Broadwater Southport Rotary has had a longstanding relationship with the NDY Charitable Trust. The genesis for this was that Rotarian Dennis O’Brien was an employee of NDY from 1977 to 2016 and a Director and Board Member from 1987 until 2013 when he sold his NDY shares.
Norman Disney & Young are Consulting Engineering firm, with core expertise in building services such as air conditioning, electrical, hydraulics, fire protection, and communications. The company has many offices around the world, with staff between 350 and 750 over the years depending on market conditions. Dennis was responsible for setting up a number of those offices. His role included:
  • 17 years as Director of the Sydney Office (the original office for the company)
  • Setting up an organisation in Dubai and managing a project which would have been the tallest and largest building in the world – unfortunately the project was abandoned because of the Global Financial Crisis.
  • Responsibility for diversification into such areas as vehicle tunnel services (ventilation, electrical fire suppression, hydraulics, and communications.)
  • Setting up and managing a joint venture Rail Consulting Practice
  • Responsibility for risk (including management of contracts, placing insurance, and managing any disputes which arose)
  • Corporate Responsibility including appropriate behaviour of the company and its staff.
Within the area of corporate responsibility, the company had a long history of supporting charitable organisations. However, each office acted independently. Dennis was involved in setting up the NDY Charitable Trust (NDY) which was done by a legal firm on a pro bono basis. As a long serving Rotarian, Dennis had experience in how charities run and where the best “value for money” could be obtained for our charitable contributions. So the NDY Charitable Trust guidance documents are very much set up on Rotary principals.

Broadwater Southport Rotary Charitable Trust

The Broadwater Southport Rotary Charitable Trust was also set up on a pro bono basis by the NDY's legal advisors. The main purpose of our Trust is that it can receive donations from other trusts and individuals on a tax-deductible basis.

Key Contributions from NDY

School of St Jude’s 

Our Rotary Club and the NDY Charitable Trust have both been supporters of St Jude’s for many years. The School of St Jude’s has been operating since 2005 and provides world class education to local indigenous people. It is run by Gemma Sissia who was bought up in Armidale. St Jude’s has been supported by Rotary Clubs in Australia. In 2021, NDY ran a joint raffle with the club which generated funds for both parties to contribute to St Jude’s.

Chinese Water Project 

Prior to our club becoming involved in the Chinese Water Project, the the NDY Charitable Trust supported a project though SkyJuice, a charity which provides water filtration equipment. As it transpired, the overall project was being run by the Rotary Club of Kowloon East in Hong Kong and provided water to 3 Chinese schools. During the project, we got to know Kenneth Wong, Past District Governor of District 3450. There is a strong relationship between our District and Ken and several projects involved collaboration between our districts and clubs within our districts. Sometime later, Kowloon East initiated a larger project servicing 10 schools. Broadwater Southport Club became involved, and the Norman Disney & Young Charitable Trust donated $13,500 funds to our Charitable Trust Which supported the project.


SERES is a Charity in Guatemala which seeks to develop a network that activates and empowers the leadership and passion of young people in Guatemala and El Salvador, inspiring and catalysing their efforts towards building safer, more sustainable, resilient communities. SERES’ joint founder was Corrina Grace who was a graduate mechanical engineer with NDY. Contact was maintained between Corrina and NDY and the NDY Charitable Trust became very generous supporters of SERES. Broadwater Southport Rotary primarily become involved because donations needed to flow from NDY to or club’s charitable trust and then through Rotary channels to SERES. This project has been generously supported by the Norman Disney & Young Charitable Trust .

Facilities Training Program 

The Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport sponsored a Pilot Program which took place from in 2015 and included a Facilitators Training program and 6 youth congresses. Funding for this project was primarily provided by the NDY Charitable Trust. The purpose of the SERES ESD Ambassadors program is to build a cohort of facilitators and multipliers to inspire, mobilize and unleash youth leadership for community resilience to a changing climate. The ESD Ambassadors are an active network of young leaders, role models and influential leaders in their communities, who are accelerating actions towards a more sustainable society. The desired outcome is for SERES Ambassadors to have not just the knowledge but the skills, attitudes, and values to allow them to be powerful and effective transformative change agents. 


The Communiversity will be an environmentally friendly simple building complex designed to support the Training requirements of SERES. A donation of $60,000 was made by an anonymous person associated with NDY. The Club’s Charitable Trust was able to accept that donation and provide a tax-deductible receipt, then transfer the funds in such a way that we complied with our obligations to donate to charities which have a tax-deductible status with the ATO. 

Water well

In early June 2018 a volcanic eruption occurred adjacent to SERES’ main training site, impacting many of the communities where SERES works. 

Fortunately, SERES' land was subject to minimal damage. In surrounding communities however there was significant destruction and loss of life. In addition, many lost their homes and, being predominantly subsistence farmers, their only source of income and nutrition. The 2019 harvests were destroyed, and many farms permanently lost due to lava flows. 
Given their strong personal connections with the community, SERES’ immediate response was to assist in the coordination of the disaster relief efforts and act as liaison between the local community and the international aid organizations, government, and the army. The government and large NGOs were tasked with providing housing for displaced persons, however, were challenged with developing adequate and appropriate sources of Income and employment for those who lost their livelihoods. 
In collaboration with surviving community members, SERES developed their own long-term response to the disaster. This plan involves using SERES’ land as a place for farmers to continue to grow food, as well as developing a demonstration and training area to teach about more sustainable and resilient agricultural practices and to incubate socio-agribusinesses with the survivors. This approach of SERES is very much “providing a fishing rod” rather than a fish and has been very successful in previous programs. 
The Water Distribution component of the project that Rotary is supporting will install a bore, solar pump, and water tanks to support the agricultural projects that SERES is running with the community which are currently entirely dependent on seasonal rainfall which has become unreliable due to climate change. The program received a Rotary Global Grant. Total estimated costs are $US 67,000. NDY were generous contributors to the project.

Give Every Child a Future

Following a suggestion by Dennis O’Brien, the NDY Charitable Trust contributed $7,000 to this Rotary project which is providing immunization to children in South Pacific Islands. Our club also supported this project.

Hope for Justice

Hope for Justice is a Cambodian project which rescues young people from slavery and provides them with training in alternative areas. Rotarian Jenny Crewes presented to the NDY Charitable Trust who have pledged a $10,000 donation. Our club also contributed to this project.

Disaster Aid Australia (DAA)


Disaster Aid Australia hostel site above destroyed village

Disaster Aid support families devastated natural disasters and was introduced to the NDY Charitable Trust by Dennis O'Brien.

The very first donation in 2011 at the NDY Charitable Trust launch in Melbourne was to Disaster Aid Australia. Since 2011, the NDY Charitable Trust has donated over $90,000 to communities affected by natural disasters through DAA. These include::

  • 2015 – Nepal Earthquake
  • 2016 – Cyclone Winston in Fiji
  • 2016 – Ecuador Earthquake
  • 2018 – Indonesian Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami
  • 2021 – Typhoon In-fa – Philippines