Local Canberra couple, Richard and Debbie Rolfe have both been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Awards with each receiving the Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Well known in the community for working with charitable groups for many years, Debbie Rolfe is Chair of the Canberra Hospital Foundation, Ambassador for the Early Morning Centre in Braddon, as well as being a strong supporter of Home in Queanbeyan. This has been achieved while playing a significant full-time role as a Partner at Maliganis Edwards Johnson a major local law firm.
Richard Rolfe has been elevated from the OAM that was awarded in 2009 to AM, and is Patron of the Heart Foundation (ACT), Vice-Patron of the Cross of Valour Association, Board Member of the National Australia Day Council and a major supporter of Lifeline and Soldier On. Richard is also a founding member of the Audi Foundation, and these roles are all while he works full-time as Dealer Principal of Audi Centre Canberra.
Together the Rolfe’s have focused on physical and mental health, but they also provide enormous support to the Canberra Capitals, Canberra Raiders and Canberra Cavalry, and a number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as making significant contributions to the public collections of the Australian War Memorial and the Royal Australian Mint.
When asked about the award, Debbie responded that it was very pleasing to be honoured for their work both individually and jointly, but vowed that such recognition would only ensure that they continue to support the Canberra community for many years to come.
Debbie was cognisant that their three sons and Richard had all been born in Canberra, and that Canberra is well known for having a very generous and caring community spirit.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to support a number of causes, and without doubt we have received far more in return as a result.”
Richard stated that although it was wonderful to be personally acknowledged, much of the support generated that had been attributed to Richard, had been with the knowledge and full support of Audi Australia, who had encouraged the dealership to engage with the Canberra community. In 2016 the Audi Foundation was established, which is funded by the entire Audi Dealer Network and Audi Australia, and is designed to assist not for profit organisations on a national scale, that in many ways reflects what has been achieved in Canberra over the past decade.
“Although I had no concept of where the philanthropic support from Audi Centre Canberra would develop to when Debbie and I took over the Audi franchise in the mid 1990’s, the fact that it has played a role in the decision to establish the Audi Foundation, is proof that no-one should ever question how they individually can make a difference. Opportunities will arise over time, and I have no doubt that the legacy of this new foundation will be very significant. I am indebted to the Head of the Audi Foundation, Tom Keenan, and Audi Australia Managing Director, Paul Sansom, as they both share our vision of supporting those in our community who are most vulnerable.”
“It is very easy to support great organisations who have fantastic and dedicated leaders. Dr Brendan Nelson as Director of the Australian War Memorial, Tony Stubbs as CEO of the Heart Foundation, and Carrie Leeson as CEO of Lifeline are the perfect examples of leaders who are driven to perform at their very best at all times, and it has been an absolute pleasure to play a role in supporting the organisations that they oversee.”
“Debbie and I hope that our legacy will be the support that we have provided, and will continue to provide, to a wide range of charities, public institutions, and sporting teams, while encouraging these diverse organisations to network together and share examples of best practice. Equally, we have tried to raise three sons, now young men, who share our passion for Canberra, and who will continue to support those in need. “