Supporting an emerging asset class
21 December 2010
Michael Traill has provided commentary to the Business Spectator on a new asset class of social investment, where reasonable investment returns and social purpose outcomes are connected.
In the article, Michael referenced a speech recently delivered in Australia by Sir Ronald Cohen, a ‘UK private equity and philanthropy legend’. Sir Ronald shared his experience in the establishment of Bridges Community Ventures which attracted matched funding support from the Blair/Brown New Labour government and committed investments to communities in the lowest 25 per cent of social economic areas and in setting up Social Finance which has become a ‘social investment bank’.
Noting that there were now some similar examples of this emerging asset class in Australia, including the acquisition of over 650 ABC Learning Centres by the GoodStart non-profit syndicate with a total funding package of $165 million, Cohen’s ‘call to arms is that as more social investment funds and structures are developed, they need to be recognised as a separate asset class, encouraging a flow of institutional capital.’
You can read the full article in the Business Spectator here.
Big cheques, but fewer donors
20 December 2010
Ben Hurley in the Australian Financial Review writes that some charities are noticing a trend of fewer, but larger donations this Christmas, with donors asking more questions about how their donation is being used. Cutbacks on seasonal festivities for staff seem also to have benefitted some charities, with the Smith Family receiving three large cheques from companies, in each case made possible by the organisation spending less on their staff at Christmas.
Michael Traill was also quoted, saying that giving levels at SVA were ‘reasonably resilient’, but that donors were asking more questions to ensure their donation was being used to support the stated aims of their selected non-profit organisation. Michael also noted that while the Australian economy was doing well in comparison to other Western countries, the divide between rich and poor had grown and that investment in education and employment was vital to help address disadvantage in our poorest areas.
An evening with Sir Ronald Cohen
On Monday 13 December Macquarie Group Foundation, The Centre for Social Impact, Ecotrust Australia and SVA hosted an evening with Sir Ronald Cohen.
Sir Ronald Cohen is one of Europe’s earliest and leading private-equity investors, and served as Chair of the Social Investment Taskforce, which was established around 2000/01 to advise the Labour Government on ways to stimulate investment in social finance initiatives in the UK.
The evening’s discussion covered a broad range of topics with Sir Ronald sharing some important insights into the world of social investment and exploring how social finance will develop in the future.
Sir Ronald shared his experience establishing the Bridges Community Venture – a pioneering model of for-profit investment. The Bridges Community Venture model commenced with a 50/50 split of private and government equity invested in start-up businesses in poorer areas in the UK. Since inception, Bridges has grown significantly both in social impact as well as financially, stimulating economic growth and social change in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities.
The discussion moved to Social Impact Bonds. Having recognised the potential power of preventative services to not only provide huge cost saving to the government, but to affect real social change, Sir Ronald established a new organisation called Social Finance. Their overall aim is to stimulate interest in a new social investment asset class. In September this year they launched the first Social Impact Bond. This was a £5 million issue of capital raised from charitable foundations and private capital providers that supports preventative programs to reduce recidivism rates for ex-offenders leaving Peterborough prison. Social Finance is now looking to expand the scope of Social Impact Bonds and exploring the introduction of them in an international context.
From 2001, Sir Ronald held the position of Chair of the UK Social Investment Task Force for 18 months, which worked to develop a social capital market through the development of social capital intermediaries e.g. Bridges, Big Issue Invest, Social Investment Business and Social Invest Scotland. Looking to the future of social investment, Sir Ronald highlighted the importance of developing a social investment asset class, providing new ways of investing for social purpose that match market rates of the return for foundations and philanthropists and the crucial role to be played by social investment intermediaries in successfully achieving positive social outcomes.
Having seen the massive development in the recent past of successful public/private partnerships and the consequent understanding of what makes these partnerships effective, Sir Ronald identified a similar need to capitalise on these learnings and forge ahead on developing public/social partnerships.
The evening stimulated thoughtful discussion about the Australian application of the UK experience with direct relevance to our recent involvement in the GoodStart Childcare syndicate as an example of Australia’s emerging asset class.
Ronnie’s Succulent Snails
10 December 2010
A social enterprise supported by the ACT Social Enterprise Hub, Ronnie’s Succulent Snails, has enjoyed a slew of media attention over the past few months, including a spot on local Canberra radio and a story ABC TV’s Stateline. A write-up by Sarina Talip in the Canberra Times on 10 December has further thrown the spotlight on an innovative social enterprise supporting one young man with a rewarding small business eminently suited to his particular needs.
Ronnie Lawrence, 22, has a mild intellectual disability and chronic epileptic condition, requiring him to spend lots of time at home. Ronnie’s Mum, Mirinda, was looking for a small business idea that would allow Ronnie to use his considerable talents, but which would be flexible for his situation. A backyard snail business was the perfect solution.
