Epilepsy Action Australia says it has been left with an estimated $200,000 funding gap after electronics retailer Dick Smith was placed in receivership.
The national charity had an agreement to partner with the retailer to support its major yearly fundraising activity, Purple Day, through sponsorship and distribution of merchandise.
Epilepsy Action Australia chief executive Carol Ireland said that the funds raised from Purple Day activities from January to April would be vital to the charity.
“That promotion was due to start next week, so we had materials printed with Dick Smith logo all over them, we pre-printed them before Christmas after approval and Dick Smith were to cover those costs,” she said.
“We started trying to reach the personnel and the CEO at Dick Smith without any success earlier this week.
“We’ve now been putting in messages to the administrator and now the receiver.
“We’ve had a response but not a conversation at this stage, so as far as we’re aware we’ve lost our distribution outlet as well as considerable sponsorship that was promised.”
Charity pleads for public support
The charity is now pleading for public assistance to allow the event to continue.
“Starting next week with no distributor and no sponsor we’re about $200,000 in the red which is pretty serious for us,” Ms Ireland said.
“We deliver services free of charge to people with epilepsy across Australia.
“Now that’s 250,000 people diagnosed with epilepsy who phone us, they receive direct support, resources, sometimes funding to assist with essential equipment.
“If we don’t actually meet our budget, then we don’t actually provide the service. It’s quite devastating.
“At this stage we’re looking to reach out to the broader community. Is there a white knight out there? Is there another retailer that might come on board at the last moment as a sponsor? Because we’re not feeling very confident in terms of Dick Smith.”
A spokesman for receiver Ferrier Hodgson said he was unable to comment on the issue.