I am pleased to advise you of the appointment of Ritchie Hollands as the Executive Director of the Don Dunstan Foundation. Some of you may know Ritchie from his previous role as the Official Secretary to South Australia’s Governor Hieu Van Le.
Ritchie’s career spans 20 years with roles in the executive, judicial and parliamentary arms of Government in both Adelaide and Canberra.
As Executive Director of the DDF Ritchie will draw on his professional experience in government as well as his volunteer roles in the social sector. He is currently the President of the Australian Refugee Association and has for many years served as an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign seeking to eliminate violence against women.
Ritchie has long been an admirer of Don Dunstan’s decisive leadership and courageous vision for South Australia and has told me he is delighted to have the opportunity to promote Don's legacy.
Our role as a Foundation remains the same – to reflect the narrative-changing role played by Don during his lifetime. Our focus remains reflecting Don’s priorities of acknowledging cultural diversity, freedom of individuals to control their lives, the distribution of global wealth, democratic and inclusive forms of governance, respect for fundamental human rights as well as protection of the rights of Indigenous people
We recognise that Don would have embraced the challenges facing our community today, homelessness, aboriginal economic empowerment and the promotion of the ‘for purpose economy’ to achieve greater economic and social equity.
Ritchie will commence the role in September and replaces David Pearson who will finish up at the Foundation during the same month.
My sincere thanks to David for his outstanding contribution to the Foundation including his work on new programs such as the Adelaide Zero Project – aiming to end street homelessness in the inner city and the Thinkers in Residence program – attracting world experts to urgently address local social challenges. The DDF has very much appreciated the high levels of energy, commitment and creativity David has brought to the position of ED during his tenure in the position. Under his leadership significant new programs were embarked upon, while a number of ongoing activities continued their signature social roles such as the Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration.
As Chair of the Board, I have very much enjoyed working with David and we wish him every success in his future endeavours and take this opportunity to thank him for his energetic, unique and innovative contribution to the Foundation.
I am really pleased that Ritchie has agreed to lead the team which has already been strengthened by the appointment of our Deputy Director, Gemma Burdon. Gemma has come to us from RAA and has significant experience in stakeholder engagement, fundraising and organisational leadership. Gemma chose to work for the Foundation because of what we stand for. Her short time with the Foundation has been filled with unexpected challenges and we are grateful for the mature leadership, strength and energy she has demonstrated. I am confident that her experience will be of ongoing benefit to the Foundation.
The DDF has appreciated the ongoing commitment, over many years, of the State Government in providing staff to fill the role of Executive Director of the Foundation. We welcome the appointment of Ritchie Hollands as the next ED in the fulfilment of this continuing relationship between the DDF and the Government of the day which has enabled significant collaboration on advancing social issues of broad social concern.
I am, as always, grateful for the ongoing support of the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. I am appreciative of their strong contributions, both in-kind and financial, and their sophisticated input to our governance.
I would also like to thank the DDF Committee of Management for their strength, commitment, energy and intelligent contributions to the Foundation. Their guidance and thoughtful contributions have been a significant advantage to the Foundation.
If you would like to discuss any of the changes at the DDF, or make suggestions about the Foundation’s future direction, please email Cathie King, Chair of the Committee of Management at
or me (Chair of the Board of Directors) at Don Dunstan Foundation
marked Attn Lynn.
Thanks for your ongoing support, I believe we have much to look forward to in this 20th year for the Foundation.
The Hon. Rev. Dr Lynn Arnold AO
Chair of the Board of Directors