The Lawrence’s backyard has since been transformed with three metal sheds, holding boxes filled with thousands of snails that Ronnie cultivates to sell to a commercial snail producer in the Hunter Valley.
Although Ronnie can sometimes be quite sick, according to his Mum he relishes looking after the snails.
”He loves his snails and he gets a big kick out them being active or crawling around,” his mother says. ”But I think it’s just getting out there, being with others and working together that has made a huge difference. What has been almost a revelation is how wonderful the community has been in coming on board.”
The initial idea was for Ronnie to collect the snails from local Canberrans, but after the recent media attention and a call to the Canberra Organic Growers Society, the snails have been coming to Ronnie.
”It’s just really been terrific to see that sort of support from the community,” Lawrence says.
Mirinda is now in talks with a few local schools with gardens to start a snail breeding program.
“”Kids love that sort of thing and it can be a whole learning-about-the environment project and it will get the parents not to put poison out and step on the snails,” Lawrence says. But the overall purpose of the backyard business, she adds, is to make the point that people can contribute in whatever way they can, no matter how big or (literally, in the case of the snails) small.”
You can contact Ronnie’s Succulent Snails at firstname.lastname@example.org
SVA end of year event
7 December 2010
A gathering was held to thank the many people who work tirelessly to make real social change a reality in Australia. With views over Sydney Harbour providing a stunning backdrop (courtesy of the AMP Foundation who generously provided the venue for the event) investors, venture partners, SVA staff and other supporters gathered for an evening of drinks and canapés and to enjoy the chance to catch up with old friends and meet other members of the SVA community.
It was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past year, learn about the new direction for SVA and be updated on the current phase of work being undertaken to improve the education and employment levels of thousands of Australia’s most disadvantaged people.
Michael Traill AM gave an overview of our strategy, clarifying our objectives and providing some personal reflections about his own experience of ‘postcodes of disadvantage’, growing up in the Latrobe Valley in country Victoria. Looking at what lies ahead for SVA, Michael explained the focus on lifting education and employment participation levels as the most effective foundation for achieving sustainable, broad based and breakthrough change in disadvantaged communities in Australia.
Chris Boys gave us some more detailed insights into the events of 2010 and clearly described how SVA’s ability to engage as a catalyst and enabler, in partnership with outstanding ventures and leading practitioners and funders across all sectors, will be used to achieve social change, while addressing the major bottlenecks to effective social change revolving around capital, people and knowledge.
A lively, informal panel session followed with Michael Traill in conversation with Michael Combs Career Trackers, Carla McGrath AIME and Duncan Peppercorn from SVA Consulting. Duncan discussed some of the diverse projects in the non-profit arena that the talented SVA consulting team has been involved with in 2010. While Michael and Carla both spoke about mentoring Indigenous young people, sharing stories about their organisations and their own personal journeys. Their passion and enthusiasm for the change they are contributing to each day was obvious and inspiring.
Setting young minds free
15 November 2010
Chris Bonnor, now a Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) board member, writes in the Sydney Morning Herald about how an innovative education model is enjoying success in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities.
Chris was, for most of his career, unconvinced about the idea of special schools that were apparently able to escalate student achievement. He felt that the success of these schools had more to do with the quality of student they attracted, rather than the learning experience itself.
That view changed, however, when he visited a Big Picture school in the Bronx and experienced first hand the difference that a school curriculum that is driven by the students themselves makes.
‘Each classroom has 15 students, supported – in the same group for four years – by the same teacher/adviser. I saw little conventional teaching; most students toiled on special projects, supported by their adviser and interrupted only when I asked what they were doing. Other students were away serving internships with employers or mentors.
In effect, the school curriculum at these schools is driven by each student’s interests. From time to time, students are given tuition in set classes (even these schools can’t escape the imposed test mania) but it is their interest-driven studies that get them over the line and graduating at high rates.’
A few years ago Viv White and others formed an incorporated company, Big Picture Education Australia, to bring the model to Australia. Backed by funding from the philanthropic and business sector, (including by Social Ventures Australia), and five years later, the organisation is now working with three dozen public secondary schools in Australia to convert them to the Big Picture model.
‘Like any schools that serve disadvantaged children and communities, many Big Picture schools face quite a struggle, restoring hope for badly bruised young people and their families. By all accounts it is a battle they are winning.’
Read the full article here.
University of Sydney awards outstanding alumni
10 November 2010
The University of Sydney has honoured Jack Manning Bancroft, CEO of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), with its Alumni Award for Young Alumni Achievement, which he will share with Ross Langdon, a talented young architect.
Mr Manning Bancroft became CEO at the age of 22 when AIME incorporated in 2008. He was this year named New South Wales Young Australian of the Year.
