“Connecting with a purpose” means establishing meaningful relationships or interactions with others that serve a specific goal or intention.

Connect for Purpose delivers a platform to foster those relationships, enabling positive change in the community.

Our Mission

Our mission is to build a community, where people working in not-for-profit, purpose-driven and corporate organisations can come together and learn from each other. This community can provide support and resources, working together to achieve shared objectives for society.

Who We Are

Team Connect is a group of community minded individuals, from a variety of sectors and industries, whose collective vision is to create a purpose-driven community with our regular breakfast events.   

With the spirit of collaboration at our core, we bring a diverse range of skills and experience to Connect for Purpose.

Meet the team below!

Donna George

Donna George is an outstanding community builder and fundraiser, who was at the first ever coffee meet for NFP Connect in 2013. She has been an avid and active supporter ever since, working to build the interwoven network that is the basis of Connect for Purpose today. Donna is currently Community Relations Coordinator for Jenny's Place Homelessness and Domestic Violence Service since 2020. She began her community-building and fundraising work at Newcastle Camp Quality where she stayed for 15 years and developed many local events including the annual 1,000 ks 4 Kids and MotoCyc Rides, after working in the legal field for 25 years. She has 'walked her talk' by trekking thousands of miles to raise millions of dollars over the years, accomplishing challenges including the Kokoda Track, Sandakan Track Death March in Borneo, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Larapinta Trail. Recently she walked across the Simpson Desert making Jenny’s Place the first Charity to cross the Simpson on foot.

Kim Britton

Kim Britton is a local writer and communicator, with 20 years' experience in the not-for-profit sector. Kim joined Grace’s original coffee group in 2011 and is a staunch advocate for the mission of Connect for Purpose. She most recently worked as Community Relations Coordinator for Jenny’s Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Support service. Sharing this role with good friend and experienced fundraiser Donna George, Kim helped to establish a community relations and fundraising program for Jenny’s Place. She retired in 2022. Prior to that Kim was Partnerships and Public Relations Coordinator for the Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre at the University of Newcastle.

Nikki Wright

Nikki is Director and Strategist at Conscious Brand consultancy Mezzanine, and has been volunteering with NFP Connect (now Connect For Purpose) since 2020. For the past 18 years she's worked with purpose-driven companies, social enterprises and not-for-profits, helping them realise their full potential through transformational strategy and positive organisational identity. A passion for helping organisations do more good in the world and empowering people to live their values at work has led her to work and partner with many great organisations like Jenny's Place, CanTeen, The Salvation Army, Compassion Australia, Thankyou, Common Cause Australia and many others. Nikki is also a Board Director at Prelude Australia, who deliver connected, capacity-building early childhood and therapy supports.

Michelle Faithfull

With over 40 years’ experience in operations, events, project management and business development across multiple sectors including shipping, legal, police, fire & emergency services and community services, Michelle also has a long history of giving back to the community. Volunteering, fundraising and coordinating events for multiple local charities over the past 15 years, earned her the title of Newcastle Citizen of the Year in 2020. Her community work and events experience has seen her partnerships role with Home in Place expand over the past 8 years, connecting businesses with charitable causes with a focus on supporting people experiencing homelessness, and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Outside of her day job, Michelle travels the world as a fundraising trek leader with Inspired Adventures and is also a marriage celebrant. Bringing people together for common causes is her passion and purpose in life.

Susie Leask

Suzie is the Newcastle Office Partner in Charge at Hall & Wilcox, a leading independent Australian law firm with over 130 partners and 1000+ staff nationally. Suzie leads the Corporate and Commercial practice in Newcastle working with businesses and organisations across Australia. She specialises in corporate governance & commercial advisory and is an experienced director and company secretary, with particular expertise advising the not-for-profit, charity and community sector. Suzie holds a number of not-for-profit board roles and is passionate about giving back to the local community.

Megan Smith

Megan is a Chartered Accountant and Director of Business Services and Taxation at Prosperity Advisers with over 25 years’ experience. Megan regularly delivers holistic services to her not-for profit clients which includes strategic advice, salary packaging and novated leasing, taxation advice, outsourced bookkeeping and payroll services, and assurance and audit services. With a strong commitment to community, Megan’s contribution to the not-for-profit sector is further demonstrated through her Directorships with Equi Energy Youth (a youth mental health charity who’s mission is to save young lives) and the Stronger Together Foundation (a charity supporting people living with spinal injuries) as well as through her involvement in organising the International Women’s Day event at Newcastle Racecourse which has raised over $150,000 for charity partners over the last 5 years.

Viv Allanson

Viv Allanson is a CEO who never accepts the status Quo, in fact for 3 years running she was announced as the Australian – Game Changer of the Year and Visionary CEO of the year in her role as CEO of Maroba. Viv is a leader who strives to bring others on the journey of growth and change always sharing generously her time and experience to support all who aspire to be a “Difference Maker”. In 2023 Viv was awarded the Order of Australian Medal for her services to Aged Care. Viv has created a positive teaching Aged Care facility over 29 years which continues to provide exciting career opportunities for the young and more mature students and employees. Viv is best known for her thought leadership and candid unscripted yet powerful commentary across many Media platforms and forums on a wide range of topics.

Marisa Wilson

Marisa moved into the for-purpose sector after an extensive career in the for-profit sector in sales and marketing. With a passion for community and a love of the diversity of the sector, Marisa has worked with local charities in business development roles. Believing in people power to make great things happen, she has been a long term supporter over Connect for Purpose’s journey and sees the ability it has to drive collaborations and connections.

Our Story

Connect for Purpose was created in 2023 as successor to the well-supported NFP Connect, founded by local identity Grace McLean.

Grace handed over the reins of her popular NFP Connect breakfast series to a team of trusted colleagues in 2022. Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for more than ten years, Grace identified a need for those in the sector to support and learn from each other. In 2011, she established a monthly coffee group offering that support and connection, which ultimately grew to become NFP Connect.

Her vision was to create a platform where businesses and the community could connect with local charities for more meaningful partnerships. This was facilitated through monthly breakfast events, a website directory of businesses and charities and the distribution of a personal planner, specifically designed for those in the not-for-profit space.

After 10 years of guiding NFP Connect, Grace used the COVID downtime to consider a new path in life. After many discussions with the team of people who had been supporting her through the growth of NFP Connect over the years, she decided it was time to entrust us with the next chapter.

In 2022, a new committee took over the breakfast series and formed an incorporated association. The breakfasts continue to be supported by Beyond Bank and are held at Soul Hub in Newcastle.

In late 2023, NFP Connect became ‘Connect for Purpose’ and this is where our story begins.