Volunteering Victoria proudly celebrated the 2023 Volunteering Awards held at Government House on Tuesday 27 February 2024.

The Victorian Volunteering Awards formally recognise, celebrate and thank volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations for their extraordinary and selfless contributions to Victorian people, communities, culture and environment. Showcasing excellence by individuals, teams and organisations throughout 2023, the Awards are run by Volunteering Victoria with the support of the Victorian State Government.

“Every one of our award recipients demonstrate the generosity and selflessness that shines in so many volunteers in Victoria.

We honour these individuals for their outstanding contributions, but also celebrate them as just a small representation of millions of volunteers who serve their communities every day.”
– Geoff Sharp, Chief Executive of Volunteering Victoria

Eight categories were awarded:

  • Inclusive Volunteering Award
  • Volunteering Innovation Award
  • Volunteering Partnerships Award
  • Grassroots Volunteering Award
  • Young Volunteer Award
  • Volunteer Impact Award
  • Volunteer Leadership Award
  • Volunteer Commitment Award

One winner was named the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, receiving the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award and a $10,000 donation to a not-for-profit organisation of their choice.

For the first time, one winner was also named the Premier’s Organisation of the Year, receiving the Volunteering Excellence Award.

View Winners' Showcase
View media releaseView Awards Program

Winners’ Stories

Premier's Volunteer of the Year

Caitlin Grigsby

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award

Caitlin is the President of Gippsland Pride Initiative (GPI), a volunteer-led organisation working to provide visibility, engagement, awareness and celebration to the LGBTQIA+ community. Under Caitlin’s stewardship, Gippsland now has a thriving LGBTQIA+ organisation linking vulnerable people across the region to essential information, services and support.

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As a leader, Caitlin uses her strengths and connections to work with local government and corporates to ensure that matters of inclusion are not just seen as community issues. Whether it be in a corporate boardroom, a national conference, or a trestle at a local festival, she has an ability to provide simple solutions to what may seem complex problems, whilst making everyone feel heard and validated.

Caitlin’s tenacity is unsurpassed, and her hard fought and high impact wins have only been delivered because of this persistence. As President of the Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby, Caitlin organised the inaugural Pride Cup Roller Derby and Pride Gala, now one of the most well-known and well attended queer events in the Victorian queer calendar.

Caitlin also co-authored and coordinated the ‘Rainbow Brick Road Report’ which captures data from LGBTIQ Gippslanders to help inform decision-makers and inform GPI’s recommendations.

Premier's Organisation of the Year

Woor-Dungin Inc

Volunteering Excellence Award

Woor-Dungin Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation powered by volunteers, walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples toward self-determination. Meaning ‘share’ in the language of the Gunnai people of south-eastern Victoria, Woor-Dungin prides itself on fostering long-term relationships with communities.

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Their unique model focuses on facilitating culturally respectful connections with donors and pro bono supporters and nurturing the growth of vital networks and skills. Through this collaborative approach, Woor-Dungin empowers individuals and communities to achieve collective milestones far beyond what they could on their own.

The impact of Woor-Dungin’s endeavours is profound and far-reaching. Their initiatives have unlocked new funding avenues for partners, propelled communities forward, and even catalysed legislative reforms. Notably, Woor-Dungin’s pivotal role in driving social and legislative change is exemplified by its instrumental involvement in the establishment of Victoria’s Spent Convictions Scheme in 2021, through their work on the Criminal Records Discrimination Program.

Central to these achievements is the unwavering dedication of its volunteer workforce, contributing an invaluable 2,000 hours annually to the organisation’s mission. The passion and commitment of Woor-Dungin’s core team of five volunteers has not only ensured the organisation’s resilience, but also revitalised its award-winning Aboriginal Partnerships Program.

Category winners

Inclusive Volunteering Award

Wellsprings For Women

Wellsprings for Women provides safe, welcoming places and services that enable women to thrive.

