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Amy Gillett Foundation to cease operations

After almost 20 years of advocacy, the AGF board has "made the difficult decision to wind up the Foundation."

Screenshot: Amy Gillett Foundation Safe Cycling campaign

The Amy Gillett Foundation – one of Australia’s largest cycling safety advocacy organisations – will be wound up, according to a letter provided to stakeholders and viewed by Escape Collective.

Amy Gillett Foundation chair Lisa Jacobs wrote that it is “with considerable sadness that the board of the Amy Gillett Foundation had made the difficult decision to wind up the Foundation after nearly 20 years of operation.”

The Amy Gillett Foundation was established in 2006 following the death of Gillett a year earlier, who was struck by a driver while training with the Australian Women’s Cycling Team in Germany. 

Over the years since that tragic event, the Amy Gillett Foundation worked to raise awareness of risks to cyclists, with a vision of zero cyclist fatalities. The organisation was arguably most prominent through its ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign aimed at mandating a safe passing distance for cyclists on the roads. The AGF was also involved in the events space via the Amy’s Gran Fondo event held in Lorne, Victoria, as well as the Amy’s Share the Road Tour. The 2024 edition of Amy’s Gran Fondo “will proceed as planned”, according to the external events company that delivers it on behalf of the AGF.

The passage of safe passing legislation in Victoria in 2021 completed the list of states and territories with the ‘A Metre Matters’ law, with the AGF continuing to lobby since for improvements in cycling road conditions, including by the federally-funded Safe Cycling program. 

Per Jacobs’ letter, “the board has concluded that ongoing operation of the Foundation is no longer sustainable in the absence of new Federal Government funding.” A liquidator has been appointed to wind up the affairs of the charity “in an orderly and fair manner.”

The cessation of the Amy Gillett Foundation highlights the challenges in securing funding for organisations across the advocacy space in Australia. The event space has been increasingly challenging, reducing one funding stream, while funding from state and federal governments for advocacy initiatives has been a fragile resource. Another large advocacy organisation, Bicycle Network – also based in Victoria – recently turned to crowdfunding to secure the future of its Ride2School program following “successive funding cuts” putting that program at threat. 

As for Amy Gillett Foundation, Jacobs notes that “the urgent need to improve cyclist safety continues. Despite the advances that have been made in road safety, design, infrastructure and driver and cyclist behaviour, the goal of zero cycling fatalities is yet to be achieved.”

The Amy Gillett Foundation has been approached for comment and details of numbers of staff impacted, but did not immediately respond. Escape Collective offers condolences to those affected, and gratitude to those in the often-thankless advocacy space.

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