Other recipients of this year’s University of Sydney Alumni Awards include Clover Moore MP, Lord Major of the City of Sydney, Dr John Laker AO and the Rt Hon Lady Gardner of Parkes AM JP.
Read the full article.
AIME Strut the Streets 2010
8 November 2010
On 3 December 2010, AIME hopes attract 1000 ‘strutters’ to Sydney’s Martin Place in Budgy Smugglers and Smugglettes to raise money and awareness for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).
AIME’s core business is to partner university students in one-on-one mentoring relationships with Indigenous high school students. AIME is now working with 1000 Indigenous High School students and has the goal of working with 6000 a year by 2020. AIME increases Year 10 and Year 12 completion rates and university admission rates for its Indigenous students.
CEO Jack Manning Bancroft explains the value that AIME Strut the Streets can bring to the country: ‘For a lot of the kids we work with they are held back by this concept of shame, so much so that they think it’s cool to say ‘nah that’s shame’ and to not have a go. In one of our sessions with the kids we look up the word ‘Shame’ in an Aboriginal language dictionary, and can’t find it anywhere. Then we look up ‘shame’ in the Oxford Dictionary and find that it means ‘to be inadequate’.
AIME Strut the Streets will send a message to Indigenous kids across the country that there is no such thing as shame, and no Indigenous child needs to ever feel inadequate.’
To purchase a ticket, or sponsor a strutter, head to www.strutthestreets.com
Social Firms Forum 2010 – In Search of the Goldilocks Zone
27 October 2010
Former SVA venture partner, Social Firms Australia (SoFA), is hosting its annual Social Firms Forum in Melbourne on Thursday 18 November 2010. This year’s theme is ‘In Search of the Goldilocks Zone – Workplaces that Work for Everyone’.
Speakers include Associate Professor John Armstrong, Professor David Castle and SVA’s own Kevin Robbie and Simon Faivel.
Registrations to the forum can be made here.
Small steps can change the fortunes of Aboriginal people
25 October 2010
Madeleine Madden, the 13 year old Indigenous student from Sydney who made a TV address to the nation on 24 October, has referenced SVA venture partner, AIME, in a follow-up opinion piece in The Age.
Madeleine mentioned AIME as it has the University of Sydney as one of its hubs, from where Madeleine’s grandfather, Charles Perkins, was the first Indigenous man to graduate. It was also from there that he led the famous Freedom Ride that brought attention to the racism that Indigenous people in Australia faced at that time.
Madeleine’s appearance on TV was to encourage support for GenerationOne, the movement that aims to bring all Australians together to end the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to an end in one generation.
You can register to be part of Generation One at www.generationone.org.au.
Tracy Gary workshop – Accelerating social change
Join Tracy Gary, Social Ventures Australia, The Sydney Women’s Fund and Victorian Women’s Trust as we unpack social change philanthropy and the vehicles of social ventures and women-led social enterprises.
The first of its kind event will showcase the collective wisdom and insights of three local and global social changemakers.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the Melbourne (19 October) and Sydney (21 October) events.
Inaugural Kids Helping Kids Awards finalists named
15 October 2010
Thirteen Australian schools have been named finalists in SchoolAid’s first Kids Helping Kids Awards. Chosen as outstanding examples of philanthropy in action, the schools represent the wealth and diversity of education in Australia.
The Kids Helping Kids Awards is enjoying an incredible first year, with 162 entries received from schools right across the nation. Examples of entries include iconic Aussie school Alice Springs School of the Air in NT which coordinates its philanthropy via regular student webcam meetings and Greenlands Primary School in regional QLD which works collaboratively to hold an annual Motocross event, raising funds to support their community and kids in need.
The finalists are, by category:
- Microsoft Most Innovative ‐ The Wilderness School (SA) and PLC Croydon (NSW);
- Outstanding Individual Teacher ‐ Sorell Public School (TAS) and Deepdene Public School (VIC);
- Sustainability ‐ Rostrevor College (SA), Keyneton Primary School (SA), Forest Crescent Primary (WA) and Huonville High (TAS);
- Biggest Fundraiser ‐ Masada College (NSW), St Lawrence Primary School (WA) and Maroochydore High School (QLD);
- Best Local Project ‐ Greenlands Primary School (QLD) and Nangiloc Colignan Primary (VIC).
All category winners and the overall winner will be announced on 1 November 2010 at www.schoolaid.org.au
Café Ink wins ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award of Excellence
15 October 2010
Peter Reynolds in the Canberra Chronicle reports that Café Ink, a social enterprise supported by the ACT Social Enterprise Hub, has been awarded this year’s ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award of Excellence.
In operation for five months, the café was established by Woden Community Services to create employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged people.
