SVA Education Dialogue: Turning bright spots into a bright system
30 November 2011
The inaugural SVA Education Dialogue was hosted by Social Ventures Australia in September 2011. The participants were a cross-sector and cross-state group of leading practitioners, thinkers, bureaucrats, funders and academics.
Our aim for the day was to showcase what is working to turnaround student achievement in our most disadvantaged schools and identify how we can duplicate this success and ultimately achieve system-wide improvement. In other words, how we can turn bright spots into a bright system.
SVA is committed to harnessing the power of this unique group and providing further opportunities to showcase what is working for disadvantaged students and schools. We anticipate significant opportunities to collaborate on projects that will enable further knowledge development and sharing and also contribute to ongoing systemic change.
A key output of the day was a document summarising the discussion, which will inform conversations regarding priorities and future work. Read the full document here. [PDF file size: 651KB]
Connecting bright spots to their potential
23 November 2011
At SVA we realise the power of connections, because sometimes when you find ways to connect people from different worlds, a bit of magic happens. And that’s exactly what happened this week when a dozen student leaders from Toronto High School, a school SVA’s Education Team has identified as a ‘Bright Spot’ and whose Principal, Mark McConville, participated in SVA’s Education Dialogue, paid a visit to the’ big smoke’.
Co-ordinated by SVA’s Education Team and hosted by SVA’s Education Advisor Maxine McKew, the aim was to broaden students’ experiences and aspirations and provide a taste of ‘corporate’ Sydney. Over the course of the visit the students peered inside the City’s ivory towers to see what lay behind the world of work at Man Investments and Atlassian Software, two great SVA corporate supporters.
What the students heard were fascinating, engaging and authentic insights from an eclectic spread of people with very different backgrounds and very different jobs. What they learnt was that successful people work hard and are passionate about they do. What they walked away with, was the belief that with education as the foundation, anything is possible.
New support for social enterprises in Queensland
10 November 2011
SVA is delighted that their work in supporting social enterprise development in Queensland is continuing thanks to a new initiative, The Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership, funded by the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) and Department of Communities.
The partnership is designed to continue and expand SVA’s work supporting social enterprises in Queensland that are creating employment opportunities for people who are excluded from the labour market.
SVA will continue to provide business and relationship management to 15 social enterprises previously supported through other projects. Additionally, the partnership will enable SVA to offer investment plus support to up to 10 new social enterprises in Queensland. The selected social enterprises will benefit from practical business support, expertise, training and funding that will assist them to grow and create jobs.
New appointment to the SVA Board
18 October 2011
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is delighted to announce that Dr Lisa O’Brien, CEO of The Smith Family has been appointed to the SVA Board. This follows the resignation of long serving member Elaine Henry OAM.
Dr O’Brien has over 20 years experience in leadership roles in the health, community services, bio-technology and information technology industries. Dr O’Brien is a registered medical practitioner and specialist medical administrator. Prior to joining The Smith Family she was CEO of the Skin and Cancer Foundation of Australia.
SVA Chair Paul Robertson AM said: “I look forward to working closely with Lisa as we enter the next phase of SVA’s development. The Smith Family’s focus on education is strongly aligned with SVA’s belief that improving education outcomes for disadvantaged Australians is one of the foundations for social change. Lisa’s knowledge and networks in education along with her broader leadership experience will be a significant asset to SVA.”
Reflecting on Ms Henry’s time on the SVA Board, Mr Robertson added: “I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank Elaine for her service and contribution to SVA over the past nine years. Elaine is passionate about improving the lives of those most vulnerable in our community and as one of SVA’s founding directors, she has played an important role in guiding and influencing the direction and focus of SVA’s work.”
Benefiting from social bonds
16 October 2011
SVA is delighted to see further developments in the nascent Social Finance market in Australia with the NSW Government recently announcing an initiative to trial two Social Benefit Bonds in the areas of out-of-home care and recidivism.
Designed to encourage private investors to work collaboratively with the public and community in the delivery of programs, the essence of the initiative is that the obligation by the Government to pay for the outsourced services will be entirely performance based.
The Out Of Home Care pilot will focus on offering parents support to take care of children without the need for foster care, while the recidivism pilot will explore the extent to which prisoners can be assisted to return to society and not re-offend.
Non-profits will fund the delivery of their programs with private money, i.e. through issuing a bond, with terms that reflect this performance based structure and the associated social and financial returns.
The launch followed the evaluation work undertaken by the former Labor government, with the new O’Farrell administration adopting the idea and issuing a 53 page request for proposal last month.
The NSW Government is attracted by the potential savings and the innovative nature of bonds which were originally devised by Sir Ron Cohen’s Social Finance UK team and were used to fund a reduction in recidivism at Peterborough prison in UK. There were a number of NGOs that provided the underlying service such as St Giles Trust and the YMCA.
“We see this announcement as very positive for the sector,” said SVA Executive Director Social Finance and Philanthropy, Ian Learmonth.
“The NSW Government will be undertaking a six month development period with selected parties to finalise the structure and agree the performance based model. We believe this will be an important part of the process. Attracting investors to the bonds will be key and this can only be achieved if the model is right.”
The recently formed SVA Social Finance team is continuing to explore ways in which SVA can further support the expansion of the social finance market in Australia.
The ACT gets behind social enterprise
11 October 2011
Measuring the benefits of social procurement and showcasing some of the region’s most exciting social enterprises were on the agenda when around 75 people gathered for the ACT Social Enterprise Hub’s ‘Public Money for Public Benefit II: Measuring Social Return on Investment’ event today.
The half-day event was also an informal and slightly belated celebration of the ACT Social Enterprise Hub’s second birthday. Launched in June 2009, the Hub now supports eleven social enterprises and has helped create jobs or income streams for around 100 people who would be otherwise struggle to secure meaningful and sustainable employment.
Generously sponsored by the Canberra Museum and Gallery, this latest event was a sequel to the first ‘Public Money for Public Benefit’ event held in June 2011. That panel discussion preceded moves by the ACT Government to introduce new guidelines to encourage social procurement. Since then, three demonstration projects have been established, with a clause for consideration of possible social benefits now applied to every ACT Government contract.
To ensure this momentum is maintained, a morning information session was planned around a visit to Canberra by the UK’s Jeremy Nicholls, one of the world’s leading experts on social return on investment (SROI). After Jeremy’s presentation on the history, tools and methodologies of measuring social impact as well as the international perspective, SVA’s own Kevin Robbie further elaborated on the Australian experience, illustrated by a number of local case studies from SVA’s substantial portfolio of work.
Following these engaging presentations, attendees – including ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch and other esteemed Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly – were able to enjoy refreshments while visiting the ACT Social Enterprise Hub Showcase.
For the first time, 18 established or up-and-coming social enterprises were gathered together in the one place, offering attendees the rare opportunity to check out the wide range of products and services on offer, and to meet the people behind the businesses and hear their stories.
Finally, an exclusive invitation-only roundtable meeting was held and attended by the Director’s-General (or their representatives) of ACT Government departments, where Jeremy and Kevin were able to discuss specific ideas, challenges and strategies to make progress in the local environment.
Find out more about how the ACT Social Enterprise Hub is supporting social enterprise here.
Just go for it!
10 October 2011
As a young girl, Tara Hunt was deeply influenced by a nun at her school who gave an enormous amount of time and energy back to her local community. Although the sister had no material wealth to share, her generosity of spirit remained with Tara and when she was fortunate to receive an inheritance, shaped part of her inspiration to give back to society.
After reading an article about Private Ancillary Funds (or PPFs as they were then called), Tara undertook some research and decided a Private Ancillary Fund (PAF) would allow her to invest the shares she had without selling them, give away an amount each year, and then keep giving. It provided Tara, her husband and their children with a reason to discuss giving.
