Sammy D Foundation could face closure without more funding.

9 September 2015 | Liz Walsh, The Advertiser, SA

Sammy D Foundation set up to reduce youth violence could face closure unless it gets more funding.

AN INNOVATIVE South Australian charity that aims to reduce youth violence could face closure unless it can secure more funding.

On what would have been his son’s 26th birthday, Neil Davis — the father of Sam who was killed in 2008 by a single punch — has revealed the Sammy D Foundation, a charity named in his son’s honour, is in desperate need of more State Government, corporate and community funding to help keep its work going beyond 2016.

The foundation, which educates young people about the dangers of anti-social behaviour, was established after Sam, a talented young sportsman, was killed at a party.

His parents, Neil, and Natalie Cook — who is now the MP for Fisher — used to work at the charity together, but when Ms Cook entered Parliament last year, she stood down from the board so it could not be used as “political ammunition” against her or her family.

“We have struggled for government funding — we haven’t had any since Nat’s gone into Parliament — but we understand it’s a competitive process and, if you speak to any charities, everyone’s in the same boat,” Mr Davis said, adding that generosity was keeping the foundation running.

“The office building we use is donated to us by Scrap Hotline and we hold fundraising events… but we’ve had to let some highly trained staff go; we are running short to provide the necessary services at the moment.

“Youth violence is a whole-of- community issue.”

Mr Davis said Australian cricket coach, Darren Lehmann, had just come on board as an ambassador and he hoped the cricketing great’s involvement would help further lift the foundation’s profile.

The late Sam Davis.
Lehmann was with fellow cricketing legend, David Hookes, on the night he died after a fight outside a Victorian pub in 2004.

“I support the education and awareness programs that are being rolled out through the schools and community groups as unfortunately I have witnessed the impact of violent behaviour and I don’t want anyone to have to experience that,” Lehmann said.

Ahead of the foundation’s annual gala dinner on Friday night at the National Wine Centre, Mr Davis said the organisation’s work in promoting a “safe night out” was important because SA had the highest rates of youth assault on the mainland.

“We’d love to permanently become part of the school curriculum … young people need ongoing education,” he said.

The organisation has so far spoken to 70,000 people over its six years in operation.

Today would have been Sam’s 26th birthday.

“It’s a sad day, but we have to be brave for the other children in our family as well,” he said, noting that they have a son, Sid, 4, and a foster child, 15, as well.

“If I can stop even just one other family from going through this — and I’m sure we have already — then I have done my job.”

A State Government spokesman said “all applications for State Government funding are assessed on their merits and we welcome organisations including Sammy D to apply for the various grants on offer”.

“We recently streamlined four of our grants programs, combing them into one fund with major grants open twice a year and smaller grants open four times a year. Community organisations can now apply for grant money with one application form and with one set of guidelines with simpler reporting requirements,’’ he said.

Visit for information or to apply for State Government grants.

To read this article on Adelaide Now, click here.