About The N.I.C.K. Foundation

Nick ButtifantOn the 27th of February, 2009, twenty-year-old Nicholas Buttifant took his own life.

Nick was a talented musician who had the world at his feet. To those who knew him, he was an energetic, passionate young man, always able to make others smile. Losing him turned the lives of his friends and family upside down.

Out of this indescribable tragedy, the N.I.C.K. Foundation was born. With the sole aim of giving today's youth hope for tomorrow, N.I.C.K. set out to instill self-belief, compassion and resilience in young people and their families. Through presentations, the Foundation offers parents, their children and mentors the opportunity to hear and share stories from inspirational people. speakers such as Harry O'Brien, Nathan Buckley, Mike McKay, Mick Malthouse, Alisa Camplin, Kim Crowe, Paul Licuria and Chris Anstey. These stories and the messages within provide a platform for discussion and assist our youth and parents when faced with life's challenges.

The N.I.C.K. Foundation was named in honour of Nick Buttifant, and from the letters of his first name we found our core values: Nurturing, Independence, Commitment and Knowledge. Our logo encapsulates the idea of rising every time you fall - just as the phoenix rises from its ashes.

The N.I.C.K. Foundation has successfully run presentations where guest speakers have shared their stories with parents, students, teachers and mentors based on the foundation's Four Pillars of Growth; Self-belief, Life Balance, Mentoring and Resilience. They have reached audiences with near full capacity crowds and have been very positively received, creating relationships for ongoing presentations. The N.I.C.K. Foundation has also been involved with smaller workshops within school communities. It has established an amateur theatre group, The N.I.C.K. Foundation Players, which has provided an opportunity for young people to work in a collaborative and nurturing environment - Giving Hope. They have successfully performed four musicals over four years, the most recent production, 'Robin The Hood', selling out back-to-back performances.

Based on the musical talent and drive of the N.I.C.K. Foundation's namesake, in more recent times the N.I.C.K. Foundation has been able to offer grants enabling young people to explore and pursue talents particularly music. This has seen those young people who are passionate about their music, who may not have had the opportunity to do so, due to lack of financial or personal support explore the potential of their talents. 


Who is N.I.C.K.?

darren brusnahan

Darren Brusnahan

Darren is a director of property group Freehold Investment Management, but outside of work he enjoys being actively involved with community sports and community groups.


Darren is married and has three young children, and holds postgraduate qualifications in finance.








Grace Bannon

The N.I.C.K. Foundation's youth representative, Grace has been involved in charity work since 2007 where she has helped raise awareness towards mental health. Grace cycled a total of 2,800km around the state of Victoria, giving talks and focusing on raising awareness towards mental health.


Grace is the youngest of four children, and loves spending time with family and friends. She has completed a Bachelor of Education Degree, where she teaches Grade Prep students in the classroom. 

maria buttifant

Maria Buttifant

An experienced educator, Maria is a great believer in the potential of young people. Her experience as a mother of four children, one of whom suffered from mental illness, has given her the desire and skills to reach out to the community.


Maria has over 30 years of experience in the performing arts, in both a professional and an amateur capacity. She strongly believes that the performing arts can play a vital role in improving young peoples' lives.

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David Buttifant

David is the High Performance Manager at Carlton Football Club and is a passionate advocate of leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle. He has a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology and has worked with elite athletes for over twenty years both at an Olympic level and in the AFL.


David has a strong sense of family, and mixes business with pleasure by following sport for fun. In his spare time he enjoys going surfing, a passion that he shared with his son Nick.






Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Keep up to date with all of the N.I.C.K. Foundation's upcoming events here.

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