Greater Shepparton Foundation is led by a diverse and highly-skilled Board of Directors. They offer a wealth of local knowledge and understanding of the complex issues in this region as well as experience in place-based philanthropy and community-led giving.
The Directors and staff are focused on creating partnerships and collaborations to connect the needs of the Greater Shepparton community with the resources and skills needed to tackle disadvantage. The team will drive change through innovative initiatives, and support community organisations that align with our purpose.
Mark De Paola, Chair
Mark moved to Shepparton in 1997 to begin his optometry career and is currently the director of Graham Hill Eyecare. Mark was a Board member of The Community Fund Goulburn Valley from 2008 until the transition to the Greater Shepparton Foundation. Mark also serves on the regional advisory board of La Trobe University. His aim as a Director of GSF is to make a positive difference in his community.
Julia Thomas, Deputy Chair
Julia has spent nine years in the local Agri-finance industry and is a 2016 Fairley Leadership Graduate. Originally hailing from Sydney with a Business Degree, Julia has spent her career working across rural and regional Australia, in agriculture, mining and finance. Now living with her husband and young family on their cropping farm at Youanmite, Julia is passionate about improving youth outcomes across the Goulburn Valley region.
Kara Shields, Director
Kara is a Chartered Accountant at local business, MB+M. Kara is the current Chair of GSF’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. The mother of two is a former Board Member and Treasurer of the Shepparton Festival and has volunteered as a member of the Shepparton Toy Library Committee. She is a keen runner and enjoys the lifestyle of Greater Shepparton, which she has called home for 15 years.
Lauren Donnellan, Director
Lauren is a local solicitor, who has previously worked in private practise, Local Government and In-House Legal Counsel. Passionate about community engagement, she is actively involved in sporting communities as a player, volunteer and coach. She serves as an Executive Member and By-Laws Officer with the Kyabram District League and volunteers with the Lighthouse Project Sister Program. Lauren joined GSF to contribute to the wider community and support ways to engage youth in other community opportunities across the GV.
Gracia Musafiri, Director
Gracia is a young leader in our community. She joined the GSF Board in 2021 and has experience in working with our diverse community having volunteered and been employed at local community organisation, St Paul’s African House. Gracia also brings valuable marketing skills to our board and is currently employed by GOTAFE as a Digital Marketing Officer. Gracia is passionate about helping others, she joined GSF in the hopes of supporting the wider community.
Neha Samar, Director
Neha is employed by a federally funded education organization supporting young people re-engaging with education, specialising in Vocational Education and Training in Schools compliance and coaching. She has qualifications in vocational education, management, adult language, literacy & numeracy. Based on personal experiences and realising in regional places “it’s not what you know but who you know”, she established The Flamingo Project, a free program to connect women from all walks of life. In 2023 she was the state finalist for the Rural Women’s Award and nominee for Greater Shepparton Women’s Award. She is an active community member and volunteer, is Deputy Chair for GMLLEN and on committees such as Greater Shepparton Women’s Charter and Victorian Regional Multicultural Advisory Committee for Hume.
Amanda has worked in the non-for-profit and philanthropic sectors and is the current Deputy Chair of the Goulburn Regional Partnership. Amanda’s background has seen her deliver strong outcomes for organisations in the community, local, state and federal government spaces. With a diverse skill set and experience in project management, economic development, event management, tourism and marketing communications, She has a wealth of experience to draw upon as she advocates for the needs of our local community.