15/04/2010 - 00:00

Business, charities get United

15/04/2010 - 00:00


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LARGE organisations eager to contribute to the not-for-profit sector often lack the time to adequately research where funds or workplace volunteers can be best directed.

LARGE organisations eager to contribute to the not-for-profit sector often lack the time to adequately research where funds or workplace volunteers can be best directed.

The likes of KPMG, Ernst & Young, HBF, Wesfarmers, GESB and the Water Corp have set criteria for specific types of NFPs they would like to support, to ensure they fit with the organisation’s social responsibility program, but need help to ensure their contributions hit the mark.

Enter United Way WA.

The organisation is often a vital source of resources for community organisations that do not have the capacity or time to market or fundraise themselves.

United Way is a 130-year-old not-for-profit organisation with a global network of 4,000 independent organisations in 46 countries.

It is recognised as the number one charity in the US, raising more than $US7 billion per annum globally.

In Australia, it is one of the top five community investors and distributes $7 million a year.

United Way WA recently expanded its presence in the state by partnering with BankWest in an initiative to develop a community relations program to support Edmund Rice Camps for Kids and Redkite.

Under the program, each charity will receive $200,000 from BankWest, while staff will be able to contribute further through workplace giving and the bank matching all additional employee donations.

BankWest managing director Jon Sutton said putting back to the community where the bank operated was close to his heart.

“Since its acquisition by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BankWest has reaffirmed its commitment to the Western Australian community through these types of partnerships and other community initiatives,” Mr Sutton told WA Business News.

“BankWest has a long and proud heritage in Western Australia and values the contribution groups like the United Way make to the community.”

Mr Sutton said the partnership aimed to “capture the hearts and minds” of BankWest staff, who were keen to give back to the community.

Under the partnership, BankWest has developed a volunteering plan for 12 half-days during the year, as well as forming a committee of staff to visit the Edmund Rice Camps for Kids.

The bank will also endorse any other fundraising activities, such as raffle packs and Redkite quiz kits developed by staff.

United Way WA chief executive Sue Dixon said the global organisation was always looking to expand its business in WA and BankWest was a suitable fit.

“The community relations program with BankWest is fully integrated throughout its business while having the support network internally to make it happen,” she said.

“It harnesses the collective power of the branches and their staff to make a real difference to those in need.

“The fact that the funds raised by corporate donations and staff giving stay in their own community is very motivating, and really helps to get buy in to the program.”

Redkite is an Australia-wide charity that provides support to children, young people and their families who have a member with cancer, and it has remained their focus for 25 years.

Edmund Rice Camps for Kids is a community-based organisation that serves the needs of ‘at risk’ kids aged seven to 16 and their families by providing camps and other recreational activities.


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