ORIGINS AND BACKGROUND
The MOSS Foundation was founded in 2007 as a way for MOSS (Melbourne Old School Skate sessions) to spend charity earnings raised at the early MOSS Jam bowl riding competitions.
The story of the MOSS / Swaziland fresh water plan is a circuitous one, and in many ways, was down to a mixture of fate and chance.
MOSS’ semi - official leader, Robert “ Wedge” Francis, had conducted his own research into worthy charities and in particular those where the funds could be spent most effectively.
Through some tenuous connections, Wedge was put in contact with Bruce Jameson, a Swazi local and long time volunteer, who was already heavily involved in providing critical infrastructure to remote Swazi villages.
Swaziland is a land locked country in Southern Africa bordered on 3 sides by South Africa and the last by Mozambique. The Swazi population faces a variety of health and economic problems including HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and high unemployment. The average life expectancy in Swaziland is only 50 years.
Early charity studies included the possibility of collecting obsolete computer equipment to ship to Swaziland, but compatibility and other issues, including freight costs, documentation and customs clearance were major stumbling blocks.
After questioning Bruce and others about the most effective way to impact lives in Swaziland, the answer became fairly obvious. Supplying clean drinking water to outlying villages would dramatically improve health and general sanitation, and do away with the need for school age children to travel back and forth to distant wells and other questionable water sources.
A reliable, clean water source would save lives.
But better still, could be supplied and installed for the cost of the tanks and plumbing hardware only.
With Bruce’s management help on the ground, local villagers are employed to dig all piping trenches and the various other labour tasks required.
Since every dollar raised by the MOSS Foundation goes directly to the needy villages, there is no value lost in management or other costs. Bruce supplies us with fully costed project options and a small MOSS team selects those that are best suited to our budget and funds available.
Bruce supplies us with progress images which are used to raise awareness of the work we’re funding at the several skate related events we run annually.
Whilst there are still some within our own group that are a little puzzled about the connection between Old School Skateboarding and fresh water in Southern Africa, the response has been universally positive, especially when they realise that every dollar donated is delivered direct to some of the neediest people on the planet.
MOSS FOUNDATION AIMS
Whilst staying true to our original brief of running a truly “direct funding” charity that provides fresh water and educational opportunities in Swaziland, we definitely intend to grow and eventually widen our scope. The MOSS Foundation is already working with a group of RMIT academic advisors to identify possible new fund raising and promotional avenues for future MOSS Charity events.
To achieve the type of exponential growth we’re aiming for, we will need to find one or more compatible corporate sponsors. Finding like – minded sponsors / partners is our next big goal, and we are actively preparing for this sponsor drive now.
MOSS Corporate sponsors would need to either supply us with fund raising materials at no cost, or provide assistance and / or funding to promote and manage future large scale MOSS skate events.
MOSS FOUNDATION FUND RAISING EVENTS
MOSS Old School Skaters are continually active, raising funds for Swaziland at a number of small scale skate events throughout the year, selling MOSS tee shirts and merchandise and sausage sizzles, etc.
Our annual highlight events, however, coincide with Australia’s biggest bowl riding events held in Sydney ( Vans / Bondi Bowlarama – February) , Newcastle CAOSS Jam (August) and Melbourne’s MOSS Jam (in late October).
Funds are raised in a variety of ways – entry fees, merchandising, food and drink sales and donations. Our major income is derived from auctioning iconic skate photography and artworks, donated by the artists/ photographers themselves, and then co-signed by the pro skaters pictured in the framed poster blow-ups.