When Your Corporate Partner Collapses
Tuesday, 12th June 2001 at 1:06 pm
When One.Tel, the telecommunications giant, collapsed this month the repercussions for staff and creditors were enormous. But what has happened to the Not for Profit organisation, Child Flight, that forged a corporate relationship many would say was made in heaven?
One.Tel and Child Flight announced a three-year sponsorship deal to help fund the organisation’s helicopter emergency medical transport service for babies and children almost twelve months to the day before the company collapsed!
On May 23rd last year the corporate alliance between One.Tel and Child Flight was announced with much fan fare. The NSW Minister for Health, Craig Knowles welcomed the involvement of a significant member of the corporate world such as One.Tel and thank it for its support of Child Flight.
The Minister reinforced his comments by saying key services like those offered by Child Flight were a partnership between Government (the tax payer), the community and the corporate world.
At the announcement ceremony last year, One.Tel spokesperson Sandy Slesser described the partnership as an important step for the company.
The agreement was for a three-year contract but it was anticipated at the time that the relationship would continue beyond that.
The chairman of Child Flight, Dr. Alan Amodeo said at the time that the partnership with One.Tel offered the prospect of purchasing a second helicopter which would mean never having to say ‘no’ when the first helicopter was in use.
In today’s harsh reality of corporate law, Child Flight is just another unsecured creditor and the minute the administrator was appointed any contract between the parties is now null and void!
So where does this leave Child Flight? The organisation is still “up in the air” with emergency flights continuing to operate. But the failure of One.Tel is a constant reminder with its large corporate logo prominently placed on the organisation’s bright green emergency helicopter.
As well the One.Tel name is still on all its uniforms, and stationary such as letterheads and business cards. Staff have now been advised to drop “One.Tel” from the charity’s name when answering the many telephone calls of support from the public.
And Child Flight is not the only Not for Profit affected by the corporate collapse. One.Tel supported many community –based groups including the Mater Children’s Hospital Home IV Unit that provides ongoing medical care to sick children in their own home.
Child Flight’s Chairman, Dr. Alan Amodeo says the collapse is devastating and the timing could not have been worse, coming at the end of the financial year.
Dr. Amodeo says so far Child Flight operations are uninterrupted and equipment maintenance is up to date, however the biggest effect is the slowing up of plans in the pipeline such as the purchase of new equipment.
He says the organisation was in negotiations to purchase the second helicopter mentioned twelve months ago with the sponsorship money from One.Tel.
Dr. Amodeo says one of the hardest realities about the collapse is the loss of the relationship with the staff of One.Tel who have been fantastic and allowed the corporate partnership to be personalised.
Child Flight’s large and supportive public donor base as well as part-government funding will keep the organisation flying and Dr. Amodeo says he has been heartened by the many, many calls from corporate Australia with offers of financial support!
If there are any issues you would like to discuss about this topic why not post them on the Pro Bono Australia web site Forum at probonoaustralia.com.au.