The first project that Tara ever supported is still very dear to her heart. A journalist friend suggested that she go to Cairns, to visit a women’s service that had been in operation for 30 years and was in danger of closure. The centre provides maternity support, health and accommodation to Indigenous women across Cape York and had never received private funding before Tara stepped in. Needing a carport to get their busses off the street, Tara’s assistance helped keep the centre’s doors open. From that initial donation, Tara has visited the centre many times over the years, meeting the staff who work there and the women who use the centre’s services, and has been profoundly affected by the community she is now a part of.
“I never expected to receive the rewards I have experienced at all. The connections we’ve made, the people we’ve met along the way have been a total delight.”
Tara also relishes the opportunity to teach her children that the world of privilege in which they live, is not shared by everyone. The Hunt Foundation PAF is a powerful tool for Tara and her husband to help instil the joys of giving in their daughters and help them to realise that buying a bigger car or house is not what’s important – that to give, and not just money, is what happiness and satisfaction is all about.
Tara’s daughters recently attended the opening of a brand new $2 million centre with her in Cairns and are now coming to her with ideas about where their annual donation should be made.
And while Tara does not expect her children to take over the PAF when they are older, she hopes that their early exposure to philanthropy will teach them how to contribute to the world, in their own way.
Although Tara finds it hard to adequately portray the difference between just giving and being involved, it’s the extraordinary people she’s met, the life lessons for her children, the unforgettable eight hour trip in a troop carrier across the desert to visit a project. These are the priceless benefits of Tara’s giving, benefits that she could never have foreseen and that make her want to just keep giving.
Ask Tara what her Private Ancillary Fund means to her, and her answer is disarmingly direct.
“The most rewarding thing I have done and our family has done together. Just go for it”
Read more about SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund Service.
Ambition meets conscience
6 October 2011
SVA is delighted to announce the entry of Teach For Australia into our venture portfolio.
Teach For Australia is an ambitious social enterprise working to confront educational disadvantage in Australia by attracting some of our country’s most outstanding young individuals – passionate and determined leaders of change who represent all disciplines and career interests – and empowering them to pursue teaching as part of their career journey.
Teach For Australia’s immediate objective is to improve student outcomes in areas of educational disadvantage by attracting and supporting outstanding individuals to teach in disadvantaged schools for at least two years.
Longer term, Teach For Australia is building a network of alumni to form part of a lifelong movement of passionate and socially aware leaders who will remain connected with the Teach For Australia mission and who will continue to make an impact on improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged young Australians.
To achieve these objectives Teach For Australia recruits outstanding, well-rounded graduates from all disciplines who have the distinguished academic performance, leadership experience, and communication and empathy skills to succeed in teaching in disadvantaged schools as Teach For Australia Associates. Working in partnership with academic institutions, the public sector and a variety of supporting partners, Teach For Australia facilitates the development of Associates through strong, evidence-based education, on-going support in the classroom, and leadership programs – all the while focusing intently on improving student outcomes in the classroom.
As part of their inclusion in the venture portfolio, Teach for Australia will receive strategic assistance and consulting services pertaining to a number of key projects, including driving greater efficiencies in their business model and development of a funding plan. The partnership is designed to assist Teach for Australia as they seek to scale their operation and collect evidence of the positive impact Teach for Australia is having on increasing educational equity in Australia.
SVA venture partners to speak at TEDxCanberra
21 September 2011
Through a series of personal stories, Sam will share his inspiring vision for the next generation of Australian leaders. He will talk about breaking historical and political conventions, reciprocal learning environments, young people leading by example and Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth working together to mutually better their lives.
Rebecca will share her ideas about the power of informed purchasing and conscious consumption. Through her Melbourne-based social enterprise STREAT, Rebecca will show us how every one of us has the capacity to affect positive, significant social change.
Taking place at the National Library of Australia this year’s TEDxCanberra event will focus on the theme Reflections. Happenings. Predictions.
Tickets to the event have already sold out, but presentations will be streamed live on the day through the TEDxCanberra website.
Good for advisers, good for clients
17 August 2011
David Ward, Director, SVA Private Ancillary Fund Service, provides advice to financial planners about how to help high net worth individuals to be more considered in their approach to philanthropy in the current issue of Professional Planner magazine.
A recent study of high net worth donors in the US revealed that funders of philanthropic causes are less willing to take risks on their charitable giving than they are with their personal investment funds. This more strategic approach to giving presents an opportunity to financial planners, who at 38.8% are amongst the leading sources of charitable advice to this market.
Recent changes to the Australian regulatory environment have provided high net worth individuals with a tax effective vehicle to better manage their giving. In 2009, the modern Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) structure was introduced to supersede the previous Prescribed Private Funds (PPFs). With more than 850 PAFs now in existence, distributing more that $150 million to charity each year, PAFs offer a variety of benefits to philanthropists, including a simple vehicle for planned giving, flexibility over the amount to be distributed to eligible charities each year and complete control over which organisations should benefit from the grants. If established in advance, a PAF can also be a helpful estate-planning tool.
Many PAF holders also testify to the advantages of a PAF for helping to engender the joy of giving in their children, while financial planners can use advice around the establishment and administration of PAFs as a business development tool, enabling them to strengthen client relationships.
Click here for more information about SVA’s PAF Service.
Queensland social enterprise showcase
15 August 2011
On Monday 15 August, SVA and the Queensland Government jointly ran a highly successful event to showcase Queensland social enterprises.
This event was a chance to tell the story of what SVA has achieved in developing social enterprises through its various partnership projects with Queensland Government and Federal Government over the past 18 months.
The morning session attracted a mixed audience of 80 people drawn from key government personnel, the social enterprises SVA has supported, other non-profit organisations and corporate partners. Its emphasis was on showcasing the work of the social enterprises and to celebrate the success of the projects undertaken with Queensland Government Department of Communities and Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
The afternoon session was a more focused event with 40 people, mainly from government, exploring the key role that social procurement can play in opening up new markets for social enterprises in Queensland.
SVA was delighted with the opportunity to share the results of the projects that help to prove that our model of investment plus supports works, in terms of identifying and developing sustainable social enterprises that create employment for people excluded from the labour market.
Download the list of social enterprises supported in Queensland.
Supporting a better plan for a bigger difference
27 July 2011
Allan English founded Silver Chef, an ASX listed company that funds equipment into the café and restaurant industry through its unique rent try buy system. A strong supporter of non-profit causes throughout his corporate life, Allan and his family recently established a private ancillary fund (PAF) to help manage the distribution of $20m from its family trust to the non-profit sector over the next five years.
Fiona Higgins, SVA’s Manager, Grant Making and Evaluation Advice, was engaged by the English Family Foundation (EFF) to work with them to develop a strategy to structure their giving most effectively.
As the English family reside all over the world, and were unable to gather in person to discuss their PAF, Fiona developed an online survey to determine the philanthropic areas of most interest to the family and to develop a strategy matched to those concerns.
Fiona then collated the survey data and fed it back to the family in the form of a draft giving strategy, broken down into possible focus areas for support, the geographical location of preferred grantees, the types of grants to be considered and the operational considerations around managing applications for distributions to 50+ local and international non-profit organisations per year.
“Fiona was terrific to deal with, excellent communication skills and most importantly great listening skills to get the key issues that we needed to address. Finding a roadmap of how to put the right structure and vision together was so important for the strategic direction of the foundation. Her experience and wisdom gave us great confidence as we moved forward with our new Foundation” said Allan.
