.
NASCA Board member Barbie-Lee Kirby says her time in the NASCA program as a young person gave her the skills to enter the business world as a confident black woman.
Tshinta Morris, now based in our Redfern team, was a NASCA graduate from our Dubbo program.
We look forward to welcoming many more NASCA graduates into our team as we increase our impact. Harry, another NASCA graduate on our team, is keenly aware of the impact the organisation can have, and this is what drives his work.
In 2020, we worked with 727 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people across Australia and delivered more than 4,388 hours of support.
100% Indigenous Led
NASCA’s board is proudly 100% Indigenous led.
59% Indigenous Staff
NASCA staff consist of 59% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
5 Former Participants
NASCA features 5 former participants in the program – 3 staff and 2 board members.
Indigenous Female Led
NASCA is led by strong Indigenous female leaders, Leanne Townsend (CEO) and Skye Parsons (National Program Director).
3 States & Territories
NASCA works with urban, regional and remote communities in NSW, NT and WA.
|Region||Students||No. of Schools|
|NT/WA||375||11 (9 NT + 2 WA)|
|Aboriginal non-NASCA students at the same schools||80.03%|
|When NASCA attends community||66.65%|
|Remote school average||59%|
100% of students surveyed in the Remote program reported that they:
- Are more likely to come to school when NASCA is present in their community.
- Are more interested in learning and in-classroom activities when NASCA is in their classroom.
- Learn new skills from the NASCA team each time we visit.
NASCA facilitates connection to culture, increases resilience and creates safe space. Of the 230 Urban program participants surveyed:
- 80% of students strongly agreed or agreed that NASCA helped them feel more connected to their culture.
- 80% of students strongly agreed or agreed that NASCA helped them feel more included, resilient and connected.
- 71% of students strongly agreed or agreed that if everyone in the NASCA community lived the NASCA values it would create a safer space for them to be in.
NASCA is 100% Aboriginal governed. Our Directors are committed advocates for our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. As well as extensive experience and expertise, they bring cultural knowledge to provide the best support for our young people.
Mark is a Wiradjuri man, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney. Chair of the NASCA Board, he is an advocate for Indigenous young people reaching their potential and taking their place in the world. Mark worked in education for almost two decades, with a special focus on physical activity and leadership, and currently is head of scholarships at the GO Foundation. Mark volunteered at NASCA for many years before taking on his NASCA directorship.
Kristal is a descendant of the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. She is a non-executive director of Jaramer Legal and of Uniting NSW/ACT and provides consultancy services through Kristal Kinsela Consulting. Kristal is passionate about creating lasting pathways and growing the capabilities of Indigenous businesses and individuals. Serially awarded for her contribution to Indigenous communities across Australia, in 2019 she was recognised in the Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’ list.
Barbie-Lee is a Ngiyambaa, Wailwan, Baakindji-Maraura, Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay woman from Brewarrina, NSW. She was the first Indigenous candidate to complete the Finance Graduate program at Qantas, where she became manager of Corporate Governance. Currently she is Citizenship Executive at Herbert Smith Freehills. Having studied business, accounting and law, Barbie-Lee is moving into the entrepreneurial space to support First Nations start-ups. Barbie-Lee is a former NASCA Scholarship recipient.
Lachlan belongs to the Kilari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation. He works in the not-for-profit and corporate sectors to improve organisations’ engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Pursuing his passion for empowering Indigenous people through self-determination, Lachlan has studied First Nations history, law, politics and governance. His experience extends to political campaigning. He is currently undertaking his PhD, researching Wiradjuri cultural revitalisation.
Chloe is a Wiradjuri (Galari) woman from Gilgandra, NSW. Currently the senior cultural impact adviser at SBS, she has worked on the campaign for constitutional reform to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and was employed in Indigenous strategy at the University of Sydney. Chloe is invested in the continuation of Wiradjuri culture, particularly the preservation of language. Chloe is a proud graduate of NASCA’s Academy Program, Dubbo region.
Big love to our Aunties, Uncles, community leaders, teachers and ambassadors. You are superstars. Special thanks again to our young people, who inspire us every day. You are our rockstars.
Above all, NASCA is grateful to the young people we walk with. We extend our sincere thanks to them.
We also extend thanks to our many community partners, donors, volunteers and supporters who believe in our vision for a proud, prosperous and healthy Australia, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people thrive. We also acknowledge with deep thanks the important work and commitment of our corporate partners.
Inner Circle Partners
|Workplace Giving Programs|
|Supporters||Workplace Giving Programs|
With a fresh approach, 2020 marked the first year of NASCA’s new 10-year strategic plan. We have already made significant gains for 2021…
In big news, NASCA will open 13 new Academies across NSW to support more than 800 First Nations young women. We will do this thanks to $7.9 million grant funding over three years from the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).
In Term 1, 2021, we will add a new Academy in south-west Sydney to support all genders at Thomas Reddall High School. We will do this thanks to the continuing support of our funders and our community and the success of our amazing Academy students. We have new and ongoing major partnerships with NSW Department of Education, TAL, Viva Energy, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, and University of Sydney.
This means that we will go from working with 19 communities in 2020 to 33 communities in 2021 – an incredible achievement, and beyond what we could have hoped for at the start of the year.
As well, we will partner with the University of Sydney in July to host a National First Nations Youth Conference for NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC’s theme for 2021 is ‘Heal Country’.
Looking ahead – just like our young people! – NASCA’s future is bright. While we will be bigger, we will remain true to our values and steadfast in achieving our ultimate goal: empowering First Nations young people to thrive.
2020 was another year of revenue growth for NASCA.
Our strong partnerships with community, corporate, and government organisations led to significant funding development, in turn powering our impact. Volunteers and individual donors also played key roles in our growth.
Linked below is our yearly external audit demonstrating, again, that we continue to manage our finances in an effective and robust way. This year we welcomed financial service partners Accounting for Good to the NASCA Team. Our close collaboration with Accounting for Good has taken our financial management standards to an even higher level. We look forward to continuing to practice the highest level of financial administration and management.
More from NASCA
Incorporation and Charitable Status
- Incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006, INC 2546.
- Registered Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission from 31 December 2012.
Tax Concessions and Fundraising
Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) and endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as:
- A Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).
- An Income Tax Exempt Charity (holding tax concessions and exemptions relating to income, goods and services and fringe benefits tax).
- Registered to fundraise under legislation in New South Wales.
- Registration number: 15744.
Effort has been made to ensure that all information in this annual report is correct. NASCA regrets any offence that errors or omissions may cause. To ensure the safety of the young people we work with, some names have been changed. Throughout this publication, the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are used wherever possible. In the interest of readability, we also use the term ‘Indigenous’. No disrespect is intended by the authors.