Foundation remains in good, strong hands
Wednesday, 11th November, 2020
By Myles Burt
After 20 years at the helm of Foundation Broken Hill, Vince Gauci stood down as chairman yesterday.
Now the baton passes to another of the city’s favourite sons, John Lynch OAM, who was unanimously endorsed by board members at the Foundation’s Annual General Meeting.
Just like Mr Gauci, the mining engineer who rose to the top, Mr Lynch excelled in his career with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to become its Chief Executive Officer.
Both were also very talented Aussie Rules footballers, Mr Lynch for North and Mr Gauci who, as captain of West, won the Middleton Medal for the Best and Fairest player in the competition.
Mr Gauci said he may have stepped down as chairman but had never lost his energy or appreciation of Broken Hill, and never will.
He said the objective was to ensure the Foundation was in good hands, and with Mr Lynch on the board as director he felt it was the right time to retire.
“I probably wouldn’t have left the Foundation at this time unless John was available to be the chairman,” Mr Gauci said.
“I know that the Foundation is in really good hands with the chairman and the current directors.”
Mr Gauci said over the many boards he’d been a part of, this one had been the best by far and he had thoroughly enjoyed the company of the very special people he had worked alongside, their individual quality, depth of knowledge and love of the city.
“There has been some lovely debate but there’s never been any serious arguments within the board over that period of time,” he said.
“No egos get in the way - we’ve all got an ego but it was always parked at the door before we actually started our meetings.”
The success of Foundation Broken Hill has been phenomenal. It started with seed funding 20 years ago and now holds $2.5 million dollars with which to foster new business and jobs.
Mr Gauci said every dollar donated was invested and used only for Broken Hill.
There are no fees because everyone volunteers their time. Foundation Broken Hill also uses money from renting donated buildings to keep the day to day enterprise going.
Throughout the Asian Financial Crisis, the Global Financial Crisis and now the COVID-19 Pandemic, Foundation BH has given more than $1.2 million to the city.
“If we didn’t have Foundation, it beggars belief where that money might have come from,” Mr Gauci said.
Mr Lynch was an early director of Foundation BH from 2002 to 2010. After working in Adelaide as CEO of the RFDS Central Operations, he re-joined the Foundation Board in 2018.
He said that when his retirement from the RFDS was imminent, Mr Gauci rang and offered him a position back on the board.
Mr Lynch said he was honoured to have been chosen by the Board to be its next Chair.
Like Mr Gauci, John, his wife and his family were all born and raised in the Silver City.
“Broken Hill provided us with many opportunities and, in fact, Broken Hill gave us the foundation in whatever we’ve been able to achieve,” he said.
“I always maintain you either come from Broken Hill, or you wish you did.”
Mr Lynch is eager to give back, like his grandfather Paddy O’Neill who was the founding president of the Barrier Industrial Council in 1923. His father was a great contributor to his Church and his sporting affiliations.
“Now it’s our turn, and what a privilege,” Mr Lynch said.
He said anyone with an idea for establishing a business should not hesitate to put it to Foundation Broken Hill via phone, email, mail or by visiting its offices at 164 Argent Street.
“We’d be delighted to hear from them because the board won’t always have the solutions, and the person who ends up running the business may not be the dreamer,” Mr Lynch said.
“So let the community dream big and then let us find a solution for that dream.”