The English family is now working with Fiona to refine their PAF’s strategy, build the Foundation’s website and begin accepting expressions of interest from non-profit organisations from Brisbane and beyond.
For more information about how SVA’s grant making and evaluation service could assist your family foundation, contact Rachael McLennan on 02 8004 6755, or via email on email@example.com.
Changing lives one meal at a time
26 July 2011
SVA is delighted to announce the entry of an employment focused social enterprise, STREAT, into our venture portfolio.
STREAT is a social enterprise providing a supported pathway to employment for homeless and disadvantaged youth. Its innovative model uses food and coffee carts to take youths off the street, providing them with traineeships that help them develop work and life skills.
STREAT provides a tailored, supported pathway from the street to a sustainable livelihood, for youths aged 16-25. Trainees selected for the six month program receive paid work experience and training to achieve certificate II in hospitality through the William Angliss Institute. Holistic support helps them deal with challenges like drug and alcohol dependency, mental illness and legal issues. Assistance in finding employment beyond the program is also provided.
STREAT began in 2009, planning, completing a feasibility study and building operations before opening their first food cart with nine trainees in early 2010. In their first year, STREAT generated traineeships for 25 young people, with plans to expand to 30-40 trainees per year. Retention is strong at 80 per cent across all four classes to date. STREAT currently operates two sites, with the third site due to open in November, and has served over 50,000 customers.
As part of their inclusion in the venture portfolio STREAT will receive strategic assistance, consultancy, fundraising assistance and impact measurement. The partnership is designed to assist STREAT grow into a strong, sustainable social enterprise that provides meaningful employment pathways to some of Australia’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable youth.
Two new venture partners join SVA portfolio
22 July 2011
SVA is delighted to welcome two new education-focused venture partners to the SVA portfolio; Big Picture Education Australia and the Stronger Smarter Institute.
Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) is stimulating vital changes in Australian education by generating and sustaining innovative, personalised schools that work in tandem with their greater communities. It designs break-through public schools, researches and replicates new designs for education, trains educators to serve as leaders in their schools and communities, and actively engages the public as participants and decision makers in the education of our young people.
The BPEA philosophy is grounded in educating ‘one student at a time’, promoting and creating personalised education programs that are unique for each student.
The Stronger Smarter Institute focuses on changing the tide of low expectations for Indigenous and disadvantaged children right across Australia. The Institute has committed to do this by arming school and community leaders with the belief and capacity to transform their own schools with the Stronger Smarter philosophy.
School and community leaders engage with the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program which is designed to challenge and support leadership at all levels of education to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Further to this the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities project aims to transform schools through the building of leadership capacity and thereby sustain and grow improved student outcomes within Indigenous communities.
The Institute’s work is based on the Stronger Smarter philosophy which espouses a strong and positive sense of what it means to be Indigenous in today’s Australian society and that Indigenous students can achieve outcomes comparable to other students.
The mix of support SVA will offer to BPEA and Stronger Smarter as part of their inclusion in the venture portfolio, includes: strategic assistance, consultancy, fundraising strategy development and governance support. SVA believes that these highly engaged partnerships with BPEA and Stronger Smarter will result in more robust organisations capable of delivering improved educational outcomes for many more Indigenous and low SES children around Australia.
Engagement, monitoring, reflection key to successful implementation of strategic plan
18 July 2011
In 2009, the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), Australia’s leading eye research institute, faced a series of challenges to its funding, research and profile. Proposed changes in government policy were potentially set to threaten the funding of smaller medical research organisations such as itself; the efficiency of its work needed to improve as overhead and research costs increased, and it wanted to ensure that the excellent quality of research it generated was seen by stakeholders to be both increasing and leading to positive health benefits for patients. In addition, CERA had a new CEO, who had taken over the reins from its founder, and its premises were quickly becoming too small for its needs.
CERA engaged SVA Consulting to assist it in the development of a three year strategic plan to help establish a clear set of goals that would help to address these challenges and position it for future growth.
SVA consultant, Olivia Hilton, worked with CERA for three months to develop the strategic plan. Olivia based herself onsite with her client, taking the time to build a rapport with the board and staff and consulted widely with stakeholders both locally and overseas to learn about best practices for universities, hospitals and medical research institutes (MRIs) to work together.
The completed strategy had a clear set of goals, prioritised activities to support those goals, KPIs on which to measure success, and included a blueprint for implementation., The next challenge for CERA was to turn the plan into something that was “living”.
Strategic planning in its own right is difficult, but writing a strategic plan is only the first step towards achieving impact year after year. The next step is implementation, and it’s where many organisations stumble. In fact, The Bridgespan Group, one of our partners in the USA, recently surveyed a large number of non-profit organisations and found that staff at 120 of these rated their employees’ capacity to implement their strategies 10 percent below their average rating for all other organisational capability areas.
So here is where the really hard work started, and where SVA Consulting believes it added the greatest value to the engagement. Once the strategy was developed and agreed, Olivia met with the Executive on a monthly basis to break the plan down into manageable pieces, to clearly communicate the goals and the change required to achieve them, to allocate the staff and resources to meet the goals and most importantly, to monitor progress on a monthly basis and adjust course when change was needed.
”The on-going relationship with Olivia has been invaluable,” comments CERA General Manager Gerlinde Scholz. “Our regular meetings ensure we never lose sight of the strategic goals and the work we need to do to achieve them. Olivia provides a sounding board and helps us maintain focus. Very importantly, her external view on how we are going is quite different to our experience at the strategic coal face so it’s a great help to keep things in perspective when progress is not as fast as we would like and when frustration and ‘battle fatigue’ could easily set in. On reflection, the value of strategic planning exercise has multiplied for CERA with the commitment we have made to keep working with SVA beyond preparing the plan. For our organisation, implementation support has been an absolutely critical success factor.”
This commitment from CERA to the implementation of its strategic plan, strongly supported by SVA Consulting, has resulted in great success, with the organisation on track with all of its goals. It’s an excellent reminder that although the path outlined in a strategic plan may seem linear, it’s a living, breathing document that works best when it’s consistently held to the light and refined to accommodate the organisation’s changing needs.
For more information about how SVA Consulting can support your organisation in the development and implementation of its strategic plan, contact Olivia Hilton.
Push to encourage greater giving in WA
13 July 2011
A 2010 research report by The University of Western Australia called “A Rising Tide?” showed that Western Australia’s level of giving is among the lowest in the country. To help address the issue, a group of like-minded business and community leaders, chaired by John Poynton AM CitWA and SVA Member, established Giving West to facilitate an active and involved culture of giving to make a difference to the people of Western Australia. To support their work, Giving West has launched a new website. It is a rich resource for anyone interested in giving to the non-profit sector, or becoming part of a community of philanthropists in WA.
Kevin Macdonald, CEO of Giving West said of the site, “We wanted to make the site a combination of information, knowledge, and connections showcasing giving and philanthropy, including some effective giving cases studies. Our aspiration is to create over time a “portal” that is useful for givers and receivers and supporting organisations. There will be more substantive information, resources and connections for philanthropists, recipients and other visitors who may use our information and resources to make connections and sound decisions.”
SVA is delighted to be a collaborator of Giving West, having already worked with them on a number of events including the launch of SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund Service in WA.
The promotion of the newly expanded SVA Private Ancillary Fund Service offering in WA is being supported by Simone Eley, who has joined to team to drive business development in Perth and manage the relationships of SVA’s WA-based PAF Service clients.
Private ancillary funds (PAFs) are the fastest growing giving vehicle in Australia, with 93 PAFs established in the last financial year, contributing to a total of 948 PAFs, of which only eight percent are held in WA. *
SVA supports Social Traders Breakfast Connect Series
11 July 2011
SVA is proud to support the Social Traders Breakfast Connect Series 2011, a series of breakfast seminars which will bring together social responsible businesses with leading speakers to network, learn and be inspired.
