Many people may not know that Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organisation, An organisation with an aspirational vision to help every mind thrive. We exist to try and make a difference to the rates of mental illness we’re seeing across all our communities - with children and young people at the centre of that vision and prevention our focus.
This vision started 7 years ago with a big idea, a grand ambition, and a lot of heart – led by our two founders, Jane Martino and James Tutton. These two pioneered an approach to make mindfulness accessible to all – through the Smiling Mind app, now sitting in the back pocket of more than 4.2 million people.
Looking back there were a number of key supporters that shared this vision, and the courage to back something new, something never done before. Without their support none of what we have achieved would have been possible. The story of these philanthropists often go unspoken but their quiet support does not go unnoticed.
This week one of those early supporters passed away, aged 94.
Today, we would like to acknowledge and reflect on the impact his support has had.
A note from our co-founder, James Tutton...
“Geoff Handbury AO had faith in us - he supported us when we needed it most. He supported us when we were young and in need of a helping hand.
This week Geoff passed away. We are eternally grateful for his generosity and wisdom.
After seven years Smiling Mind seems like it was based on a sound idea, an inevitable success. After all, why wouldn’t it work?
Time has a way of making past successes seem this way. The reality is very different.
When we had an idea, to teach young people mindfulness meditation as a preventative mental health tool, most people baulked at us.
We needed funding, we needed people to believe in us. So many of those we approached felt our idea was doomed to fail. An unsound idea from two entrepreneurs who knew nothing about mental health.
There were a handful of friends, families, work colleagues and like minded souls who had faith in us and our idea. Geoff Handbury was one such person.
We sat down together at his house in Western Victoria. We spoke of childhood, of parenting, of country life, of love and life challenges. We spoke of his experiences. We took our time and he listened.
He was a believer and he made a commitment to provide his support to us. This was at a juncture in our history when we were small, unknown and ultimately vulnerable as a start up.
The world benefits greatly from people like Geoff. With success comes responsibility. If people are able to help they should. For us, and many others, he exemplified this world view.”
To learn more about the generosity and vision of Geoff Handbury, AO click here.