Corporate Community Partnership Short Circuits!
Wednesday, 10th July 2002 at 1:07 pm
When a Not for Profit takes on a corporate giant in the media…sparks are sure to fly…and one ‘current’ case is showing how perceptions about not being a good corporate citizen can be electrifying!
The issue started out with a note to the media saying POWER GIANT PUTS MELBOURNE HOMELESS CHARITY IN THE DARK….The giant American owned multi-million dollar electricity corporation, Citipower, has given a slap in the face rebuff to a request to pay a fair rent on land owned by a Victorian charity working with homeless and long term-unemployed in suburban Brunswick…..
The Brosnan Centre’s Dawson Street property has a small red-brick electrical sub-station on it.
It’s a legacy of a deal last year with the City of Moreland which sold the land to Jesuit Social Services to use it to help young people who are homeless and long-term unemployed.
After buying the land and converting the facility to deal with the complex needs of young people with multiple needs, Manager, Peter Coghlan, says that he is now facing a deficit of more than $300,000 this year to maintain the service.
Coghlan says all the service wants now is for Citipower to pay a fair and reasonable rent for the use of the sub-station on our land. But they will only offer the Brosnan Centre 10 cents a year for 30 years with an option of another 30 years!
Coghlan says there’s no sign of any good corporate citizenship there!
He says as the program Manager for the Brosnan Centre, he would rather be spending his time supporting one of the twenty youth workers committed to helping some of Victoria’s most damaged young people onto a worthwhile path back into the community.
He says the youth workers here work their butts off trying to help young people with fewer advantages than themselves. They certainly haven’t done it for money – they are real contributors to the well-being of our wider community.
Coghlan has told the media that now, this enormous, all powerful multi-million dollar outfit, wants them to sign a lease they have prepared for the next 30 years! They won’t even consider a fair and reasonable rent. I mean, it’s not charity we’re asking for, just a fair rent, a bit of justice.
Spokesperson for Jesuit Social Services, Bernie Geary, says the Centre has now sent an account to Citipower Chief Executive Officer, John Marshall, and expects Citipower to pay its rent bill – in the same way as Citipower expects its customers to pay their electricity bills.
The Brosnan Centre says it has presented a bill for $200 a week for the exclusive use of that part of the building.
Geary says this is a bit like David versus Goliath but our need is urgent and we are disappointed that Citipower appears not to be prepared to meet its responsibility as a good corporate citizen.
Citipower is owned by American Electric Power, a multinational energy company based in Columbus, Ohio, and is one of the United States’ largest producers of electricity. It bought Citipower back in 1998.
Who says every corporate community relationship is a happy one! Watch this space!