Manager of Café Ink, Matthew Gallagher, said, ‘I think the public sees Cafe Ink not only as a place to get a good coffee or meal, but also as a place that has a positive social impact that they can contribute to. On the employment side, the cafe has gone far beyond what we could have hoped for. We have created 10 steady employment places, and there has been a visible transformation in the people that are employed, not only with their work skills, but also their confidence levels and gaining access to the community outside of the workplace.’
The Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards are public acknowledgement of the achievements of business, organisations and individuals who have demonstrated a clear commitment to include people with a disability in their workplace, business and/or community.
Visit the Café Ink website.
Education – The foundation for social change
14 October 2010
At the heart of SVA´s strategy is a determination to improve education outcomes for 220,000 young Australians living in some of our nation´s most disadvantaged communities. On 14 October a small group of SVA supporters gathered to hear about SVA’s education strategy and the work being done by three leading educational practitioners that SVA is proud to work with.
The informing evening hosted by SVA’s long standing supporters, Gary and Penny Gerstle, began with a wonderful acknowledgement of country by Adam Linforth, CFO of SVA venture partner AIME, who recounted the story of local Indigenous people’s first meeting with early settlers at a nearby cove.
Sam Perry (AIME), Viv White (Big Picture Education Australia) and Melodie Potts-Rosevear (Teach For Australia) then provided thoughtful and honest insights about both the progress made and challenges faced by their organisations.
One exchange initiated by the event’s MC, Michael Traill AM, invited the guest speakers to outline the biggest single roadblock they faced. Their answers, covering the gamut of poor community attitudes to Indigenous people, tedious regulatory barriers and short term political cycles, underlined that while education may be the foundation for social change, all facets of our society need to better play their part to affect a real and lasting difference for those that most need it.
Repairing shattered lives by giving people on the dole a fair go
27 September 2010
Terry White, a participant in the Fair Repairs program (run under the umbrella of Fair Business), has spoken about his experience of coming out of long-term unemployment and into work to Paul Bibby in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Trying to support his family of four children on weekly welfare was very difficult for Terry, but twelve months ago a project called Fair Repairs started in Campbelltown, delivering cleaning and maintenance services to the region’s housing estates and staffed almost exclusively by unemployed men and women from the area. Mr White was one of the first participants.
In the last year the business has registered just two sick days across its staff of 21. Only two of the participants have quit and some have moved on to other work. The project is financially sustainable.
‘The last six to eight months has been a high,’ Terry says. ‘The business is getting bigger – now we’ve got five or six vans, ride-on mowers. Going full time is the first step. But I want to run Fair Repairs in five to 10 years.’
Read the full article here.
Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes CEO wins Telstra NSW community award
24 September 2010
Sr. Margaret Flynn, Chief Executive of former SVA venture partner Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes, has won the White Pages Community and Government category in the Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards.
The former school principal and family counsellor established the Centacare agency in the State’s western region with an annual budget of $3,000 – it now stands at $16 million. A vigorous champion of the rights of women and Indigenous communities, Sister Margaret leads a staff of 125 – 85 per cent are women and 20 per cent are Indigenous.
SecondBite win Victorian government community award
22 September 2010
The SecondBite Community Connect™ program was announced as the award winner in the ‘New Ways To Engage With The Community’ category at the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development summit, held in Melbourne today.
Katy Barfield, Executive Director of SecondBite, accepted the award from Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Community Development and said, ‘SecondBite Community Connect™ is a ground breaking model of redistributing surplus food to community groups, where we partner a local community food program with a local food donor to enable nutritious surplus fresh food to be collected and distributed to people in need. Food that would have otherwise gone to landfill is transformed into meals or food parcels.’
Donating to a good cause is easy with this investment option
22 September 2010
Simon Hoyle in The Australian writes about the increasing number of people who want a more structured vehicle to help in their philanthropic endeavours and how thanks to Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) and a newly launched service from SVA, help is at hand.
David Ward, director of SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund service is quoted in the article saying that SVA’s PAF service is ‘designed to inspire and support individuals and financial planners to set up and run PAFs’.
The article continues to explain the relative ease of setting up and managing a PAF and highlights some of the investment issues to consider such as franking credits.
Read the full article here.
Thongs of praise – Youngcare Thong Day
19 September 2010
Youngcare’s fundraising Thong Day celebrations received a write-up in the Sunday Telegraph on 19 September. Thong-bassadors Gyton Grantley and Wil Anderson are putting their best feet forward to support the event to raise money for Youngcare, the charity that helps fund care and accommodation for young Australians in need of full-time care.
‘This is simple,’ said comedian Anderson, ‘there is a large group of people within our community who have specialised needs that are not being properly catered for. Thousands are stuck in aged-care facilities and we can raise the money to put them in more appropriate care where they can be with people their own age.’
