An Adventist-led “innovation lab” has had five of its projects shortlisted for the New South Wales Government’s “My Community Project”, an initiative to fund projects designed to improve the wellbeing of people and communities.
Collaboratory’s “FixMyStreet” app was selected for the Baulkham Hills, Lake Macquarie and Riverstone electorates, while its volunteering platform—called “Two Bob’s Worth”—was shortlisted for Ku-ring-gai. The company is also hoping to establish a Creative Youth Innovation Centre in Parramatta to help young people turn creativity into a business or employment opportunity.
“We’re passionate about helping people know their Creator, explore their talents and step out in faith to share those talents with others,” said Andrew Perry, Collaboratory founder and a member of Castle Hill Church.
Grants up to $A260,000 are available for each state electorate through the My Community Project. Successful projects are determined through a public vote, with the projects that receive the most support to receive funding.
In explaining the philosophy behind Collaboratory’s projects, Mr Perry said Christians often feel like they have to do everything themselves and “give, rather than receive”. However, he argues this model is “unsustainable and leads to burnout and disengagement”.
“Not every good deed can be a volunteer effort, or tax and tithe-payer funded,” he said. “So, we [at Collaboratory] focus on helping people grow sustainable missional businesses, and on unleashing the talents of members who often sit quietly, unsure of how to contribute.”
Ben Turner, pastor of Sydney Indonesian church who successfully nominated FixMyStreet for the Baulkham Hills electorate, is inspired by Collaboratory’s ministry approach.
“If these projects get enough votes, we can build technology and grow relationships that would help churches with ministries like ‘YesWeCare’ to know where the needs are in the community,” he said. “I think that’s how Jesus would want this technology to be used.”
Mr Turner also suggested that, while technology is rapidly changing our lives, “we can harness it for God’s cause.”
“I love that Collaboratory is using innovation to grow relationships, with God at the centre.”
Visit the My Community Project website or click on the links below to vote for one of Collaboratory’s five shortlisted projects. Voting closes Thursday, August 15. Individuals must be enrolled in the relevant electorate to vote.