Stephen Michael Foundation

Business Type: Foundation Client Since: 2019

In 2019, GeersSullivan helped the Stephen Michael Foundation set up the financial and governance infrastructure that has seen this not-for-profit grow from five staff and a single funding stream to a multimillion dollar operation with over 30 staff.

We are exceptionally proud of the role we continue to play in ensuring the Stephen Michael Foundation can provide even more disadvantaged WA kids with their amazing programs.


The Stephen Michael Foundation was established by the South Fremantle Football Club to help disadvantaged youth become valued members of their communities. It is named after one of WA’s most prominent footballers, Stephen Michael, who is a great role model and the foundation’s actively involved patron.

The Stephen Michael Foundation runs sports-based wellbeing, education, leadership, training and employment programs in metropolitan and regional communities. Research has found that sport helps to increase school participation for those who are disengaged and experiencing challenges at home or school. Beginning with a pilot program in partnership with Fremantle College and the Town of Meekatharra, the foundation now reaches over 10,000 young people across WA.

GeersSullivan was first became involved with the Stephen Michael Foundation in 2019, with Director Ashley Dawson being a Board Member. The foundation was growing rapidly. Though the South Fremantle Football Club initially offered administrative support, the Stephen Michael Foundation soon needed their own dedicated level of governance and financial management services.

Our Approach

GeersSullivan offers the Stephen Michael Foundation our specialised CFO suite, as a cost-effective alternative to an internal financial management role that we can scale to suit an organisation’s particular size and needs. We maintain an ongoing operational understanding so that we can offer the following services:

  • Financial management (e.g. budgeting, accounts payable/receivable and payroll)
  • Strategic advice, including financial analysis and reporting at an executive and Board level
  • Supporting human resources requirements, including the development of policies, governance strategies and processes,
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Supporting funding applications and acquittals

This means regular contact to ensure that all of the Foundation’s needs are being met and that we’re accessible to the management team and all employees. Like in footy, it’s a team effort when it comes to achieving (kicking!) our goals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased the frequency of our discussions with Chief Executive Officer Paul Mugambwa and the management team to a daily touchpoint. We assessed different potential scenarios and opportunities, to ensure that all available government support could be accessed and the Foundation could continue its operations during the pandemic.


GeersSullivan has helped the Stephen Michael Foundation by:

  • Professionalising the foundation to a very high level, increasing its capacity and performance in terms of its systems and processes, and ensuring sustainable growth (in Paul’s own words)
  • Increasing internal and funding body confidence in the organisation’s financial and governance processes
  • Ensuring compliance with the regulations for not-for-profit entities, including the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • Improving insight in both day-to-day financial management and strategic direction (including assisting with the Stephen Michael Foundation Strategic Plan)
  • Increasing cashflow resilience as a not-for-profit relying on multiple income streams, including weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring no staff were lost
  • Supporting successful grant applications with strategically targeted funding streams and streamlined grant acquittal processes, including effective reporting and allocation of staff time
  • Offering personal tax support to all staff, including income tax returns, understanding salary sacrifice opportunities and how to best structure their personal finances

“What we receive from GeersSullivan is far beyond what we’re paying for – not only is their capability extraordinary, they share a genuine passion for what we do.

The access to their team for all levels of our staff, no matter how big or small a query, is unparalleled. We can’t thank GeersSullivan enough for the difference they’ve made to us, or recommend them highly enough.” – Paul Mugambwa, Stephen Michael Foundation

If you’d like to know more about the Stephen Michael Foundation or get involved, visit their website.

Enter your details here to subscribe to our newsletter:

sign up