Fundraisers can register their Thong-a-thon event at www.thongday.com.au and could win a surprise visit from a celebrity ambassador.
Young Indigenous find future
15 September 2010
Adam Hansen had been in and out of trouble – and school – for years, until his arrest for car theft provided an epiphany. He made the decision to build a different life for himself and now, nine years later, is a third year student at university and cadet program manager for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). Had AIME been there to support him when he was in school, Adam thinks life might have been that bit easier.
“I wish AIME had been around when I was at school, it definitely would have helped me out.”
“I didn’t have any positive indigenous role models with links to education, I didn’t see education as being a pathway to my future.”
Read Jill Rowbotham’s full story in The Australian about Adam’s work with AIME, the program founded by Jack Manning Bancroft that is supporting over 500 Indigenous high school students to stay in school and make it to university.
SVA launches new philanthropic advisory service
20 September 2010
SVA has launched a new service to encourage more people to engage in philanthropy by establishing Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs).
SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund Service offers a one-stop-shop for Australian philanthropists to learn how easy it is to establish a PAF as a vehicle to better manage their giving and support the non-profit sector. The service also connects those considering establishing a PAF with philanthropists who already have one in place, to enable real-world experiences and learnings to be shared.
The launch event was hosted by Michael Traill AM, Chief Executive of SVA and Chris Cuffe, Chairman of the SVA Future Trust. Senator Ursula Stephens, officially launched the service, who said the Federal Government has been discussing with philanthropists and fund managers around Australia ways that the Government can help support the continued growth of philanthropy in Australia.
‘We share SVA’s vision of a vibrant Australian philanthropic community and we look forward to working with SVA as a valued partner in driving philanthropy.’
‘We are also committed to implementing our non-profit sector reform agenda, which will increase transparency and accountability across the sector, further encouraging philanthropy by building confidence that donations are well spent,’ said Senator Stephens.
Other guests at the launch included David Gonski AC, a member of SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund Advisory Council, Gilbert & Tobin head Danny Gilbert, Sam Meers representing the Nelson Meers Foundation, and Gary Gerstle of MAN Investments Australia.
Click here to learn more about SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund Service.
New role for Jan Owen AM
14 July 2010
After eight years with SVA, Jan Owen AM is leaving her role as Executive Director to take on a new role as Chief Executive of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).
Commenting on Jan’s appointment, SVA CEO Michael Traill AM said: ‘Jan has been an anchor partner in all that SVA has done since our establishment in 2002. At a personal and professional level her passion, energy and in depth perspective on the sector will be deeply missed.’
Reflecting on her time at SVA, Jan Owen AM said: “SVA has contributed to very real and practical innovation and investment in the social sector within Australia and is well placed to inspire, influence and collaborate in the social change revolution which I firmly believe is unfolding before us.
‘It has been a profound privilege to work with the SVA team, many great social entrepreneurs and ventures, our investors, and our partners in community, philanthropy, business and government across the country over the past eight years.’
Leah Armstrong to join Reconciliation Australia
5 July 2010
SVA’s Leah Armstrong has been appointed as the new CEO of Reconciliation Australia.
Leah has been working with SVA for the past year, providing significant input to SVA’s thinking about the social enterprise sector and potential partnership opportunities.
‘We will miss Leah’s valuable contribution to SVA but are very aware of the critical importance of her new role at Reconciliation Australia, which seeks to join indigenous and non-indigenous Australia in new understanding and hope through practical leadership and tangible change. We wish Leah only the very best for her new challenge’, said Michael Traill, SVA Chief Executive.
Business planning guide for social enterprises launched
23 June 2010
SVA, in partnership with Parramatta City Council, has published a new Business Planning Guide specifically for social enterprises. The Guide is designed to take social entrepreneurs through the step-by-step process of turning an initial idea for a social enterprise into reality and includes useful things to think about and watch out for along the way, as well as a business plan template to follow.
Speaking at a Parramatta Social Enterprise Hub event, SVA’s Kevin Robbie said:
‘We hope the guide will be an invaluable tool for every social entrepreneur who is looking to attract investors, allowing them to avoid obvious but dangerous pitfalls when trying to get an idea off the ground.’
The Business Planning Guide is available to download here. [PDF file size: 1.8MB]
Engineer of childcare takeover honoured
14 June 2010
Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Kate Lahey reports on SVA’s CEO Michael Traill being made a member of the Order of Australia in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Michael was awarded for his service to non-profit organisations through the development and implementation of effective financial systems and mentoring, and as a facilitator for social change.
PAFs make it easier
3 June 2010
In this article for the Australian Financial Review, Mark Lawson discusses the recent regulatory changes associated with the transition from Prescribed Private Funds (PPFs) to the new Private Ancillary Funds (PAFS) structure. These structures are the preferred vehicles for high-net-worth individuals who are seeking to take a more structured approach to their philanthropy.