The first event, on 30 August, is presented by Jason Clarke and will focus on business innovation. Attendees will discover the key ingredients to the innovative culture, where to find them, how to mix with them and how to keep them fresh.
For further information and registration details, please download the Breakfast Connect event flyer.
Chair of SVA Leadership Council appointed
11 July 2011
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is delighted to announce that Robin Crawford has accepted an invitation from the board to chair the SVA Leadership Council.
Mr Crawford has been a foundational, generous and engaged supporter of SVA from its inception. He was a pioneering funder of the original SVA Boost! Fund in 2003, helped found and fund SVA Consulting in 2006, has agreed to similarly support the establishment of SVA Social Finance and of course has been instrumental in the successful GoodStart acquisition of 659 ABC Childcare centres of which he is Chair.
SVA CEO Michael Traill said: “I look forward to working closely with Robin in sustaining the wonderful legacy of David Clarke, our founding SVA Leadership Council Chair, who provided such important support and guidance for our work.”
Career moves in philanthropy
27 June 2011
Michael Traill, SVA Chief Executive and Ian Learmonth, Director, SVA Social Finance, both extensively feature in an article entitled ‘Career Moves in Philanthropy’, written by Judy Friedlander, which examines an increasing trend for people in corporate Australia to move to the non-profit sector.
Using examples including Simon McKeon (current Australian of the Year), Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest of Fortesque Metals, NAB’s Glenn King and Caltex Senior Executive Helen Conway, Friedlander examines the mindset named by academics as ‘a spiral career model’, where people change career paths for work that is both personally challenging and socially meaningful.
Ian Learmonth, who recently joined SVA to lead our Social Finance initiative, was formerly an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank for 12 years. He told Friedlander that SVA has allowed him to “connect his head and heart”, the article continuing, “a major appeal for Learmonth is the challenge of developing the Social Finance area which is increasingly being recognised as a new paradigm for philanthropy.”
The special briefing was commissioned by Dealers’ Group and 3 Pillars Network, which this month presented the 6th Annual Givewell Nonprofit Forum, at which Ian Learmonth and Duncan Peppercorn, SVA Executive Director and Head of SVA Consulting were speakers.
Read the full article on the 3Pillars Network website.
Fair Business wants your business
15 June 2011
Three hundred and forty five thousand people in Australia claim unemployment benefit for more than a year and approximately one in three people living on public housing estates are unemployed, according to Alex Shead, founder of Fair Business. And of those people that do have jobs, 800,000 are underemployed, many of whom want more secure and dependable work, but cannot find it. It’s an intolerable situation in a country as wealthy as Australia, and one that contributes to inequality and a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Fair Business, one of the employment-focused organisations in SVA’s venture partner portfolio, was established to employ people who want to work, but for a myriad of reasons are excluded. The non- profit organisation establishes or acquires businesses, providing work, training and support to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. With its two principal businesses; Fair Repairs (a repairs and maintenance operation) and The Social Roasting Company (a coffee roasting business and cafés), Fair Business is bringing scores of previously long-term unemployed people into a supportive, structured work environment.
The difference made to the lives of some of the people given the chance to work through Fair Business is palpable. Fair Business workers tell of the smiles on their kids’ faces who have never seen them go to work before, or the renewed purpose in life getting up for work every morning has given them. A world of opportunities has been opened up to many of the people employed by Fair Business – positive changes that can only be sustained through regular and dependable work.
One of Fair Business’s operations, Fair Repairs, is a repairs, maintenance and cleaning business, that partners with government and the private sector to give social housing residents work in their local area. Operating in Campbelltown, Redfern/Waterloo, Nowra and Wollongong/Port Kembla, it’s a proven model that’s looking for more large projects to secure long-term, reliable work for its employees.
As Alex said, “Fair Business doesn’t require charity to be successful, we’ve shown that our businesses are viable, competitive offerings that deliver a quality product and service. What we need is government and business to give us the opportunity to work with them. Ask us to quote or tender for your business, consider us for your procurement panels. All we want is a fair go.”
If you would like to speak to Fair Business about working with your organisation, contact them on 02 9409 5250, or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Philanthropic advice for professional planners
7 June 2011
David Ward, director of SVA’s Private Ancillary Fund (PAF Service), has provided a guest article on philanthropy in the July edition of Professional Planner magazine.
He writes that while professional planners are accustomed to assessing their clients’ appetite for risk and structuring their investments accordingly, many are less familiar with a client’s philanthropic motivations and in making recommendations that are suitably aligned to ensure personally satisfying and effective giving.
David outlines that the two basic options for giving are direct gifts to charity or establishing a foundation using one of the different structures available (a private or testamentary charitable trust, an account or ‘sub-fund’ and a private ancillary fund (PAF)). While each option has its own merits, aligning the client’s motivations for giving with the right structure is paramount.
Finally, David provides some common themes he has encountered that make the path to a particular structure of giving for many individuals and families relatively straightforward. These themes include motivations like leaving a legacy, a desire to actively engage with a supported organisation, and either limited or more significant financial resources to give.
First SVA Education Collaborative event
26 May 2011
SVA believes that education, along with employment, can provide a pathway out of disadvantage. At the heart of SVA’s work is a determination to improve education outcomes for young Australians living in some of our nation’s most disadvantaged communities, ensuring they have the opportunity to realise their full potential.
Over the last nine years, SVA has established a successful track record of investing in social change through its venture philanthropy model, supporting outstanding organisations driving educational change. But we need to do more.
We recognise that to meet our ambitious goal of raising the education outcomes for 220,000 young people from low socio-economic backgrounds over the next 10 years, we must work in partnership across sectors. To this end, SVA has formed the ‘SVA Education Collaborative’ , designed to connect Australia’s social, philanthropic, private and government sectors. We believe the ‘SVA Education Collaborative’ has the ability to affect large-scale, systemic change in education.
On 26 May, SVA hosted the first ‘SVA Education Collaborative’ event to provide interested partners with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the education landscape both in Australia and internationally, and to learn about some of the innovative programs that are transforming the lives and futures of young Australians across the country.
Maxine McKew introduced the plans for the ‘SVA Education Collaborative’ and gave guests an overview of the challenges that currently exist in education in Australia and the important role the Collaborative can play in overcoming these obstacles.
Maxine was then joined in conversation by Tony Mackay, Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Education, who shared his perspectives on the education landscape; and Dr Chris Sarra, Executive Director of the Stronger Smarter Institute, which delivers innovative leadership programs that are changing the tide of low expectation in Indigenous education.
SVA attracting Macquarie Bank talent
24 May 2011
Using the experience gleaned from SVA’s part in the GoodStart syndicate that acquired 660 ABC Childcare Early Learning Centres in 2009, Ian and the social finance team want to support non-profit organisations and government to source more of the ‘social capital’ which the GoodStart syndicate accessed.
Ian will also be aided by an advisory group which includes current and former members of Macquarie staff, including Michael Price, Shemara Wikramanayake and Robin Crawford, in addition to CHAMP managing director David Jones and ex-Colonial State chief executive Chris Cuffe.
Kevin Robbie to speak at social procurement event
23 May 2011
ACT Shared Services Procurement and the ACT Chapter of CIPSA are hosting an ‘Introduction to Social Procurement’ event in the ACT on Wednesday 8 June. The information session will explore the fundamentals of social procurement and will feature Kevin Robbie, Director, Employment at SVA and Mark Daniels, Learning and Development at Social Traders.
