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Juvenile Arthritis Foundation Australia talks about winning Emerging NFP at Third Sector Awards 2021

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Juvenile arthritis

Juvenile arthritis is a serious, painful, incurable and debilitating autoimmune disease with the potential to result in joint deformities and loss of vision if not diagnosed early and treated effectively. It is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases affecting more than 6,000 children in Australia.

There are many thousands of people in Australia whose arthritis started as juvenile arthritis and extended into adulthood. About one-third of these people have a severe disability.

The Juvenile Arthritis Foundation Australia (JAFA) is the primary organisation representing children with juvenile arthritis and their families in Australia. JAFA’s primary aims are to raise awareness of juvenile arthritis among politicians and government, the education sector, the broader community and potential funders, Lobby governments to provide optimal and accessible health care and support for children and adolescents with juvenile arthritis, and Influence and partner with funders to invest in research into the causes, treatment, care and possible cure for juvenile arthritis.

JAFA was named Emerging Not-for-Profit of the Year in the 2021 Third Sector Awards. Third sector news talked to the founder Ruth Colagiuri AM about how JAFA survived these unprecedented times and their tools for success.

What was your driving force to continue making a positive impact despite the difficult times?

The thought of children in physical pain and the emotional pain of being shut out of a normal childhood, and the knowledge that some children are being consigned to a lifetime of disability that could have been prevented.

What tools helped you achieve your success? Please send us a list, if possible.

  • Having a clear and unwavering purpose
  • Having a Board of highly reputable Directors and pro bono legal and financial advisors
  • Studying and emulating and established, super-effective and successful children’s health NFP
  • Collaborating with allies and influencers (eg relevant health professional groups, individual politicians)
  • Engaging, equipping, and supporting parents to use their political voice.

What can you say about winning the Third Sector Awards 2021?

Being a winner in the Emerging NFP of the year has reassured us that JAFA’s strategy and approach are pointed in the right direction. It has also served to boost our credibility and therefore our confidence in JAFA’s fundraising and political advocacy.

Ruth also said, “I’m so proud of what has been achieved by our amazing community and this Third Sector Award is welcome recognition of some very hard work by families, supportive healthcare professionals and parliamentarians. Almost all of us are involved because we have a family member affected by this disease and know first had its devastating impact.”

The much-awaited Third Sector Awards is back this year to honour Australia’s finest charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises. Send in your nominations until June 24, 2022!


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