AIME National Hoodie Day fast approaching
We are all too familiar with the unacceptable statistics surrounding Indigenous education outcomes in Australia. SVA Venture Partner, AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience), operates to address these insidious trends and improve the education outcomes of youth in Years 7-12 by instilling the aspiration and sharing the skills needed to encourage them to attend school, continue their education and raise their levels of attainment.
Already after a few short years, AIME is demonstrating its transformational impact on Australia’s Indigenous high school students and those non-Indigenous university students who are putting up their hands to work as mentors. Each week 1000 mentors walk with 1000 Indigenous students across the East Coast of Australia in 2010.
Now AIME is looking to the corporate world to back the Indigenous youth of today and participate in the AIME National Hoodie Day, a fundraiser and education awareness day, to be held on 21 July 2010.
By becoming a corporate partner of AIME’s National Hoodie Day, your organisation can back the work of those on the ground to help Indigenous kids succeed and provide a safe arena for your staff to engage with Indigenous Australia and grow from the experience.
Individuals can contribute by simply purchasing one of AIME’s distinctive red hoodies. For more information, take a look at the website which is live from 21 June – www.nationalhoodieday.com
Money is only the first step to giving
3 June 2010
In this Special Report on Corporate Giving in the Australian Financial Review, Mark Lawson reports on the USA Venture Philanthropy model, and cites Social Ventures Australia as an example of an organisation that has brought a similar model to Australia. The article includes comments from SVA’s CEO Michael Traill, who explains that in this type of model, non-profit ventures receive more than just a financial contribution, but also broader strategic support, similar to the way a venture capital organisation operates.
The article also refers to SVA’s venture partner Beacon Foundation, with Beacon CEO Scott Harris explaining that as a beneficiary of this kind of support, Beacon is now able to more clearly demonstrate the impact of their work, thanks to the Social Return on Investment (SROI) project that SVA conducted on their behalf.
Cause and effect
1 June 2010
Melbourne’s Herald Sun reports on the unique approach taken by SVA’s venture partner School Aid, to reward children from Melbourne’s Deepdene Primary School who raised money for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal. School Aid arranged for Plan International’s emergency specialist Dr Unni Krishnan to visit the school and explain to the students firsthand how their fundraising efforts have made a difference to the children of Haiti. Read the full article here.
The two sides of obsession
29 May 2010
Emma Connors from the Australian Financial Review writes about the pitfalls and rewards for those with an obsessive style personality. Emma talks to SVA’s CEO Michael Traill, a self-confessed Type A personality, about his experiences in corporate life at Macquarie Bank and whether his life is more balanced now he has transitioned to the non-profit sector.
Traill admits that he is still not immune to occasionally losing sight of what’s important, telling the story of his young daughter’s observations of what’s changed since his departure from the corporate sector.
It takes more than just a village to save the kids
15 May 2010
In this feature story in the Sydney Morning Herald, Adele Horin traces the history of the GoodStart non-profit consortium – from initial concept through to its successful bid for 678 of the ABC Learning childcare centres. The article highlights the contribution of the major players in the deal, including SVA CEO Michael Traill. Read the full story here.
SVA’s social enterprise projects get underway
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) continues to support and invest in sustainable social enterprises with the selection process for identifying suitable social enterprises to support via a number of different projects well under way.
‘Supporting Social Enterprises Project’ funded by the Australian Government’s Jobs Fund initiative is focused on supporting and investing in social enterprises that are creating meaningful employment opportunities for those disadvantaged in the labour market in three local areas – Logan and Ipswich in Queensland, and the western suburbs of Sydney.
SVA is also working on the implementation of two projects in Queensland with the support of the Queensland Government. The ‘Youth Enterprises Partnership Project’ will fund the establishment of two social enterprises in Brisbane and Townsville that specifically target young people aged between 15 and 18 who have either recently entered the youth justice system and are at risk of reoffending or are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. Meanwhile, the ‘Queensland Inclusive Social Enterprises Project’ will support the development of social enterprises that are focused on employing people who have been long-term unemployed due to mental health issues.
Michael Traill, SVA’s Chief Executive, commented:
‘Each of these projects will play an important role in supporting the social enterprise sector in Australia. The enterprises we work with will receive important support, such as mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as investment. This wrap round support is vital to help them progress to the next stage in their development. We look forward to tracking and reporting on their progress over the coming months and years.’
Inaugural Kids Helping Kids Awards launches
Social Ventures Australia’s (SVA) venture partner SchoolAid is providing teachers and students across Australia with an opportunity to celebrate and showcase their outstanding fundraising activities with the inaugural ‘Kids Helping Kids Awards’.
