In a first for the Not For Profit sector, a dedicated content portal is launching this week via the Business News digital offering.
Called Hearts & Minds, the portal will offer insights, features and long reads dedicated to this important part of the Western Australian business sector. Six NFPs have signed on to support the new drive to raise awareness and maintain a consistent channel of news stories and features about their organisations. The inaugural six are Foodbank WA, Anglicare WA, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA, Special Olympics, Awesome Arts and Uniting WA. After a special luncheon hosted by Business News’ CEO Charles Kobelke and attended by leaders from the NFPs involved, wide-ranging discussions included the future direction of this new initiative, with a strong focus on how NFPs can direct future corporate donations and partnerships via engaging and compelling copy through this new digital portal.
The idea was conceived to leverage the vital work NFPs carry out each day, sometimes unsung and uncelebrated by the media at large. Foodbank WA in particular has witnessed a significant increase in demand for their services over the past two years.
“With the rising cost of living, an increase in interest rates and the tight rental market, we are expecting demand to continue to rise,” says Ms O’Hara. “Our aim for the next 12 months is to ensure we have enough food to meet demand and expand our Mobile Foodbank service, particularly in the regions.”
By establishing Hearts & Minds as a separate channel within the Business News framework which subscribers and readers can access to find out more about NFPs via regular stories over the next 12 months, Ms O’Hara and her fellow NFP leaders anticipate the portal will become the go-to point to create an uptick in donations and investment from the corporate worlds, keen to invest in community projects.
“We are hoping that Hearts & Minds will raise awareness of the many complex societal issues currently affecting WA as well as the charities working together in collaboration for the better of society,” said Ms O’Hara.
“We are sharing our stories of the impact and collaboration we achieve.”
From Foodbank WA’s perspective, there’s never been a greater need for the community at large to join forces to help those most in need.
“We can end hunger by ensuring all Western Australians have access to good quality, healthy food. But the need is growing and we still have much to do. We can only end hunger in WA with the support of Government, corporate partners, philanthropists, Trusts and Foundations that share our vision to ensure no-one goes without.”
Uniting WA is part of UnitingCare Australia, which is a network of the country’s largest community service providers, employs over 50,000 staff and is supported by more than 30,000 volunteers.
Spanning homelessness and crisis accommodation support, disability, family and children’s services as well as financial wellbeing and reintegration services, Uniting is also experiencing an increase in demand for their assistance as people previously unaffected by poverty are now in dire straits thanks to the impact of COVID, rising prices and financial pressures.
“We need to reimagine the way we combat social disadvantage, and collaboration between the private sector and NFP organisations will be central to our success,” says Mr Chester and Ms Park.
“By working together, we can achieve more. Uniting already works in partnership with corporate organisations and we hope to expand this work to make a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable Western Australians.
“Business leaders trust Business News for key insights to guide innovation and Uniting is grateful for the opportunity to share our work with these influencers. Awareness of Uniting’s work throughout the corporate sector will be strengthened by the assistance of Hearts & Minds and we hope to amplify the voices of people who are experiencing vulnerability or hardship to advocate for systemic change and a fairer, more just society.”
Anglicare WA is the largest community service provider in WA – apart from the State Government. With nearly 1,000 staff and volunteers, the organisation delivers 89 services across more than 70 locations from Perth to Kalgoorlie, and Kununurra to Albany. Those experiencing homelessness and housing instability, financial stress and domestic violence all draw on Anglicare WA’s assistance and expertise, and like other NFPs involved with Hearts & Minds, is witnessing an increase from clients on a daily basis.
“Demand has more than doubled within some of our services since COVID-19 and coupled with the rise in the cost of living, in many instances we could not have met the growing need were it not for corporate support, providing the financial means to deliver the services on the ground,” said Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson.
“Over the past decade, I have observed the evolution of corporate social responsibility in Western Australia evolve from merely a tax write-off, to today where businesses and corporations are engaging in genuine partnership to impact positive change in our community.”
As government becomes smaller, and community need grows, corporate support is expanding to fill the gaps, an observation which Mr Glasson is hopeful initiatives like Hearts & Minds will be able to highlight and in turn, replenish through donations and support from the corporate sector.
