$2 Million Grant Helps Give Australians in Need A Fair Go
21 September 2017 at 8:35 am
A total of 200 community organisations working to create a fairer, more inclusive Australia have received a share of $2 million in grant funding.
The Westpac Foundation Community Grants program has doubled its funding, awarding $10,000 to 200 different organisations in recognition of Westpac’s 200th anniversary.
It marks Westpac Foundation’s largest funding round to date and is expected to support around 47,000 Australians in need.
Westpac Foundation CEO Sinclair Taylor told Pro Bono News the program, now in its sixth year, helped to build vibrant and inclusive communities by assisting organisations that were working with some of the most marginalised individuals in the community.
“Westpac Foundation is dedicated to giving everyone a fair go; which is why we are committed to supporting not-for-profit organisations that address social and economic disadvantage in their local community,” Taylor said.
“We’re really conscious that Australia is a very prosperous country but there are significant levels of social and economic disadvantage that occur within the community.
“We want to make a contribution to the community organisations who are really working at the coalface of some of those fairly challenging social issues.”
For the first time, this year all Australians were given the opportunity to “get behind their local community” and nominate an organisation that would benefit from a grant.
Taylor said by opening the process up they wanted people to tell them what organisations in their communities were doing great work and “to shine a light” on social issues that were important to them at a local level.
“I am proud to say almost 1,400 nominations were received; highlighting the fantastic support behind Australian community organisations working to drive social change,” he said.
“Thanks to the generous donations of $580,000 from Westpac employees and customers, and $500,000 from Westpac we were able to double the amount of grants available this year to 200. In doing so we are able to back more community organisations; helping to support more Australians in need.”
Since 2012, Westpac Foundation has provided 570 Community Grants worth $5.5 million to help to address social disadvantage in local communities by supporting not-for-profit organisations which provide education opportunities, employment pathways and improve the quality of life for people in need.
In addition to the funding, grant recipients receive non-financial support from Westpac Group employees, acting as Community Grants Ambassadors.
Taylor said this guidance could be “just as valuable as the financial grant”.
“Many of the community organisations in our program are small and don’t have the resources to generate significant fundraising income of their own,” he said.
“Our partnership provides both financial and non-financial support to help fill some of this gap and improve the lives of Australia’s most disadvantaged.
“We work with organisations to understand their unique needs and provide tailored skilled-volunteering support that draws on Westpac Group’s strengths, such as financial and business services, marketing, HR and innovation.”
Taylor said there were “always standouts” from the nominees but he was most pleased with the amount of new faces in the program.
“It is like having a favourite child,” he said.
“This year we’ve actually had a really good mix of new organisation come into [the program].
“So there are some organisations which we have funded previously but we’ve obviously got a great new audience of organisations that we haven’t been involved with before, and that really just evidences that a lot of new organisations have heard about the community grants program for the first time through that nomination process, and hopefully will benefit from not just the financial contribution but the non-financial support as well.”