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PO Box 30
Northlands, Western Australia

(+61) 433 130 237

12 Buckets, located in Perth Western Australia, is an early intervention strengths-based mentoring organisation established as a charity for local children who need extra support in life and learning.

The predominantly volunteer run organisation is committed to innovation and generosity, helping children discover their capacity to give - regardless of background or circumstance.

How 12 Buckets is Meeting current Economic Challenges Head-on and Radically

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How 12 Buckets is Meeting current Economic Challenges Head-on and Radically

Travis Fitch

An Announcement on Staffing Changes from 12 Buckets’ Founder and CEO, Travis Fitch

For those who know me well, it’s no surprise to hear me say I love cooking.

My two favourite authoritative handbooks in the kitchen remain Larousse Gastronomique, for all things French, and Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Asian Cookbook. It’s the latter of these that has actually helped me frame our organisation’s response to the current challenges before 12 Buckets.

Of course, 12 Buckets is not the only charity or organisation in Western Australia presently grappling with how to navigate the “economic downturn” story that seems to be collecting volumes of anecdotes from businesses and families alike. Times, we hear and experience, are tight.

On the one hand, positive feedback from schools on the impact of 12 Buckets’ programs delivered to disadvantaged children in Perth’s north, and the overwhelming support from numerous organisations and people of influence like Tim Winton, Phil Walley-Stack and the Federal Member for Cowan, Anne Aly, solidly validates the necessity of our ongoing presence in affected communities.

At the same time, we also awkwardly hold hands with financial forecasts, informed by the economic story dominating the Western Australian landscape, which tell us that 12 Buckets needs to make serious decisions to ensure its celebrated work can not only continue, but expand, albeit in a sustained and pragmatic way.

Simple Decisions can still be Difficult

If you look at the 12 Buckets annual report, you might pick up that “truth telling” is a stated value of our organisation. It’s a value embedded into our culture that calls us back from the temptation to spin-doctor what may be unpleasant, or use trickery to make the Brussel sprout of adversity more palatable.

Last Wednesday, the Board of 12 Buckets worked through, and then endorsed my proposal as CEO, to meet our present economic challenges with the following actions:

  • to amend the current strategic plan to maintain sole focus on our primary school program, delaying for a short time our move into high schools, while strategically moving the 12 Buckets primary school program towards being formally endorsed and externally funded
  • to reduce staffing costs, mainly by modifying the CEO role to being an unremunerated position. Unfortunately, the paid role of PR Content Creator has also come to an end.

One of the implications of the second action means I am now looking to take up paid employment elsewhere. However, I will firmly remain CEO, albeit in a modified and volunteer capacity, so as to work with the Board in guiding our talented and dedicated staff and volunteers through to achieving the success targets that have now been clarified.

With the help of a first-class consultant who has donated his time, we have worked through a rearrangement of the paid roles and responsibilities in order to accommodate this significant change. This means that Kathryn Bekker will take on the role of Program Director and her responsibilities will now include working with our School Liaisons to further refine our program and its supporting processes as we move toward submissions for formal endorsement. Consequently, 12 Buckets will be able to continue full delivery of its present programs at Balga, North Balga, Koondoola and Boyare Primary Schools.

Nicki McKenzie will continue to develop partnership and funding mechanisms needed for us to rebuild our reserves and further sustain delivery of the 12 Buckets program.

Turning Crisis into a Friend Instead of a Foe

What does all this have to do with cooking?

Well, spend enough time cooking Indian or Sri Lankan food, for instance, and you will see that certain spices require pressure and even crushing in order to become effective and powerful. The pounding of the mortar and pestle may appear to the cardamom pod to be a threat, but it’s only through its bruising that this seed will come into its own.

I believe that the economic story, and the associated crisis facing many charities and businesses in WA, is actually an opportunity: an opportunity to think creatively, respond with focus and ensure we aren’t quietly replacing the organisation’s mission with a leader’s personal desire for prolongation.

The true story in this crisis is that the important actions the 12 Buckets Board has taken place 12 Buckets in the strongest position in this present climate, to not only preserve the great work that has been achieved over the last seven years, but also see that work augmented in a sustained way.

Sadly, numerous charities may well close as a result of the present economic situation in WA. However, 12 Buckets has taken proactive steps in order to remain steadfast in its mission to see local children have every opportunity to flourish, both now and in the future.

If you have more specific questions about the changes that are taking place, please send them to and we will answer them as clearly and honestly as we can.