When and where
Wednesday 8 June 2011
Ground Floor Conference Room, Dame Pattie Menzies House (North Building)
16 Challis St
5.30pm to 7.30pm
Building sustainable Indigenous governance
19 April 2011
Across Australia, Indigenous people are facing stark challenges that arise not only from their ongoing socioeconomic disadvantage, but also from their success in regaining ownership and access to large reserves of land and other resources. In responding to these challenges and opportunities, it is believed that approximately 7,000 incorporated organisations have been established across the country to represent Indigenous interests, deliver services, manage resources and generate economic development. Latest estimates are that at least 40,000 Indigenous men and women are currently undertaking a substantial workload of organisational and community governance on behalf of their members*. Many are doing so without adequate capacity, training and mentoring in the governance skills and knowledge needed to effectively do their demanding jobs.
It is widely acknowledged both here in Australia and internationally that the headline condition required to close the gap and improve outcomes for Indigenous people is to invest in and support Indigenous communities to rebuild and improve governance.
SVA, in cooperation with Reconciliation Australia and a number of other partners, is therefore delighted to support the incubation of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI), an Indigenous organisation that is designed to build sustainable, effective and legitimate Indigenous governance on the ground in communities and in organisations. SVA’s work with the AIGI ties closely with our stated objectives of helping to develop capacity in the non-profit sector to share best practice and build evidence of what works.
SVA’s involvement with the project, which has included seed funding and participation on the Steering Committee, is now focused on working with the AIGI to develop a sustainable and diversified funding base, effective program methodology and an organisational development plan.
With the support of Indigenous leaders and governance experts here in Australia and international experts and global research partners, the AIGI will provide access to high-quality governance information, organisational tools, specialist expertise and training and sustained engagement in governance rebuilding programs on the ground. In doing so, the AIGI will maintain a well-informed research base and rigorous evaluation approach to ensure that success is ongoing and shared. The AIGI will also work to influence policy and decision-making on needs and developments in matters of Indigenous governance.
While the AIGI will be established as an independent centre of excellence, the intention is to do so by maximising close collaboration with key stakeholders including those in the private, public and tertiary sectors, statutory authorities, training partners and other NGOs.
Leading Indigenous advisor Tanya Hosch has been engaged as the AIGI Project Director and over the next six months will work with the steering committee to finalise the proposed legal, organisational and governance structure for AIGI, with the goal of establishing the AIGI by the end of 2011. SVA is proud to have assisted in the development of the AIGI to-date and is excited about the potential the AIGI has to positively influence Indigenous governance in Australia.
If you would like to learn more about the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, please contact Jane Pound.
Stronger Smarter – Toronto success story
13 April 2011
So often in life it’s the gestures that matter.
At Toronto High School they’re still talking about the day that the newly installed Principal Mark McConville, arrived at the school swimming carnival and made straight for the spot where local Indigenous families had gathered. As the one-time footballer and PE teacher got close, he was recognised by some fellow footy players who came forward and threw their arms around him.
Onlookers stared in disbelief. Most still had memories of what’s known colloquially as the “Toronto Massacre” – the brutal encounter with a previous Principal where local families expressed their disgust with a school that was so obviously failing their children. Until recently, a school that is only 2 hours drive north of Sydney, had a dismal record. Not one teenager completed Year 12.
As McConville tells the story, the spontaneous hugs at a sports event represented a “break-through moment” for the once troubled and divided community that snakes along the shore-line of picturesque Lake Macquarie. It immediately sent a message to Toronto’s teaching faculty and to the wider community that things were going to be different.
Four years into his term as Principal, McConville now runs a school where attendance has shot up, where disruptive behaviour is no longer tolerated, and where the attitude for all students, including a significant Indigenous cohort, is that “success is culturally appropriate.”
McConville has an easy manner and a natural authority. He is an educator who cares about every single child and wants them to be the best they can be. On the day I visited the school, he walked me through the grounds of Toronto and proudly showed me the new buildings made possible by the Federal Government’s BER programme.
But it was the other things I noticed. McConville knew the name of every student we passed and had a friendly and encouraging exchange for each of them. The school is tidy, orderly and everyone is busily engaged.
This shouldn’t be remarkable, but when you consider that only a few years back, a police presence in the playground of Toronto High was the norm, not the exception, then McConville has obviously achieved a remarkable transformation.
In part, McConville credits the Stronger Smarter Leadership programme for the important changes at Toronto. “It turned out to be the most important professional development I’ve ever undertaken,” he says. McConville completed the course, along with other local educators in the Hunter region, with strong support from NSW DET officials. As a result, Toronto now functions as an SSI hub, with strong partnerships having been developed with other schools.
So what is it about the SSI approach that is making a difference? Why is it that a school that only a short time ago was derided by local families as “a crap place” now turns itself inside out to ensure students finish Year 12?
McConville says that as much as anything his SSI training gave him added confidence about how he influenced others.
“It taught me how to listen to all voices, about community engagement and most importantly, it taught me that you can’t collude in negative attitudes.”
This gets to the heart of it. McConville has since had two other teachers at the school inducted in the SSI approach and this, as well as a range of other pedagogical strategies means that Toronto is now setting the bar high for everyone.
You can hear the ambition and the excitement in the voice of the Community Liaison Officer, Tracey Walpole, as she tells you how hard she is working with a Year 12 Toronto student who wants to quit school before the end of the year to join the army.
“Along with his Mum, we’re working really hard with this kid. We’re saying to him, hang in there, it’s only two more terms and you’ll get your HSC and be able to join the ADF and start officer training. The families can see that we care, so it means they care and they’re helping us with the personal learning plans we have for everyone here.”
McConville still has his challenges. In a state where there is a substantial over-supply of teachers, he can’t get a specialist Maths teacher.
Equally, no-one is suggesting that the social divide that has been a feature of this community for generations, has suddenly dissolved.
But there is no doubt that McConville and his team have broken the cycle of mediocrity and failure that once characterised Toronto High.
Instead, there is energy, discipline and a real sense of achievement for a school that now sees itself at the centre of a regional learning community.
Toronto has changed the tide.
This piece by Maxine McKew first appeared as a guest column in the March edition of the Stronger Smarter Institute’s monthly newsletter Changing the Tide. SVA thanks Stronger Smarter for their kind permission to reprint the column here. SVA Consulting is currently assisting the Stronger Smarter Institute to develop its strategic plan.
Vale David Clarke AO
11 April 2011
We are deeply saddened at the loss of David Clarke, Chair of the SVA Leadership Council. David was a generous and pioneering supporter of SVA at a personal level and through the foundational support of Macquarie Group Foundation whose anchor support has enabled the successful establishment of SVA Consulting. It was typical of David’s commitment that he agreed to take on the role as inaugural Chair of the SVA Leadership Council in 2007. His presence, reputation and active leadership engagement in our work was fundamental in helping take SVA through a significant period of expansion and growth.
There has been much said about David’s unique ability to lead with integrity in both the business and philanthropic worlds. His legacy in both is testament to the energy and passion he brought to everything he did. At a personal level, it was a great privilege to work closely with David and get to know him and his charming wife Jane personally. I always felt that one of the biggest free kicks of my life was to be interviewed by David when at Business School in 1986, which led to the great opportunity to work at Macquarie Bank and with David who chaired Macquarie Direct Investment. The precedent he set about living a full and balanced life that had community engagement at its core was deeply influential on me and his personal support and counsel is something that will be sorely missed.
Our deepest sympathy goes to Jane and his sons Tim, Angus and his extended family.
Funding should be child’s play
30 March 2011
In an opinion piece featured in The Australian Financial Review on 30 March 2011, Michael Traill, Chief Executive of Social Ventures Australia (SVA), writes about the importance of investing in social infrastructure, particularly in the area of early learning and care.
