HBOS Australia will take a greater community focus in its work with charities with the launch the of HBOS Australia Foundation. HBOS Australia Foundation chairman John Van Der Wielen said the amalgamation of BankWest, St Andrew’s, Capital Finance and BOS International had provided a vehicle by which HBOS Australia could take a more community minded focus in Australia. “There was no combined effort in those entities that was looking at what we do in the community regard-ing donations for charity,” he said. Mr Van Der Wielen said the UK-based HBOS Foundation had been very successful with the raising of £20 million over a five-year period. However, he stressed the foundation did not solely revolve around donations of money. “The easiest thing you can do in a corporate is start quoting dollars like we do with profits,” he said. “We have got just over 4,000 staff and we’ll have active involvement with all our staff in a variety of different tasks. “Some of it will be donating resources, some of it will be donat-ing expertise whether it be through call centres, branches… all those areas are prepared to donate a portion of our resources to assist. “HBOS is opening the foundation with $1 million and we are matching staff contributions on a dollar for dollar basis. HBOS is committed to putting money in each year and then also the staff funding as well.” Mr Van Der Wielen said that, although the (formerly) BankWest-sponsored Fremantle Dockers had worked with the community, HBOS Australia decided to take a more community based direction, resulting in the withdrawing of sponsorships. “We are trying to say as a group we spend enough money on TV, advertising… what could we do more effectively for the community,” he said. “Therefore we’ve given a diverted part of some of our sponsorship money into supporting directly with the community.” HBOS Foundation manager Jo Mulligan said the primary focus of the foundation would be to engage the staff and to involve them in the community and with different charities. “I think that will be one of the great benefits is that [the foundation] will bring the different businesses together for HBOS Australia,” she said. “I will be working with the community groups and understand-ing what they need and then appoint some state representatives who will be close to the people on the ground.” The foundation will be launched on Wednesday November 23 at BankWest Tower with foundation patron Dr Fiona Wood as guest speaker.
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