Indigenous-owned social enterprise transforming their approach to employee wellbeing  

[by Rachel Ecclestone]

James from Bama.jpg

James from Bama Services, one of more than 100 community organisations to share in $2.25 million investment to help sustain jobs funding from Westpac Foundation. Image: supplied

Westpac Foundation will provide much needed funding to over 100 local organisations that provide employment, education and training support for some of Australia’s most vulnerable.


With many Australians facing job loss or reduced working hours in the wake of COVID-19, the total $2.25 million funding aims to help these organisations sustain operations and continue facilitating employment opportunities for those who need it most.


Westpac Foundation CEO, Susan Bannigan said the Foundation has an important role to play in supporting the social sector through this challenging time.


“It’s been tough across most sectors, but particularly so for social enterprises and small not-for-profits. These organisations play a vital role in local communities around the country.


“Through this funding our goal is to help them continue to provide the jobs, education and training support they offer to people that need it most.”


Funding will be awarded through Westpac Foundation’s Social Enterprise Grants and Community Grants programs:


  • Social Enterprise Grants: $1.25 million will be invested over three years in five existing social enterprise partners to help sustain and stabilise each business through COVID-19, as well as support future opportunities to scale.

  • Community Grants: $1 million will be awarded across 100 local not-for-profits, half of which will be distributed through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) to support education, training and employment opportunities in rural, regional and remote communities.


“Recognising some of the acute challenges social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations are currently facing, we’ve also taken steps to make funds available earlier this year, as a small but important step in helping businesses continue to support the many people that rely on them,” says Bannigan.


Approximately 70 per cent of this year’s grant recipients have received previous support from Westpac Foundation.


“We believe long-term relationships are key to creating long-term impact. This year we made a conscious decision to reinvest in our existing relationships for both grant programs,” says Bannigan.  


For social enterprise grant recipient Bama Services, who provide employment and training opportunities for Indigenous Australians, this year will mark the 11th year of support from the Foundation.


The Indigenous-owned civil engineering, construction and facilities maintenance business operating in Northern Queensland will use the grant to sustain their Support and Wellbeing Program, which plays a vital role in staff retention for the organisation.


In addition to funding, all grant recipients receive pro bono support and access to leadership development programs, legal support, and financial capability training via Westpac’s Changemaker program.


“While access to funds is incredibly important, the collaborative support we also offer through our program partners, like access to expert skills and resources, has become integral in driving these deeper relationships with our grant recipients,” added Bannigan.


“So much more can be achieved when you work together. Whether it’s co-funding with other philanthropic organisations, partnering with FRRR in rural and regional Australia, or tapping into the skills of our employees who so generously volunteer their time.” 


Visit our interactive map to see the full list of Community Grant recipients.


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