Given the profits generated by the resources boom, corporate leaders are recognising there is a great opportunity for generational investment, creating long-term benefits for Australian business in the future.
While business leaders recognise and recommend investments into the nation’s physical infrastructure (i.e. roads, distribution etc) are critical to sustained economic development, Michael Traill urges us not to forget the equally critical need for investment in our social infrastructure, especially in the early years of life of the next generation.
He cites growing evidence to invest early, and a lot more, if we want to nurture and develop an educated and engaged workforce that will meet the business needs of the future and references the work of James Heckman from the University of Chicago in highlighting the economic and business case for increased community investment in early education, particularly for those from disadvantaged circumstances.
Michael Traill reminds us that the evidence supports committing major funding at the point where impact will be the greatest for young people. We lag far behind other leading nations which invest between three and four times the 0.45 per cent of GDP invested by Australia in improving access to and the quality of early learning and care. By investing more, an additional one per cent of GDP, he argues we could transform the potential of the next generation, especially for those currently experiencing social exclusion.
SVA Private Ancillary Fund Service goes national
Following a successful launch in Sydney in September 2010, the SVA Private Ancillary Fund (PAF) Service has now gone national, with launch events this month in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
Hosted by the Macquarie Group Foundation, the Melbourne event featured SVA’s new Chair, Paul Robertson AM, Chris Cuffe and Pamela Hartigan. Attended by SVA supporters, advisors and new PAF clients, the event was an opportunity for guests to learn about the SVA PAF Service and to re-connect with SVA’s Melbourne network.
The well-supported Perth event was kindly co-hosted with Giving West, an organisation established to raise the profile of philanthropy in Western Australia. John Poynton from Giving West addressed the enthusiastic audience on the work of his organisation in WA, while Lisa Cotton and Chris Cuffe provided introductions to SVA and the PAF Service.
And in Brisbane, Bob Bryan, Tim Fairfax and Chris Cuffe spoke to 50 attendees at an event generously hosted by QIC. A particular highlight of the night was Tim Fairfax’s speech, which offered insights into the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation’s work and the unique opportunities Tim believes foundations hold within the social sector to take risks, fund long-term projects, operate collaboratively and circumvent bureaucracy.
The PAF service team has enjoyed some early wins in its mission to inspire and support philanthropy across Australia, with the service already holding 24 PAFs under management (from five states). Strong relationships are also being forged with a number of major advisory groups, including banks, wealth advisor firms, accountants, lawyers and estate planners to assist them in providing a PAF advisory service to their clients.
A short video featuring philanthropists, foundation and PAF holders talking about their experiences of establishing and managing PAFs has been produced by the team, and has been very well received at the recent PAF events. Click here to view the SVA PAF Service video.
Duncan Peppercorn – from management consultant to social change agent
29 March 2011
SVA executive director and head of SVA Consulting, Duncan Peppercorn, features in an extensive video interview with Robert Gottliebsen on today’s Business Spectator.
Talking about his move from the management consultancy business to the non-profit sector, Duncan also discusses SVA’s work to improve the lives of Australia’s disadvantaged through the development of improved education and employment opportunities.
On SVA Consulting, Duncan acknowledges the generous support of the Macquarie Group Foundation, and illustrates the range of work the team undertakes, focusing on its strategic work with non-profit organisations.
Register for free, and view the video in full on the Business Spectator website.
Pilot scheme launched to give disadvantaged people better access to financial services
28 March 2011
A pilot scheme to help give disadvantaged people better access to financial services has been launched by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin.
SVA Consulting has been involved with this project since 2009, when it won a contract to support the Federal Government by scoping the potential for a Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) sector in Australia.
The study included researching the extent of financial exclusion in Australia; conducting a gap analysis to identify the financial service needs that are not being met both for individuals and organisations through the commercial banking sector; and recommending sites and a model for Government intervention including the focus for an initial pilot program.
In early 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would commit to funding a pilot project, investing $6.27 million in capacity building funding as well as working with banks to establish an ‘investor circle’ for the selected CDFIs. In June 2010, existing and new CDFIs were invited to apply to participate in the pilot. With further support from SVA Consulting, a tender and evaluation framework was developed. In addition, ANZ and NAB become members of the ‘investor circle’ contributing capital into the organisations.
The CDFI pilot seeks to build the capacity and resilience of disadvantaged and financially excluded individuals by attracting investment and injecting funds into community finance organisations that offer them financial services and products that they would otherwise not be able to access from mainstream sources.
Five CDFI organisations have received seed funding from the Australian Government to provide appropriate and fair access to financial products and services. These institutions have demonstrated a commitment to supporting vulnerable Australians to get access to financial services. They provide individuals who are able to repay a loan but who are excluded from mainstream banks access to safe and affordable credit, ensuring that credit is appropriate for their means and reflects their ability to repay.
The five CDFIs being supported through the pilot program are:
Foresters Community Finance (provides fair, affordable credit products, debt counselling and referral to low and fixed income people, delivered through a one-stop shop located in inner city Brisbane),
Community Sector Banking (provides services to Indigenous communities in Western Australia and Queensland, and disadvantaged individuals and families in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Community Sector Banking provides social enterprise business loans, financial literacy training, micro-credit for low income earners and micro-credit personal savings),
Many Rivers Microfinance (provides microfinance and mentoring to clients establishing or expanding micro-businesses. Assistance will be provided to marginalised Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians in selected locations in regional and remote Western Australia and New South Wales),
Fitzroy and Carlton Community Co-operative (focuses on building the financial independence, literacy and advocacy of low income Australians. They operate out of a shop front in Melbourne, Victoria), and
Fair Loans Foundation (provides loans and support over the Internet Australia-wide to individuals with a net income of less than $50,000 a year. Individuals who currently do not have access to mainstream loans due to credit defaults will be eligible for a loan)
You can read the full CDFI scoping study prepared by SVA Consulting on the FaHCSIA website.
For more information about SVA Consulting, click here.
Helping community groups to establish social enterprises
21 March 2011
An interactive workshop will take place on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday 7 April to assist community groups who are planning to establish a social enterprise.
Presenter, Susan Black, community groups and an expert panel will take attendees through a journey of the challenging and rewarding processes involved in establishing a social enterprise.
Through real life scenarios, attendees will have the rare opportunity to see community groups and business experts going through the critical questions and answers on establishing a successful social enterprise. Participants will also gain access to mentor support and networks.
Bookings are essential. RSVP by Monday 4 April to Natasha Odgers via email.
For more information about the event, visit the Sunshine Coast council website.
Fund alerts WA to the joys of giving
14 March 2011
The AFR’s Market Wrap has reported on events to launch SVA’s Private Ancillary Service in Perth and Brisbane.
The events are targeted at philanthropists who are interested in the efficient and cost-effective nature of private ancillary funds. Chris Cuffe, chair of the SVA Future Trust and Bob Bryan, founder of Queensland Gas Company, will speak at the Brisbane event. The Perth event, which took place on 11 March, was co-hosted by John Poynton, co-founder of Azure Capital and chairman of Giving West.
The challenges to philanthropy – Pamela Hartigan visits Australia
9 & 10 March
SVA was delighted to welcome Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Oxford Saïd Business School, back to Australia to address its national leadership council and broader network at two events in Sydney and Melbourne.
An inspiring presence on the international social change stage for 20 years, Pamela shared her experience and reflections about how attendees could achieve greater effectiveness and fulfilment in their philanthropic endeavours.