For the very first time, Australian schools will have the opportunity to be acknowledged and rewarded for their excellence in school based philanthropy. Entries for the Kids Helping Kids Awards open on 30 April 2010, with a chance for your local school to win fantastic prizes from Awards Partners, Microsoft and Cartoon Network.
SchoolAid’s stellar line up of celebrity Awards Ambassadors and Judges includes media commentator and children’s author, Andrew Daddo; former captain of the World Champion Australian Netball team, Anne Sargeant; Microsoft’s Worldwide Innovative Teacher 2009, Mark Sparvell; and Director of UTS Centre for Child and Youth: Culture and Wellbeing, Professor Rosemary Ross Johnston, along with many other inspirational and familiar faces. The Ambassadors and Judges represent Australia’s leaders in education, entertainment, media and commerce – all with a strong commitment to creating a culture of empathy and social responsibility amongst all Australian children. Awards Ambassadors will personally visit winning schools throughout November 2010, meeting students, recognising their achievements, and presenting prizes.
SchoolAid brings a greater depth of meaning to students bringing in their $1 coin for a cause by setting a learning context around school philanthropic activity. Thanks to the generous support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, the Kids Helping Kids Awards is SchoolAid’s way of rewarding and celebrating the efforts of kids and their educators in this process.
SchoolAid’s campaigns and projects complement the current teaching curriculum, providing a unique learning tool for values-based education. SchoolAid and the Awards also deliver a fun and fulfilling activity to promote and encourage leadership and compassion by student groups within the school community.
The Kids Helping Kids Awards will recognise and nurture the growth of a community of socially active citizens making a difference in the world, whilst developing networks of like-minded students around the country through SchoolAid’s online community. The Awards allow kids to turn their innate compassion and empathy for other children into tangible action.
Visit www.schoolaid.org.au/awards for all the details on how to register for your chance to win.
The lines are open and Youngcare is listening
A dramatic surge in demand for counselling, support and advice for young people with disabilities has seen Social Ventures Australia’s (SVA) venture partner Youngcare, introduce a new support service, ‘Youngcare Connect’
As a non-profit organisation working to redress the issue of 6,500 young people currently residing in aged care, Youngcare has been so overwhelmed with requests for information, advice and support they’ve launched a dedicated phone counselling line.
‘Youngcare Connect has been launched in direct response to the thousands of people who have approached us desperate for advice and assistance relating to young people with high care needs,’ Youngcare CEO Marina Vit said.
‘Whether it is the young people themselves, their families, friends or carers, we have been inundated by requests for information and guidance – many people don’t know where else to go or who else to turn to.’
The dedicated counselling and referral line will be aimed at helping those in immediate need of disability information, advice and support.
‘Young people requiring 24/7 care is both a very emotional and complex issue; knowing where to get the right advice and information is the first step in a very long journey,’ Vit said.
‘By providing a single point of contact for appropriate referral pathways, Youngcare hopes to further its mission by connecting young people with their community and the greater health industry.’
Melissa James has been appointed as the first Youngcare Connect Liaison Officer to field calls from young people and their families, provide the relevant referral and information on available programs and to ensure that all queries are appropriately answered.
Youngcare Connect will initially be staffed part-time with the support of dedicated volunteers and will be managed by Melissa.
The Youngcare Connect help line is made possible by Suncorp Insurance.
Wondrous vision of capitalism with a conscience
16 March 2010
In this article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher covers the recent visit to Australia by Nobel Laureate Muhummad Yunus. Hartcher explains that Yunus wants to ‘give capitalism a soul’ and how is doing just that through the various social enterprises the Grameen group is involved with.
Citing examples such as Grameen-Damone which sells low cost high nutritional yoghurt to the people of Bangladesh and Grameen-Adidas which sells low cost footwear in the same market, Yunus believes the world’s social problems can be solved through social businesses.
Read the full article, including a quote from SVA’s CEO Michael Traill on the potential of social enterprise sector in Australia, here.
A capital idea
3 March 2010
Writing for the Social Investment column in The Australian, a monthly column on philanthropy sponsored by the Pratt Foundation, SVA’s CEO Michael Traill reflects on the formation of the GoodStart non-profit syndicate, the preferred bidder for 678 ABC ABC Learning childcare centres.
In particular Traill focuses on the challenges the syndicate faced in accessing adequate capital to make a credible bid and highlights this as a systemic problem for the non-profit and social enterprise sector in Australia. Traill suggests there are a number of lessons from the GoodStart experience that are fundamental to bridging this social capital gap:
- recognising and promoting the role of social capital providers;
- ensuring collaboration and partnership within and across sectors;
- insisting on clarity around both business and social objectives of this style of enterprise.
