About The Foundation

The Cardinia Foundation (formerly Casey Cardinia Foundation) is a philanthropic Community Foundation, raising funds for local community groups throughout the Shire of Cardinia, with funds dispersed through an annual grants program. Established in 2003, the foundation serves communities across Cardinia Shire. The foundation aims to support the social, community and physical development of the community.

Helping Our Community

Our purpose is to invest in building a strong, healthy and diverse community that knows how to get things done and knows how to support themselves, each other and our environment. To help our local community groups to thrive, building a brighter future for Cardinia.

We fundraise for our annual grant-giving program that aligns with the Cardinia Shire Council’s Liveability Plan. 

If you are interested in becoming a board member, please email us to obtain further information and an expression of interest form at:


Meet our Board

Our volunteer Board of Directors are community representatives who reflect a broad range of skills and local experience.

Director and Chairman – Paul Thomas

Paul is the current Chairman of the Foundation and has been a Director since 2009. Paul grew up in Pakenham and works across the region in a fourth generation local media business. Paul has seen first hand the growth of the Casey-Cardinia region and understands the many challenges confronted by local residents. The Foundation is one small way to be able to provide some positive impact to the community.

“Together we are making a difference to our local community. Giving something back benefits us all”

Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne – Director Country Press Australia – Director Victorian Country Press Association.

Director and Deputy Chairman – Adam Sadiqzai

Adam is the current Deputy Chairman of Casey Cardinia foundation. Adam lives in the City of Casey and has had business interests in both the Casey and Cardinia region for the past 15 years

Over the years, Adam has prided himself on creating a business that he terms as being “a business with a purpose” and as such, has contributed heavily to numerous community organisations both in Casey and Cardinia.

Adam is extraordinary proud to be a part of an organisation that has given back to the community in such a positive way, it is particularly rewarding to be side by side with such a dedicated group of people that is committed to making a difference.  Adam also proudly sits on the board of Outlook.

Director – Kate Lempriere

Kate is proud to be an inaugural member of the Casey Cardinia Foundation since it’s inception in 2003. Committed to making a difference, providing positive outcomes in personal and business philanthropy.

Kate has served Cardinia as Mayor [twice] and Councillor [3 Terms]. Former President of the Save the Children Charity and Lord Mayors Charitable Fund, Kate, is former Vice Chair and current Board Member, Duke of Edinburgh Award. Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitallier, she is Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Kate has tertiary and post tertiary qualifications in Financial Services, Management and Governance. Kate is well known as a Rotarian in Pakenham and Casey and is a Paul Harris Fellow recipient.


Director – Carol Jeffs

Carol Jeffs is the Chief Executive Officer of Cardinia Shire Council. Carol has extensive experience in local government management and leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to community engagement and participation. Carol brings more than 18 years’ experience as a senior local government executive, having led planning, corporate services, economic development and community services at both regional and inner metropolitan councils.

Carol is committed to making a difference in a place that she knows and loves by working closely with the community, councillors and staff to continue to deliver high quality services and infrastructure across the whole shire. She believes in advocating strongly for what Cardinia Shire needs and engaging with residents, community groups, farmers, businesses and landowners, as we take up the challenge of creating a future we can all be proud of.

Director – Brett Owen

Brett has been a Foundation Director for several years and is a lifetime resident of Cardinia Shire.

He is currently a Cardinia Shire councillor and also a serving Victoria Police Officer for 20 years, with a focus on proactive and community policing in the Casey/Cardinia area. A father of two young boys and a girl Brett is passionate about supporting young people and the disadvantaged, he wants to contribute to building safe, strong, happy communities.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, let’s make our children’s village a great one.”



Director – Kristine Ash

Kris is an experienced and authentic leader who builds strong relationships with individuals and organisations to deliver outcomes aligned with their strategy and purpose.

