Corporate Foundation Partners with Social Enterprise to Address Poverty
4 August 2011 at 12:58 pm
A new partnership between The Origin Foundation and social enterprise, Good Return, is set to show how innovative philanthropy allied with innovative microfinance can create change for people living in poverty throughout the Asia Pacific region through loans and education.
Good Return is a social enterprise that helps families in the region to lift themselves out of poverty by providing small loans, from as little as $25, which they can use to start or build a business.
Loans are facilitated through www.goodreturn.org, a new lending website that allows Australians to choose how much they would like to lend and which individual they would like to support.
The Origin Foundation has provided a gift of $1 million to Good Return, increasing their capacity to facilitate loans tenfold over the next three years. In addition to this financial contribution, Origin employees will also volunteer their professional skills and expertise in energy solutions to help Good Return tackle key projects.
The Origin Foundation is a newly formed perpetual philanthropic foundation established and funded by corporate Origin Energy.
Good Return CEO Guy Winship says this extra support would help to further develop Good Return as a social enterprise, impacting the lives of more than 40,000 people in Asia Pacific, where more than two-thirds of the world’s poor live, by generating 8000 new loans.
Winship says the partnership will generate value far in excess of the initial donation from the Origin Foundation. When borrowers repay donated loans, Good Return uses it to invest in financial and functional literacy and livelihood programs for the borrowers and the micro-finance lenders.
He says so far the literacy and financial education programs have helped more than 2000 women.
Sean Barrett, Head of The Origin Foundation says it was this multiplier effect and focus on education that made the Good Return gift so compelling.
Barrett says the Origin Foundation believes in the power of education to change lives and a Good Return loan not only helps these people to lift themselves out of poverty, but also provides much needed education, helping these women to make good decisions about how to manage their new income.
Guy Winship says the Origin Foundation’s Engaged Philanthropy model provides not only financial support but access to the expertise of people who can research all of the options available and evaluate each from a technical, financial and environmental perspective.