Third annual Youngcare benefit concert
The Youngcare Benefit Concert 2010 at the Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane on 26 March 2010 promises to be an event to remember, with two stars of Australian music, Bernard Fanning and Clare Bowditch, performing to raise funds and awareness for SVA venture partner Youngcare. Fanning and Bowditch will be joined by a special line up of guest performers, including host Julian Morrow.
Find out more.
SVA’s ‘Understanding Social Enterprises’ workshops
Brisbane – 2 March 2010
Workshop One – Understanding and running successful social enterprises
This workshop will provide participants with a solid understanding of what a social enterprise is, the different kinds of social enterprises and the process for establishing a social enterprise designed to deliver employment outcomes. This could include employment outcomes for people with a mental illness.
Workshop Two – How to apply for support and investment
This workshop will outline how SVA can support social enterprises located in Brisbane and the application process involved.
For more information on either of the above sessions, please contact Susan Black on email@example.com.
Grameen model can inspire social investment
1 March 2010
Writing in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, SVA’s CEO Michael Traill argues that the creation of a new social investment market in Australia would facilitate new flows of capital to support disadvantaged members of the community.
Traill takes the case studies of Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank and Andy Kuper’s Leapfrog, and asks why the same thinking that led to these inspirational stories in developing nations can’t be applied to more advanced economies. He highlights the lesson from Yunus and Kuper’s work – that allocating capital in a different and more thoughtful way is powerful and that this shift has the potential to achieve both financial returns and social outcomes for investors.
Using the announcement of the GoodStart syndicate of four non-profit organisations as the preferred bidder for 678 ABC Learning Centres as a case in point, Traill goes on to highlight other opportunities in the employment and social enterprise sector that could also be based on this social investment model.
Building bridges for at-risk students hits troubled waters
13 February 2010
Former SVA venture partner Hands On Learning recently featured in an article in The Age, where Denise Ryan highlights the critical funding shortage at a number of their partner schools, which has forced the closure of their program at Mornington Secondary College and Monterey Secondary College in Frankston North. Read the full article here or find out how you can help support this practical program.
SchoolAid’s Haiti Earthquake Emergency Appeal
SVA’s venture partner SchoolAid has teamed up with Plan Australia and Save the Children for their Haiti Earthquake Emergency appeal.
The catastrophic 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on 13 January 2010, severely damaging the capital Port-au-Prince. 3.5 million people have been affected with tens and tens of thousands of people confirmed dead.
SchoolAid is urging schools and their students to get involved via both fundraising support, as well as sending messages of hope to the children of Haiti.
Find out how you can get involved here.
School for Social Entrepreneurs celebrates!
SVA is proud to be a major supporter of the School for Social Entrepreneurs as the school celebrates a number of significant milestones.
In February 2010, the inaugural 2009 Sydney class will be graduating, with a ceremony planned to recognise the achievements and stories of these inspiring students. The second Sydney class is already underway, and applications for the third program to be run during 2010 are now open.
The school continues its expansion program and in April will be launching the Melbourne branch of the school, with the first Victorian program to be run from April to December 2010. Applications for this program are also open now.
So if you have an innovative project, business or idea to address an unmet social or community need and are seeking a supportive and collaborative environment to develop skills that can effect change, why not find out more?
New leadership for new times
3 February 2010
SVA is fortunate to have access to a number of business and thought leaders through the SVA Leadership Council, an advisory group that provides SVA with input and guidance on strategic funding opportunities and networks.
One of the Leadership Council’s international members, Norman Drummond, was recently in Australia and with the support of Macquarie Group Foundation, SVA was able to take this opportunity to host an intimate cocktail reception for some key SVA supporters in Sydney.
Attendees at this event heard the thoughts of both Norman Drummond and Hugh Mackay, on why and how leadership must adapt to different times – a topic that was particularly relevant for the start of a new decade.
Hugh Mackay, prominent Australian social researcher and novelist, provided the audience with some insightful observations on the changing attitudes and behaviour of Australians as the Australian economy enters into the recovery phase, while Norman Drummond provided an international perspective, from his experience as a leading Scottish business consultant, executive coach and social entrepreneur.
Judging by the number of questions put to the speakers during the question and answer session chaired by SVA CEO Michael Traill, attendees found the session to be extremely thought provoking and worthwhile.
Philanthropy bounces back
4 January 2010
In this piece for Business Spectator, Lisa Cotton, SVA’s Director of Social Investment, highlights that despite the global financial crisis placing strain on philanthropy and the non-profit sector, paradoxically, it is also serving to significantly strengthen leadership in the sectors. Discerning non-profit groups are making decisive long term plans, examining their strategies and revenue streams, and working harder to forge trusting relationships with funders who are placing greater demands on outcome measurements and impact.
Lisa concludes that when combined with smarter, more sustainable practices across all sectors, these tougher times offer great possibilities for positive long-term social change. Read the full article.