Pamela began by outlining some of the challenges facing philanthropists today, and within that framework provided real world examples of how some innovative social entrepreneurs are changing the dial on a range of persistent, entrenched social issues. The examples showed how philanthropists, who are not tethered by the restrictions of government or business (the ballot box and the bottom line), can support innovative, long term ideas that can provide catalytic social change.
A key theme of Pamela’s thinking is the notion of ‘unreasonableness’ and how, by being unreasonable, social innovators can make the greatest contribution to society and the world. “The unreasonable man adapts himself to the world,” as Pamela noted playwright George Bernard Shaw put it, but “the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Or woman.
Pamela reminded the philanthropists in the room that they had a huge responsibility to think strategically about how to support the innovators and the change-makers. And while it might seem like a gamble to back innovation, in this chaotic and risk adverse economic climate, it’s far more risky to stick rigidly with the old ways of doing things.
The Power of Three: Making your leadership count in a changing world
3 March 2011
On Thursday 3 March 2011, The Financial Review BOSS Club hosted an event featuring three of SVA’s Leadership Council members: Hugh Mackay, renowned social researcher and author; Norman Drummond, founder and CEO of Drummond International; and Michael Traill AM, chief executive of Social Ventures Australia.
Hosted by Financial Review BOSS Editor, Narelle Hooper, the event explored the current expectations of leaders and offered reflections on the changing landscape of leadership in our global society.
Michael Traill, who conducted the discussion, spoke about a collaborative approach to leadership, referencing the Goodstart syndicate of four non-profit organisations (one of which is SVA), who worked together to acquire 650+ ABC childcare centres from the receiver.
Norman Drummond lamented how as a society we have become so focused on valuing targets, we now need to start targeting values. Norman also talked about how important it is for leaders to be clear on their own values in order to become effective.
Hugh Mackay referred to his latest book, “What makes us tick? The ten desires that drive us”, and in particular the desire to be taken seriously. Not to be confused with being seen as a serious person, this powerful desire in people is to be recognised. Hugh also mentioned the art of listening – that to be a good leader one needs to be able to really listen.
It was a thought-provoking and insightful evening which gave guests much to reflect on in their own leadership journeys.
You can view the BOSS Club: The Power of Three video on the AFR website at, http://tv.afr.com.
Launch of new Tasmanian school campus in partnership with Big Picture Education Australia
23 February 2011
The Minister for Education and Skills, Lin Thorp, has launched a new school campus in Northern Tasmania, based on the Big Picture learning philosophy. The new City Campus in Launceston is designed to give Northern Tasmanian students more personalised learning options in a smaller learning environment where each student can have an individual learning program tailored to their needs and interests.
Big Picture is a rigorous and highly individualised approach to education, combining academic work with real world learning. Big Picture schools are small by design and focus on ‘one student at a time’. A key to the model is placing students in an internship with a mentor in the world of work and community every week.
Each student’s personalised learning plan grows out of his or her unique needs, interests and passions and is jointly created by students, their parents and professional mentors. Big Picture Education’s unique approach focuses on the learner and customises school curriculum to connect with each student and maximise learning outcomes.
The City Campus school is the result of collaboration over the past 18 months, between six Launceston principals, who were committed to improving educational outcomes for students in Launceston and beyond. The new school will work in partnership with Tasmanian Polytechnic, developing the best models of trade training and vocational competence, and the national network of Big Picture Education Australia, supporting the City Campus community to develop and establish community partnerships.
Program teaches Indigenous students to think ahead
23 February 2011
A new educational program for Indigenous students, Australian Indigenous Youth Academy (AIYA), is working to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment and education retention rates, says the Nambour Weekly.
In operation for only one year, Australian Indigenous Youth Academy (AIYA), currently has 47 students from Years 10 to 12 enrolled in its program. Established by Deon Bird, the non-profit organisation is based in the Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast regions, and supports Indigenous students for one day a week, over 12 months, to attain a Certificate III in Fitness and undertake cultural appreciation workshops, literacy and numeracy lessons and practical training at Nambour’s Self Image Fitness Studio.
Jed Cook, a Year 11 Nambour High student, said that coaching younger kids at Nambour State School, was his highlight of the program.
“We are attempting to develop the students as a whole person and we’d like to expand the program and have 300 Indigenous students on our books,” said Mr Bird, AIYA general manager and founder.
Students are paid up to $65 per week to take part and on completion of the program could also earn up to eight QCE points to help them access further tertiary education.
“We hope to direct them into either employment in the sport and fitness industry or further study,” Mr Bird added.
AIYA is one of 16 social enterprises currently supported by SVA.
Inaugural Melbourne School for Social Entrepreneurs’ graduation
18 February 2011
The Melbourne School for Social Entrepreneurs has held its inaugural graduation ceremony to celebrate its first crop of entrepreneurs who are developing innovative social ventures to address unmet needs in their communities.
The 19 graduating students are working on a range of social initiatives and enterprises including a café to support skilled migrants to create their own jobs and a hospitality training program to provide pathways to employment for young refugees and migrants.
A number of awards were presented at the graduation including the ‘Melbourne Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ which was received by Laura Egan for her work in establishing a microenterprise development project in remote Aboriginal communities across Australia. Stef Tipping, who edited and developed the book, My Agender, received the Action Learning Award, while Jess Moran from Scarf and Walter Villagonzalo from the Migrant Hub and Café were joint winners of the Project Achievement Award.
Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) 2011 goes to Africa
15 February 2011
Following on from the successes of SEWFs in Scotland, Australia (co-hosted by SVA) and the USA, the baton has been passed to South Africa, where SEWF 2011 will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 5 – 7 April 2011.
The world’s premier social enterprise event, SEWF will this year focus on social enterprise as a catalyst for sustainable development.
Michael Traill AM will speak to the conference about SVA’s involvement in the GoodStart Childcare syndicate, while Kevin Robbie will address delegates on the topic of social accounting and Social Return on Investment (SROI).
For more information about the conference, including a full program, speakers list, study tour and registration details, visit the conference website, www.sewf2011.com
SSE wins inaugural Social Innovation Award
9 February 2011
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) was last night named as the inaugural winner of the Macquarie Group Foundation Social Innovation Award.
The School, established just two years ago, provides learning programs to enhance the effectiveness of Australia’s social entrepreneurs and their social ventures. It has already produced 60 graduates who have collectively attracted $3 million in funding, created 41 jobs and 256 volunteer positions.
Quoted in the Australian Financial Review, David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group and member of the judging panel, said “One of the factors we took into account was the potential for leverage. The school seemed to us to have a lot of that,” adding that there could be further support for the school down the line.
Dr Peter Shergold, head of the Centre for Social Impact, and who also helped judge the award, said that the school is “symptomatic of the massive change that has rippled through the non-profit sector.”
“It’s a new world of social business, where organisations seek to raise money not just for philanthropy or benevolence, but to gain income that can be converted into social mission,” Dr Shergold said.
Growth of SVA’s Education team
8 February 2011
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is pleased to announce the implementation of its strategy to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged young Australians has taken another step forward, with former politician and award winning journalist, Maxine McKew, joining SVA’s Education team on a consultancy basis.
Commencing on 14 February 2011, Ms McKew’s energies will be focused on identifying potential partners to work with SVA on its stated targeted intervention levels – improving early learning access and outcomes in disadvantaged communities; building greater diversity of new, innovative learning models; and raising the level of engagement of families and communities in local schools.
Ms McKew brings a wealth of experience to SVA, as well as a passion for the need for education reform. One of Australia’s most recognised identities, Ms McKew’s career has spanned both politics and journalism, providing her with multiple opportunities to view firsthand the issues facing disadvantaged communities and the crucial role education can play in breaking this cycle of disadvantage.