“We do this through advocacy, research projects, community education, and innovation – and most often in partnership with other community services, as well as the professional experts.
“Most recently, we have partnered with Anthologie and Innovation Unit in a project lead by Infoxchange to deliver a world-first online portal for people experiencing homelessness. It’s no longer enough for community services to simply respond to the need, we must be the drivers of change. After all, if we don’t, who will?”
AWESOME Arts CEO - Jenny Simpson
AWESOME Arts is an NFP that has been changing the lives of children in WA for the past 25 years, through the annual AWESOME International Arts Festival for Bright Young Things and other arts-related initiatives.
Jenny Simpson, who leads Team AWESOME, is looking forward to sharing with the Business News readership insight into the value of how engaging young people with cultural experiences builds capacity and supports learning.
“We are delighted to be participating in Hearts & Minds as we know that this particular group of organisations all share our values,” said Ms Simpson. “Every one of these NFPs is here to make a difference and we all achieve these objectives by working in different ways. We hope that this partnership with Business News will start some interesting conversations with us and all of the NFPs involved.”
Similarly, the impact of sport on young people generates a multitude of positives, and for those who sometimes are left on the sidelines through intellectual disability, Special Olympics Australia plays an extraordinary part in lifting them up and allowing them to shine on their very own stage.
In Australia, there are over 850,000 people with intellectual disabilities – the largest such population in the world, and in Australia, a child is diagnosed with an intellectual disability every two hours. Special Olympics provides grassroots sports training and competition pathways, culmination in the Special Olympic World Games. Currently the NFP is bidding to host the Summer World Games in Perth in 2027, a globally significant opportunity to shine a spotlight and create a catalyst for change lives and perceptions of this large community cohort.
Special Olympic's Director -Tanya Brown
Tanya Brown, Director of Special Olympics Australia Board will be raising awareness through Hearts & Minds of the prevalence of intellectual disability, and hopes to give the business sector the chance to partner with the NFP to bring the World Games to Perth.
“We know that the Special Olympics Perth 2027 will be transformational – the athletes’ stories are inspirational and change the way people view intellectual disability,” said Ms Brown.
“The World Games will see more than 8,000 athletes from 170 nations come to Perth for 10 days of competition and off-field activities. It’s the biggest humanitarian even in the world and the Games have a profound effect on all involved – from athletes to family members, volunteers and spectators.”
RFDS WA CEO - Rebecca Tomkinson
Royal Flying Doctor Service WA shares the vision of their fellow Hearts & Minds organisations and looks forward to sharing some of the stories of the more than 20,000 patients they assist across WA each year.
RFDS WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson says the RFDS knows the importance of the business sector’s support of NFPs in Western Australia.
“In what has been our busiest year, having the support of major corporate partners has been instrumental to ensure we can be there for people requiring urgent medical care right across WA,” she says.
“We are proud to offer a no cost service to Western Australians, but this comes at a significant cost to us. Having support from the corporate sector allows us to continue our important work.
Foodbank WA’s Kate O’ Hara recognises that in the current climate when there is so much needed by so many, pressures on corporates to step up and fill the gap between Government and State assistance may appear overwhelming.
“It is challenging to meet the growing and changing need for our services with funding changing every year,” she says.
“Long term corporate partnerships and Government funding would help us ensure we maintain a sustainable and strong supply of food into our community.
“We need consistent partnerships to help us meet changes in operational costs, including transport, storage, staffing and volunteering, as well the demand from a changing demographic and the need to purchase additional supply of food to ensure we can continue to meet demand.”
Uniting WA’s Co-CEOs concur.
“Solutions to societal issues are not for the government or the not-for-profit sector to solve alone. They are whole of community issues which require support from all industry sectors to ensure the changes that are made make a lasting difference.”
Hearts & Minds will go some way to raise awareness and keep the narrative at the forefront of corporate organisations’ mindsets – one story at a time.
Is your not for profit interested in joining the conversation? Contact Laura Fautley at Business News on 0401 904 420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start sharing your organisation's stories to the Business News readership via this dedicated channel.