The AFL is pleased to announce the four finalists for the 2021 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award: Travis Boak (Port Adelaide Football Club), Georgie Rankin (Geelong Cats Football Club), Jordan Roughead (Collingwood Football Club) and Nicola Stevens (Carlton Football Club).
Season 2021 marks the tenth occasion the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award will be presented to an AFL or AFLW player who has best demonstrated the values of the late former Melbourne Football Club President and player Jim Stynes in their commitment to the community, helping others and making a difference and the way they played and represented the game on field.
Travis Boak understands the hardship and impact cancer can have on a family. Losing his father Roger to cancer in 2005, Travis has dedicated his time as an Ambassador for the Childhood Cancer Association to support individuals and their families affected by cancer for the last 11 years.
The 300-game star provides hands-on volunteering, attending fortnightly visits to the Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology to spend time with the children as a welcome distraction from the challenges they face.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis has continued to have a significant influence as a volunteer, connecting with children and families virtually, while he has also been a key driver in the organisation's fundraising efforts, raising over $22,000 this year.
Through Travis' leadership, he has also initiated a charity partnership between the Childhood Cancer Association and the Port Adelaide Football Club which provides an opportunity to raise the profile of the organisation and allow for sustainable fundraising efforts to help provide services for individuals and families.
Georgie Rankin is passionate about creating positive environments for people to thrive in. The 23-year-old dedicates her time across a number of Geelong Cats initiatives, particularly in the inclusion and multicultural space.
Georgie is the Cats' AFLW face of the Sensory Zone at GMHBA Stadium for people with sensory needs and disabilities and has been an active participant at the Cats' annual All-Abilities Clinic helping young people with a disability enjoy football.
Georgie has also built strong links with Geelong's multicultural community, having been involved in the Welcome to Geelong event that engages with people from multicultural backgrounds and was the Club's representative at an Iftar Dinner during Ramadan.
In addition, Georgie has been involved in a number of other community programs including the Cats' GMHBA Healthy Heroes Grade 3/4 program, Grade 5/6 School Leadership Day, is a Next Generation coach and was part of the working committee to design Geelong's inaugural AFLW Pride guernsey.
Jordan Roughead is a powerful advocate and leader within the community across four key focus areas including the LGBTIQA+ community, climate action, youth homelessness and women's sports.
Jordan has been an ambassador for Stand-Up Events to help educate young people on the impacts of homophobia and has also participated in a world-first research project with Monash University into homophobia in sports clubs.
Jordan has actively been involved in generating awareness of climate change through his involvement in the environmental organisation Frontrunners, Australian Conservation Foundation and as an ambassador for the Sporting Environmental Alliance.
A fair and valuable contributor on the field, Jordan has been a long-time supporter, ambassador, mentor, board member with Ladder, working to support young people who experience homelessness and social isolation and disadvantage.
In addition, Jordan has been a leader in promoting gender equality through his role as an assistant coach in the club's AFLW Program, empowering the next generation of female athletes to participate and enjoy Australian Football.
Nicola Stevens understands the impact dementia can have on families and individuals. Caring for her mother who lives with younger onset dementia, Nicola has been tireless in her efforts to raise awareness of the disease and reduce social isolation amongst carers through her role as an ambassador for Dementia Australia.
With dementia being the second leading cause of death in Australia and the number one cause of death in females, Nicola has used her platform to assist the work of Dementia Australia to raise awareness and understanding of dementia within the community.
Over the past five years, Nicola has supported several dementia awareness and fundraising events, including Dementia Australia's National Roadshow, the annual Memory Walk & Jog event and was also featured in a series of videos called ‘Teen Talk' which aims to support children impacted with dementia in their family.
In addition, Nicola has been vocal in her support for families of people living with dementia within the media and has been pivotal when recruiting numerous volunteers and participants to raise money for the cause.
The 2021 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award will be presented as part of the broadcast of the 2021 Brownlow Medal on Sunday September 19.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said it was pleasing to continue to honour Jim Stynes's legacy almost a decade on.
"Football delivers us some of our greatest role models and over the last 10 seasons the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award has showcased the impact our game can have in the community," Mr McLachlan said.
"It is wonderful to acknowledge these four outstanding players and their contributions in 2021 and learn of their stories and celebrate their impact away from the football field."
Past winners include Richmond's Bachar Houli (2020), GWS GIANTS' Stephen Coniglio (2019), Melbourne's Neville Jetta (2018), Port Adelaide's Jack Hombsch (2017), Geelong's Jimmy Bartel (2016), Carlton's Dennis Armfield (2015), West Coast Eagles' Beau Waters (2014), Gold Coast Suns' Zac Smith (2013) and Richmond's Daniel Jackson (2012).
Nominations for the award are formed from AFL Clubs and the AFL Players Association before the judging panel selected the final four finalists.
Proudly supported by Telstra, the AFL and the Jim Stynes Foundation, the winner will receive $40,000 to be donated to the charity or community program of their choice.
About the Jim Stynes Foundation
The Jim Stynes Foundation (JSF) perpetuates the work of the late Jim Stynes. Like Jim, the Foundation supports disadvantaged youth through his passion for sport, his allies and his charitable inceptions.
Public in nature, the Jim Stynes Foundation is a Public Ancillary Fund (PuAF) that distributes funds to worthy and specifically chosen registered charities. As a PuAF the public are invited to and can contribute to the Foundation. All contributions are then distributed to registered charities, as determined by the Foundation's board.
The 2021 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award selection panel includes:
- Sam Ludbey-Stynes – Jim Stynes Foundation
- Luke Darcy – Network Seven & Triple M
- Neil Mitchell – 3AW
- Andrew Dillon – AFL Executive General Manager Game Development/ General Counsel
- Sarah Fair – AFL Executive General Manager - People
- Jude Donnelly – AFL, Head of Government Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility
- Brett Murphy – AFL PA Representative
- Jennifer Watt - General Manager, Commercial Operations and Partnerships MCC