Mt Burdett Foundation’s vision is that by investing strategically in new initiatives and people, we create a vibrant, resilient community to ensure a healthy future for the Esperance region and rural and regional Western Australia.
The Foundation was the concept of Esperance farmer Chris Reichstein, owner of Mount Burdett Farm, who was looking to return some of his good fortune to the community and potentially encourage others who have prospered in the region to do the same.
Chris's passion for philanthropy was catching and before long he had brought together a core group of people who shared his drive to create positive change. Together they worked to establish the Mt Burdett Foundation and by 2019, succeeded in having the bones of the operation in place.
After a battle with cancer, Chris passed away at Mount Burdett Farm on the 16th July 2021. He had succeeded in having the Foundation well and truly operational and had established directions and a team of people to carry the Foundation forward.
The Foundation is a charitable organisation funded by income from Mount Burdett Farm and currently managed by a Board consisting of two members - David Falconer and William Ryan. This Board will expand to five positions in time.
The Board take guidance from two separate committees that have been set up to review and recommend projects for funding. The Esperance Community Advisory Committee is focused on supporting initiatives in the Esperance region. The Rural and Regional Advancement Foundation Committee cast their net further afield throughout rural and regional WA. Each group works to support projects within set funding criteria.
A Farm Advisory Committee has also been formed with a view to securing the longevity of the Foundation through strong management of the farm as the Foundation's core source of income.
The Mt Burdett Foundation has been established as an organisation that will provide benefit to the community for many years to come. A core focus of Founder Chris Reichstein's was to ensure that the Foundation was set up with a solid grounding and clear direction that can be maintained into the future.
One of the central steps to achieving this has been the development of a Statement of Founder's Intent. This takes the form of a document that provides broad guidance to future Directors and Managers of the Mt Burdett Foundation. It gives them a reference point for the general ideas around Chris's goals and his aspirations for the Foundation, and the Esperance region.
This document is publicly available and gives good insight into what drives the Foundation, the kinds of impact we are targeting and how we work to achieve it.
To enrich and empower the Esperance region and rural and regional Western Australia.
In the Esperance region, we do this by developing and supporting initiatives in the areas of:
The arts and public amenity
Human capacity building
Throughout rural and regional Western Australia, we do this by investing in empowering people in early to mid-career to build skills, confidence, opportunity, and leadership.
We strive to achieve sustainable impact by:
Investing on a scale that will make a substantial difference to outcomes. Taking a long-term view and persisting utilising an agile framework. Seeking to create enduring, not temporary, change. Taking calculated risks and supporting new ideas for significant change. Focusing on root causes, not symptoms, to foster and facilitate systemic change.
We hold ourselves accountable to the Founder’s Intent document by:
Carrying out our work and responsibilities with uncompromising integrity. Demonstrating the highest standards of conduct. Communicating honestly, respectfully, clearly and in a timely manner. Using the resources entrusted to us responsibly. Demonstrating leadership, vision and a ‘can do’ attitude in the community and wider agricultural sector.
Where possible, we take a systematic, evidence-based approach to:
Utilising and implementing evidence-based theories of change. Testing our assumptions and challenging our thinking; we adapt to address changing conditions. Evaluating our impact, learning and improving, we establish outcomes which we can measure using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Consistently implementing full cycles of planning, execution, evaluation, and improvement, we learn from both our successes and failures. We strive to stay well informed and make decisions on the basis of knowledge, analysis, external input and objective due diligence.
We seek and foster collaboration with respect and purpose by:
Recognising that maximum impact is achieved through our collaborative efforts. Working with others, respecting their ideas, values and time. Listening to varying points of view, including those that may differ from our own to challenge our thinking. We encourage innovative ideas and diverse thinking, proactively looking outside our sphere of influence for ingenious ways to achieve our goals.
Mt Burdett Foundation is predominantly driven by volunteers, with a little help from an Executive Officer. Huge thanks goes to all those involved for their time and commitment to seeing the Foundation succeed and for giving back to our community. Click on a committee below to find out more about its members.
Mount Burdett Farm is located north-east of Esperance, Western Australia. The property was originally cleared from bush in 1975 by the Reichstein family.
Chris Reichstein farmed the land for 40 years and would recall the first days of the farm, looking around at the scrub and envisaging the enterprise that was to come. In 2021, he commented that reflecting back, his younger self would not have thought possible the levels of productivity the farm had achieved through modern techniques and technology.
With Chris's passing in 2021, the farm is now managed by the Mt Burdett Foundation Directors with support from a Farm Advisory Committee and a team of farm staff. The production system is focused on cropping with a rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lupins, peas and legumes. There is a focus on continuing Chris's approach by managing the farm in a way that will secure its productivity into the future with continual improvement at front of mind.
In establishing the Mt Burdett Foundation, Chris hoped that the farm could contribute something of importance - both to agriculture and the community.
The Foundation is currently funded by income from the farm, however we welcome contributions from those seeking to invest in our vision and increase the Foundation's impact. Donations can be directed towards either the Mt Burdett Esperance Community Foundation to support initiatives in the Esperance region, or to the Rural and Regional Advancement Foundation to contribution to human capacity building throughout rural and regional WA.
If you would like to make a contribution or partner with us on a project please get in touch.
The Mt Burdett Foundation holds Deducible Gift Recipient status.