Kris has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years and has experience in all fundraising streams and has worked  with many organisations to grow their fundraising income. Kris is keen to see the Foundation’s ability to support local community groups grow in order to build community resilience.  Now working locally as a Director of OrgMent Talent Solutions, she is enjoying contributing to the area’s economic development.

BA Hons – Exeter University –  Past President and Paul Harris Fellow, Emerald & District Rotary Club – National Fundraising Award Recipient & Executive Member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia

Director - Tony Fitzgerald

Tony has lived and worked in Cardinia Shire since 1989. He is the current President of the Bunyip Complex Fires, Community Recovery Committee. The BCRC lobbied and raised considerable funds to support residents after the 2019 fires.

Tony is a former CEO of Outlook Australia Inc. He was Chair of National Disability Service Victoria for 6 years and sat on the Australian Board. National Disability Service was the peak body that successfully lobbied for an NDIS.

In 2015 Tony was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Awards for his contribution to disability services.  In December 2017 Tony was honoured by the Victorian Minister for the Environmental at the official opening of Tony Fitzgerald Environmental Park in Officer.

The Garry McQuillan – Tony Fitzgerald Award is awarded annually to a Cardinia Shire employee and a Community member who is doing great work in the prevention of domestic violence.

Director – Abiola Ajetomobi

Abiola is an experienced equity and inclusion consultant, social Innovator, service transformational coach and successful entrepreneur.  Abiola has more than 20 years of management experience in local and state government and not-for-profit organisations both here and overseas, coupled with a background in business, humanitarian, financial services, and social entrepreneurship.

Abiola has a Graduate Certificate of Management of Not-for-Profit Organisations from Australian Catholic University, where she was honoured with the Inaugural Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Innovation Alumni Award 2020.  She is also a 2021 alumnus of the For-Purpose Executive Leadership Program at Melbourne Business School. She is the founder and lead consultant of Leading Impact NOW.  A lived experience-centred management consulting firm with equity and Inclusion at its core.

Abiola sits on the Board of Plan International Australia, and the Chair of United African Farm and Women of Colour Melbourne Incorporated.


Director – Simon Dunstan

Simon is a motivated and dedicated professional, committed to fostering a thriving community and promoting sustainable practices. He has established his residence and professional career in the Cardinia region for an extensive period of time, becoming deeply rooted in the community and possessing a wealth of experience and familiarity with the area.

Simon has over 30 years of experience in the Real Estate, Construction, and Development industries, having proved pivotal in leading four (4) wholly-owned companies to great success. He brings forth the leadership skills necessary to foster growth in dynamic environments, as well as forward thinking and an environmental conscious across all aspects of business.

In addition to being a part of the Housing Industry Victoria, Simon also serves on the committee of the Toomuc Landcare Group.  Simon’s strong passion and commitment to making a positive impact is shown through his is active involvement in numerous charitable initiatives and community support projects.

Meet Our Team

Executive Officer – Kara Norton-Jones

Kara is our part-time Executive Officer, bringing her experience from a wide range of skills and knowledge from working within a number of different industries. Her experience on a non-for-profit board in education as secretary offers strong governance and compliance experience.

Having a background in finance and payroll, Kara has a Bachelor in Business Management and an Advance Diploma in Accounting.

She believes strongly in the benefits of lifelong education, and the importance of providing the community with the opportunity to live in a safe and inclusive environment.

Fundraising and Partnership Manager – Melissa Gleeson

Melissa has over the years provided service to many communities across Gippsland, Casey, Cardinia and Dandenong LGA’s in the fields of Housing and Homelessness, Disability, Youth, Family Violence, and Child Youth and Family programs.

She has been part of the Mirboo North Art Show committee as their sponsorship coordinator and had the role of the art show coordinator as well. The Mirboo North Music Festival that ran for two years was also organised by Melissa.

She previously worked and resided in Pakenham in the 1990’s and after several years in Gippsland and overseas moved back to live in 2020.  Her passion and dedication in making a difference to the community drives her to reach and obtain goals.