Why We Exist

The Alchemist Foundation was established by a group of friends who were inspired by a novel by Brazilian-born author Paulo Coelho first published in the year 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it has been translated into over 50 languages. The Alchemist is a novel rich in symbolism and metaphors, and follows a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago in his journey from Spain through north Africa to Egypt, as he searches for the meaning of life.

What We Do

Incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1987, The Alchemist Foundation was set up as an Association to “remedy and alleviate the impact on disadvantage and suffering by:

  • connecting communities and community groups for mutual benefit;
  • implementing measurable grass roots projects and programs;
  • facilitating community development and community capacity building;
  • supporting other organisations and projects that mirror the objects of the Association.”

Our Name

The Alchemist Foundation’s name, ethics, values, and goals are all interrelated with the messages of Paulo Coelho’s international best seller. The journey of a person and their search for a role in society is precisely the area that the Alchemist Foundation is focused. It is a tale about following a dream, and the Foundation wishes all people that prospect through a myriad of opportunities and learning experiences.

The art of alchemy was handed down through the centuries from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Italy, and finally to western and central Europe. Simplified, the aims of the alchemists were threefold: to find the Stone of Knowledge (The Philosopher’s Stone); to discover the medium of Eternal Youth and Health; and to discover the transmutation of metals. To the medieval alchemist the different elements were the same original substance in varying degrees of purity. Gold was the purest of all and silver followed closely.

The Foundation’s aims are metaphorically similar: to find and share knowledge between individuals and communities (The Philosopher’s Stone); to create sustainable communities (eternal youth and health); to provide opportunities that develop people (the transmutation of metals).

Our Board

Shane Fisher (President)

Shane Fisher is CEO of Trendi Solutions Pty Ltd, an enterprise software development and management consulting business and has held management roles in local, national and international companies. Prior to co-founding the Alchemist Foundation, Shane founded edventures wa, a severe at-risk youth service provider, and developed Curtin Volunteers! to become Australia’s largest and most active student-based volunteer organisation.

Dr Helen Jones GAICD (Vice President)

Helen Jones is a consultant in Occupational Health and Safety, who has been involved in the NFP sector for many years having served on the Boards of the RSPCA, Delta Society Australia, the Australian Veterinary Association and the Rotary Club of Canning Bridge. She is a Director of Service Abroad Australasia and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Dr Ian Fairnie (Secretary)

Ian Fairnie created Curtin Volunteers! in 2004. He has been involved in the NFP sector serving on the Boards of Foodbank WA, Volunteering WA, edventures WA Inc., the Agribusiness Alumni Association and the Rotary Club of Perth. Ian is a Director of Service Abroad Australasia and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Jarrad Brown GAICD CitWA (Treasurer)

Jarrad Brown is a specialist financial advisor to international professionals living in Singapore. Jarrad has served on the Board of the John Curtin Leadership Academy, the Agribusiness Alumni Association and the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley. He is a Director of Service Abroad Australasia and Wealthy Appetite Pte Ltd. Jarrad was recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2010 and WA Young Citizen of the Year in 2011.

Mark Fitzpatrick (Board Member)

Mark Fitzpatrick is the Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Western Australia. Mark has been involved in a number of areas including mental health services, affordable housing and delivery of regional services in Western Australia. Mark is the President of edventures WA Inc and a Board member of the Western Australian Council for Social Services.

Alicia Curtis (Board Member)

Alicia Curtis is a leadership consultant and facilitator specialising in youth and young professional leadership programs that engage young leaders in the community. She has served on community Boards including Millennium Kids (of which she is a co-founder) and BPW Australia (Business and Professional Women). Alicia holds a Masters in Business Leadership and was recently awarded the International Prize for Excellent Professional Performance by the International Business and Professional Women’s Association. Alicia is spearheading 100 Women, WA’s first large scale women’s giving circle.