Advancing Communities Australia Limited (ACAL) became a public company limited by guarantee on July 22, 2022. It began as an idea for Chair James Sturges who was confronted by many people who had lots of ideas but not a way of gaining recognition for those ideas so that something might happen as a result. James thought there was a need for an organization that could turn ideas into outcomes across the community; not a specialist body like say for accountants but a generalist group that could pull together the resources to put behind the ideas.
The concept was analogous to being a backbone which supported the body to stand on its own two feet. This is known as a backbone organization and thus ACAL was constructed as a company with a very broad initial purpose (taken from its then Constitution) as below:
PURPOSE: The purpose of the Company is, through education and support, to build a community of resilient leaders who are making economic and social contributions to society. The Company is a social enterprise established to create collective leadership to make economic and social contributions to the community. The Company will provide a platform for these leaders to make a change and increase regional resilience in the context of a social enterprise. The social enterprise offers a structure to realise the region’s competitive advantage through generating income and opportunities with its local network and partners. The surpluses of this social enterprise are, as per its constitution, to provide further education to the regional leaders to enhance their regional 3 competitive advantage and increase their resilience. The model is purposely iterative to take any slight advantage and thorough, continuous improvement process, continually amplifying the benefits to the targeted regions across Australia and social enterprise ventures. The formation of the Company directly responds to the need for a backbone organisation to support initiatives in the region where there is not a constituted body available to develop the initiative. The advantage of the background organisation as a social enterprise is to exist to identify recurrent and sustainable surpluses of regional opportunity. A backbone organisation such as the Company essentially pursues six everyday activities to support and facilitate collective impact, distinguishing this work from other collaborative efforts.
Over the lifecycle of an initiative, the Company will work collectively with its partners to:
(a) guide vision and strategy;
(b) support aligned activities;
(c) establish shared measurement practices;
(d) build public will;
(e) advance policy; (f) mobilize funding;
and engage in any such other activities, as from time to time, may be agreed upon by the Company and which are in keeping with the broad purpose of the Company.
ACAL commenced with this purpose and three Directors as members: Mr James Sturges, Dr Aletha Ward and Mr Troy Schoenfisch.