Dungala Kaiela

This Foundation aims to support initiatives that will empower Indigenous people in the Dungala Kaiela region so we can reach parity. 


Our Journey Towards Parity

FOTL project overview 2018 - Shepparton[2]


Why Do We Exist

Historical decisions and an overwhelming introduced culture meant Indigenous people in the Dungala Kaiela (Murray Goulburn) region were excluded from civic, financial and political decision-making.  As a consequence we lived on the margins.  

We exist to address this imbalance by supporting the dreams of Indigenous people so they are no longer marginalised. We invest in leaders so they can create cultural, civic and economic value for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.


Who We Are

The Foundation was established in 2008 as a non-profit company limited by guarantee. An independent Board that has Indigenous and non-Indigenous members is responsible for its governance.  It has been audited each year without any qualification.  

It is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission and has been endorsed by the ATO as a DGR1.


What We Do

The Foundation funds innovative programs to support Indigenous people to reach parity with the mainstream population. It focuses on supporting these areas: 

  • health & well being 
  • education
  • cultural identity & affirmation
  • employment

The Foundation receives philanthropic support from many donors and grant makers who choose to support a program of their choice. 


An Endowment Fund was established in 2019 to permanently underpin the current programs so they can be sustained and independent from the cycle of funding. A select committee manages this Endowment Fund on behalf of donors, beneficiaries and the Foundation. 



Dungala Kaiela Oration

An annual oration jointly sponsored by the Kaiela Institute and the University of Melbourne, in partnership with the Rumbalara Football Netball Club. The aim of this annual event is to host visionary leaders to deliver the Oration that will help inspire those present to create a shared vision for the people of the region. 

This is a major event on the calendar that attracts educators, civic leaders and sports people from the Dungala Kaiela region, Melbourne and beyond.

Senator Pat Dodson, Yawuru man from WA
Dr Moana Jackson, lawyer and Maori leader
Prof Marcia Langton, Associate Provost Redmond Barry, Distinguished Professor Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies
Dr Martin Parkinson, PSM former Sec Dep PMC
Prof Glyn Davis, AC, former Vice-Chancellor of Uni Melb
Noel Pearson, lawyer, academic, founder of Cape York Institute, Bagaarrmugu man
Peter Nash, former Chair KPMG, Board of Reconciliation Australia
Brian Hartzer, former CEO Westpac
Saul Eslake, economist, AFL advocate, Vice Chancellor ‘s Fellow, UTAS
Richard Goyder AO, Chairman AFL
Prof Dr Carmen Lawrence, former Premier of WA


Programs We Support

A meaningful set of initiatives focused on employment, education, health and well-being. Each of these programs incorporate cultural identity and affirmation.  

The value of these initiatives was quantified by an academic study from La Trobe University that concluded $1 invested generates $5.45 return in social value.

Dungala Kaiela Writing Awards

These Awards were instigated by a group of Koori women from the Dungala Kaiela region. They wanted children to write stories about things that mattered to them in English and their Indigenous tongue. The Awards give first nation people a voice and encouragement to express themselves and develop literacy in their own cultural styles.

Cultural identity

Being a proud first nation people who knows their stories, customs, rites and totems is important. Programs in this area help youngsters to learn about their past and provide access for members of the mainstream population to learn about first nation traditions, languages, ceremonies and the power of being on country.


Our Board

Uncle Paul
Paul Briggs OAM


Executive Director - Kaiela Institute

Felicia Dean
Felicia Dean

Board Member

CEO - Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative

Steve Rothfield
Steve Rothfield

Board Member

Active advocate for Indigenous people

Justin Mohammed
Justin Mohammed

Board Member

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young people (Victoria)


Our Partners and Supporters

Many local and Melbourne based organisations have come to understand the importance of Victorian Indigenous communities and have offered their support.



Making a gift to the Dungala Kaiela Foundation means you are supporting Indigenous people to reach parity.

Every donor is thanked and will receive a progress report each year.


Contact Us

We welcome questions and enjoy sharing our stories. Please call us on (03) 5822 4364 or complete the form below and we will reply as soon as possible.

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"It is not just about homework, but you can also see friends there. I get a lot of support from the tutors for my homework. My confidence in my schoolwork has really increased. I have loved learning more Yorta Yorta language and about my cultural history."
Student, 14
"I enjoy going to homework club because we get to have fun whilst learning, I get to see my friends and connect with everyone. It’s my culture. And I can learn new things about my history. My totors are friendly and they really help me."
Student, 11
Uncle Paul
Paul Briggs OAM


Executive Director - Kaiela Institute

Paul Briggs is a Yorta Yorta man who has worked to build a sustainable, inclusive and engaged indigenous community through the empowerment of family and youth.

He is the Executive Chair of the Kaiela Institute, Former Chair of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, President of the Rumbalara Football Netball Club, Inaugural chair of the AFL Indigenous Advisory Group.

Paul has been at the forefront of Aboriginal peoples rights and advancement since the early 1970s.  His leadership saw the establishment of a number of critical institutions including the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Organisation, the Victorian Indigenous Leadership Network and First Nations Australian Credit Union, the first Indigenous credit union offering national access to financial services.

Felicia Dean
Felicia Dean

Board Member

CEO - Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative

Felicia Dean is the Chief Executive Officer of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and a proud business owner, managing The Connection, a multi-purpose function centre and restaurant.

Felicia is a local Yorta Yorta woman born and raised in the traditional area and is a mother to two daughters and proud grandmother of three burris.

She is heavily involved in her local Community, her knowledge and expertise in the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector is extensive. Felicia sits on numerous Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Boards.

Steve Rothfield
Steve Rothfield

Board Member

Active advocate for Indigenous people

Steven Rothfield is committed to social justice for the First Nations peoples of Australia. Since his retirement from a long career in general management, management consultancy, IT and finance 15 years ago, he has worked with Indigenous leaders on over 30 projects covering a range of community development areas including economic development, employment, education, governance, arts, sports and cultural development.

He has a Commerce degree, an MBA (Melbourne) and a CPA, and is also passionate about underwater marine life and photography.

He is currently on the Board of the Australian Communities Foundation, Kaiela Institute, Australian Women Donors Network and the Barpirdhila Foundation.

Justin Mohammed
Justin Mohammed

Board Member

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young people (Victoria)

Justin Mohamed is the inaugural Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People. Mr Mohamed is a proud Aboriginal man of the Gooreng Gooreng nation near Bundaberg in Queensland.

He has dedicated the past 25 years to working towards building a stronger and healthier nation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mr Mohamed has spent much of his career working in the Aboriginal health and sport sectors, improving outcomes and connections to culture for Aboriginal people, including children.