Following her historic victory in the seat of Bennelong in the 2007 Federal Election, Ms McKew was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education. A key achievement from her time in this role was the development of a framework and new national standards, designed to improve the quality of care in childcare and pre-schools across Australia.
Ms McKew’s new role at SVA will leverage both her knowledge of the early learning sector and her passion for ensuring the Australian public school system is meeting the needs of disadvantaged communities.
SVA’s Chief Executive, Michael Traill AM, expressed his delight that Ms McKew is becoming more involved in the non-profit sector.
“Maxine brings a passion for education and experience that will be extremely helpful for us in putting in place our work in improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged Australians. We’re delighted to have access to her extensive skills and experience on a consultancy basis.”
“The fact that SVA is attracting the attention of individuals of the calibre of Maxine is an indication of how far we’ve come since our establishment nine years ago.”
Explaining her decision to take up a new consultancy role with SVA, Ms McKew said: “I have long been an admirer of SVA’s model and am excited by their ambitious plans to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged young Australians. SVA has a talented team internally and through their extensive partnerships collaborates with some of the smartest minds in the country. I’m very much looking forward to working with the team and making my own contribution to their important work.”
SVA honoured with Founding Partner Award at CareerTrackers Gala Dinner
3 February 2011
SVA has been honoured with the Founding Partner Award at the inaugural CareerTrackers Gala Dinner in Sydney.
The evening was an opportunity for CareerTrackers to celebrate the achievements of the organisation to date, to thank their many supporters and for their community to meet the talented and inspiring Indigenous students who have been awarded internships through CareerTrackers.
Three interns; Jemaine, Grace and Kate, eloquently shared their stories with the gathering. Working at three quite different organisations whilst completing their studies, each of the interns had overcome substantial challenges to make it to this point. Jemaine, despite not being given the support he needed at school, was now studying architecture and completing his internship at SJB Architects. He likened the ‘stubborn instruction’ shown by the staff at SJB to the traditional methods of learning that were handed down through the generations in Indigenous culture. Grace, from Armidale, told the group about how an internship from Microsoft gave her an introduction to a world of work simply not available to her in a country town. And Kate, a mature student, shared how CareerTrackers helped her to realise that the sum of her short courses, experience and skills gained over twenty years caring for her family made her eminently employable. Kate’s internship with Best Buddies, an organisation that encourages one-on-one friendships between volunteers and intellectually disabled people, will also draw on her experience of caring for her daughter, an elite athlete with an intellectual disability.
SVA supported CareerTrackers with funding through the Supporting Social Enterprises Project (SSEP), funded by the Australian Government, which creates employment for those excluded from the labour market.
Sydney School for Social Entrepreneurs’ graduation
1 February 2011
The School for Social Entrepreneurs’ (SSE) graduation ceremony was held in Sydney on Tuesday 1 February to celebrate the next generation of entrepreneurial individuals who are developing innovative social ventures to address unmet needs in their communities.
Special guests included Councillor Marcelle Hoff (Sydney’s Deputy Lord Mayor), Steve Lawrence AM (Chief Executive of the Australian Social Innovation Exchange) and SVA’s own Michael Traill AM.
Michael addressed the students and used three characteristics he felt social entrepreneurs needed if they were to be successful – ticker, to take and continue to take risks; tenacity, to persevere in the face of all their obstacles and love, for their community and fellow citizens.
Julian Lee, founder of Food Connect Sydney was named the Sydney Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Julian established Sydney’s first fair trade, organic fresh food delivery social enterprise. In the last year, Food Connect Sydney has enjoyed significant growth from having just 20 subscribers to now delivering food boxes direct from farmers to 250 people around Sydney each week.
View Julian’s acceptance speech on YouTube.
SVA provided funding to Food Connect Sydney via the Supporting Social Enterprises Project (SSEP), funded by the Australian Government, which creates employment for those excluded from the labour market.
Australia Day honours for Ganbina’s Adrian Appo
26 January 2011
SVA congratulates Adrian Appo, Executive Officer of our venture partner Ganbina, on recently being awarded the Order of Australia in the General Division. On Australia Day, Adrian was honoured for his services to Indigenous youth in regional Victoria through career planning, employment and training.
SVA has worked with Adrian and Ganbina over a number of years, and has witnessed his life-long passion to improve the economic and social well-being of Indigenous people in the Goulburn Valley. Ganbina’s best practice program supports up to 250 young Indigenous people annually to understand the relevance of education and training and equip them with life and employment skills. Ganbina helped place 50 young Indigenous people in employment in 2010, the highest number in any one year since its inception in 1997. Ganbina is also beginning to work with other Indigenous communities to enhance public understanding of its model, why it works and how it works.
Expanding support to social enterprises
19 January 2011
The number of employment projects supported by SVA significantly increased in 2010, a rise which looks set to continue into 2011. SVA is currently supporting and investing in 16 social enterprises, through three projects:
the Supporting Social Enterprises Project (SSEP) funded by the Australian Government, which creates employment for those excluded from the labour market,
the Queensland Inclusive Social Enterprises Project (QISEP) funded by the Queensland Government, Department of Communities, which creates employment options for people who experience long-term unemployment due to mental health issues, and
the Youth Enterprises Partnership Project (YEP), also funded by the Queensland Government, Department of Communities, which supports 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.
Each of the 16 social enterprises offer long-term employment opportunities to people previously excluded from the labour market. These people include ex-offenders, people with a disability or mental illness, refugees, Indigenous people or vulnerable young people.
Two innovative social enterprises which have been supported are North Queensland Green Solutions and lowercase. Looking at new ways of doing old things differently, North Queensland Green Solutions employs people with a disability to work at a community recycling venture in Townsville, while lowercase is a Brisbane based media agency that trains and employs young people at risk of being marginalised in society.
SVA has invested a total of $2,552,320 in these 16 social enterprises. In turn, the enterprises are expected to create a total of 234 jobs, with 100 created to date. Click here to learn more about each of the 16 social enterprises supported through the SSEP, QISEP and YEP.
SVA Consulting complete nationwide workshop tour for Perpetual Foundation
17 January 2011
Through their experience of reviewing thousands of funding applications, the Perpetual Foundation observed that many non-profit organisations found it difficult to respond to questions around the measurement and evaluation of their programs. To help address this challenge, the Perpetual Foundation worked with SVA Consulting to design a measurement and evaluation education package which they would deliver, free of charge, to invited non-profit organisations across the country.
“It’s like teaching someone to cook rather than feeding them”
SVA’s Lisa Cotton and Duncan Peppercorn, together with Andrew Thomas, Head of Philanthropy at Perpetual, designed the three-part offering, which included a two-day workshop, a follow-up half-day one-on-one and a DVD for participants to refer to in their own time.
One hundred and forty participants from over 50 non-profit organisations from the environment, arts, health, youth and ageing (amongst other) sectors attended the workshops, which were held across five states in October and November 2010.
The intense two-day program was delivered by the SVA Consulting team, supported by the Perpetual Foundation and addressed many of the measurement and evaluation issues that the sector had identified as challenging. Examples of topics covered included how to define what organisations do and the consequences of their actions, prioritising what to measure given limited time and resources and how to measure ‘intangibles’. The workshops also worked to demystify some measurement tools used in the sector, like Social Return on Investment (SROI).
“An objective methodology to determine existing and future programs and a framework to use in future grant applications”
Over the coming months SVA Consulting will deliver the follow-up one-on-ones with each of the organisations that participated in the two-day workshop, with the aim of further embedding the measurement and evaluation learnings. The supporting DVD will be distributed to participating organisations later this year. For more information about how SVA Consulting could help your organisation with measurement and evaluation, contact Olivia Hilton.