To celebrate ALNF’s 20 years of road trips, small planes, adventures, friends, amazing kids and incredible achievements the team held a birthday bash last Friday night, the 15th of November.

Attendees included long-term supporters, family members, volunteers, Ambassadors, Board Members, ALNF staff and representatives from corporate and philanthropic partnerships new and old. Notable guests included Professor Tom Calma AO, Adam Goodes, Jesinta and Buddy Franklin, and of course the two women who made it all happen – Co-Founders Kim Kelly and Mary-Ruth Mendel.

Throughout the night, guests were invited to take a look back at all that they had helped to accomplish since ALNF’s founding in 1999, as well as at some glimpses into the many exciting new projects planned for the years to come.

To kick the night off, an incredible Welcome to Country was performed by Aboriginal performance group, Tribal Warrior, followed by a formal Acknowledgement of Country presented by Professor Tom Calma AO.

At various points throughout the evening representatives from philanthropic and corporate partnerships including Officeworks, AMEX and BMG all shared a few words about their journeys with ALNF. Other speakers included Gemma Salteri from the Salteri Foundation, Ambassador Jess Hatzis and Australian Legend Adam Goodes, who spoke on behalf of David Jones and in his capacity as ALNF Ambassador and Board Member. Electronic group Peking Duk even made a cameo appearance via video, wishing everyone at ALNF a Happy 20th Birthday and announcing the exciting and upcoming Dukcember campaign!

Kim and Mary-Ruth then thanked all the people in the room for being part of ALNF’s mission to improve literacy levels for communities across the nation and for allowing ALNF to keep working until every child in Australia can read and write.

A secret guest act was a draw card for the night, and when revealed as the amazing musical duo Electric Fields, comprised of Zaachariah Fielding, a member of a family well-known by ALNF staff working in the APY Lands, and Michael Ross, the crowd was blown away!

The performance was absolutely incredible, with Zaachariah not only singing in English but also in Pitjantjara and Yankunytjatjara, two of the languages being on-boarded to ALNF’s Living First Language Platform to ensure that Indigenous First Languages are passed on for generations to come.

The rest of the night was filled with dancing, chatting and laughter – you could truly feel the love in the room!

All in all, ALNF’s 20th Birthday event was a huge success, taking stock of all that has been achieved in the last 20 years, and looking forward to all that is yet to come in the next 20.


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