In October 1998, six schools from Christian Brother’s Colleges (CBC) met at St Joseph’s, North Melbourne to discuss the challenges inherent within the newly evolved field of Development. Schools represented were St Bernard’s College, Parade College, CBC St Kilda, St Patrick’s College Ballarat and St Joseph’s Colleges – North Melbourne and Geelong. In 1999 the CBC group was expanded to include St Kevin’s College and St Patrick’s College Launceston, Tasmania.
The original name chosen by schools was the Catholic Development Group (CBC Schools). Its mission was:
A forum for the exchange of information and ideas relating to the activities of public relations, archives, development, promotions, sponsorship, fundraising, enrolments and alumni development with CBC’s of Victoria.
The group slowly grew and evolved and over time non-Christian Brothers’ schools were invited to join. To better reflect the groups membership and its key focus on Catholic education, in 2002 the CBC reference was dropped and the current name was adopted – Catholic Development Network
John Fitzgerald, Development Manager at St Joseph’s College, Geelong was the first Chair of the Catholic Development Network. John had excellent networks within Development and was a committee member of ADAPE. At this time membership was approximately 30 schools.
In September 2005 the CDN wrote to all Catholic School Principals in Victoria explaining the objectives of the CDN and invited schools to send along representatives. In response numbers at meetings quickly increased – over 40 schools were represented at the 2007 meeting – from schools in Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Hamilton, Wodonga and Melbourne.
With John leaving Catholic education in 2009 Mark Waddington from St Patrick’s College, Ballarat, took over as Chair of the Network in 2009 after six years as Secretary. CDN membership numbers continued to continued to increase during this period, with meetings being held in city and rural locations.
David Formosa, Development Manager at St Joseph’s College, Geelong took over as Chair in 2011 and oversaw a period of exceptional growth, both in terms of membership numbers and the scope of operations. A corporate logo and style guide was developed, meeting sponsors were acquired to subsidise costs, members were surveyed to determine professional learning needs, school needs and skills/experiences of members and preparedness to facilitate workshops.
With the growing profile of the CDN, increased approaches were received for sponsorship and commercial presentations. Member expectations increased during this period as did the breadth of areas covered by the term ‘Development’. Marketing, communications, enrolment, fundraising, community building, market research, alumni relations, graphic design and customer service were all matters addressed by the Network.
In May 2015 a motion was passed to incorporate the CDN and formalise it as a professional networking group, specifically for Catholic Secondary Schools. On June 15 2015 the Catholic Development Network was officially incorporated.
In August 2015 an Executive Committee was voted in along with a team of specific portfolio coordinators.