This is very special edition of Yakety Yak, featuring the man who many call “the grandfather of social enterprise” in Australia – Steve Lawrence.
Some of Steve’s background and achievements are summarised in the usual Yakety Yak introduction below.
This Yakety Yak is special because Steve was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2007, and after years of treatment, Steve’s doctors told him that his time was short.
At the suggestion of one of Steve’s close friends, we asked Steve whether he’d like to participate in an interview to capture and share some of his life’s stories and learnings, and Steve very graciously agreed. Filmed with some close colleagues and families in attendance, this video is the result.
Steve passed on the 22nd of May. In the words of his wife, Prue, Steve’s final hours were ‘truly beautiful’.
Some of Steve’s friends also recently launched the Steve Lawrence Social Innovation Sub-Fund to further develop a number of initiatives Steve has been working on in recent years. If you’re someone who Steve’s helped or influenced over his decades of service to social outcomes, or just someone inspired by this video, please consider contributing.
You can read more about the fund here or jump straight to the Australian Communities Foundation website and contribute here. (Enter the name of the sub-fund you wish to donate to and the amount you wish to donate without the dollar sign.)
If you would like to leave a comment – please visit our blog page here.
In the meantime, please enjoy the video. I hope you find Steve’s story as inspiring as I do.
CEO, the Centre for Social Impact.
About Steve Lawrence
Steve Lawrence AO dedicated his working life to driving social innovation and finding solutions for social disadvantage. Steve took time to impart the learning from his wealth of experience in a special Yakety Yak event held on May 10, 2012, in Sydney. Steve was interviewed by Peter Thompson.
Steve Lawrence was the Chief Executive Officer at Australia Social Innovation eXchange (ASIX). Prior to his role at ASIX, Steve was the Founding CEO of WorkVentures for 29 years.
Over the last 30 years Steve was part of creating over 13 new not-for-profit organisations including JOB futures, United Way Sydney, Jobs Australia and Social Ventures Australia.
Steve lectured regularly on social enterprise, local economic development and not-for-profit management and he is the co-author of ‘Nonprofits in Business’ (1995). In 2004 Steve received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award for Social Enterprise for NSW & ACT.
In 2005 WorkVentures and Microsoft won the Prime Ministers Community Business Partnership Longevity Award for their 20 year collaboration to bring technology resources and skills to disadvantaged Australians.
Steve was Chair of Bonnyrigg Management Pty Ltd and Newleaf Community Renewal; companies created to manage the social renewal and development integration of the Bonnyrigg public housing community in SW Sydney.
Steve was a Founding Partner of the Australian School for Social Entrepreneurs.
In January 2010, Steve was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for ‘service to the community through leadership roles in the development and implementation of non-profit ventures to create social change particularly for youth and the long-term unemployed’.