The late Steve Lawrence, the man they called Australia’s ‘grandfather of social enterprise’, first saw the potential of TFN during a visit to the UK in 2011. Steve teamed with Lisa Cotton and together they set up a national steering committee to examine the viability of bringing the TFN concept Down Under. Before Steve died in May 2012, Lisa committed to bring their dream of a flourishing TFN Australia to fruition.
Steve was renowned as a mentor and inspired countless social ventures. He was the founding CEO of WorkVentures for 29 years and the CEO of Australia Social Innovation eXchange (ASIX). He played a leading role in creating at least 13 non-profit organisations including JOB Futures, United Way Sydney, Jobs Australia and Social Ventures Australia. Steve lectured regularly on the social sector and co-wrote ‘Nonprofits in Business’. He won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Social Enterprise in NSW & ACT in 2004. 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’.