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Its programs focus on building skills and capacity for migrant and refugee women, improving social, economic and emotional wellbeing through education, family violence prevention, and housing and employment support. The diversity of Wellsprings’ participants provides a richness of experience, but also the need for highly tailored grassroots solutions, grounded in culturally responsive lived experience. Wellsprings prides itself on its co-design processes with migrant and refugee women.

Volunteering Innovation Award

Association for Children with a Disability

ACD is the Victorian advocacy service for children with disability (from birth to 18 years) and their families.

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Recognising the influence of peer support in disability communities, ACD established its Community Champions volunteer program in 2021. Volunteers are parents of children with a range of disabilities across Victoria. Volunteers share ACD’s free information and resources with families of children with disability in their communities, share their personal experiences, and assist with ACD’s advocacy work.

Volunteering Partnerships Award

Woor-Dungin Inc

Woor-Dungin is a not-for-profit organisation walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples toward self-determination.

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Woor-Dungin was established to support Victorian Aboriginal organisations in obtaining resources to advance important community projects. Its unique model involves consulting with Aboriginal partners about their needs and facilitating enduring partnerships between philanthropic bodies, pro-bono corporations and Aboriginal community-controlled organisations. Woor-Dungin’s major achievements in driving social and legislative change have been enabled by its skilled and committed volunteer workforce, who contribute over 2,000 hours per year.

Grassroots Volunteering Award


ParKanDo is a peer support organisation, driven by four dedicated volunteers with personal experience of Parkinson’s: Carmel, Mimi, Pam, and Peter.

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Tailored according to member preferences and through partnership with external providers, ParKanDo delivers diverse initiatives, offering emotional and social support, education, and shared information to individuals with Parkinson’s, their families, and caregivers. Established just three years ago, the committee’s commitment and dedication has seen the organisation become one of the largest of its type within Victoria.

Young Volunteer Award

Benjy Orwin

Benjy is a 14 year old Grade 9 student, who at 8 years of age started his own charity – Socks 4 Support – to help those living on the streets keep warm.

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Through Benjy’s dedication, the charity has grown significantly and now donates socks to people affected by varying forms of abuse, poverty, and natural disasters worldwide. Benjy has donated over 44,000 pairs of socks in the past 6 years, using this platform to encourage other young adults to stand up and make a difference.

Volunteer Impact Award

Jean Bohmer

With over 70 years of dedicated volunteer service, Jean has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to supporting her community.

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She has made significant contributions across diverse areas and organisations such as Lifeline, St John Ambulance, and Radio for the Print Handicapped. For the past 24 years, she has volunteered with Melbourne City Mission in the Palliative Care area, supporting carers with home and hospital visits. As part of the Bereavement team, Jean finds profound meaning and purpose in being trusted with compelling end of life stories.

Volunteer Leadership Award

Caitlin Grigsby

Caitlin has been a passionate community leader for over half her life, co-founding Gippsland Pride Initiative (GPI); a volunteer-led LGBTQIA+ organisation. 

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As President of Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby, she pioneered the first Australian Roller Derby ‘Pride Cup’ and the Gippsland Pride Gala, now a premier queer event in the Victorian calendar. Since its incorporation in 2019, GPI has produced valuable LGBTQIA+ insights through the ‘Rainbow Brick Road’ Project and Report, hosted multiple sell-out Pride Galas, and orchestrated 150+ community activations across 6 regions.

Volunteer Commitment Award

Tony Davis

A dedicated figure in the sporting community, Tony’s commitment to volunteering spans over five decades, including as a founding member of Kyneton Little Athletics.

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He has been a steadfast volunteer every Saturday morning for 53 years, holding roles such as Secretary, starter, line marker, and representative at regional and state conferences. His humble and kind demeanour, coupled with unwavering dedication, has played a pivotal role in fostering the growth and success of Kyneton Little Athletics, where he continues to make a lasting impact at the age of 83.