Bank Australia takes a progressive approach to banking. The customer-owned bank devotes up to 4% of its annual after-tax profit to the Impact Fund, which is the source of its Community Customer Grants. The grants are awarded once a year to a range of customer organisations, such as not-for-profits, schools, community groups and social enterprises, who’re committed to creating positive change.
The recipients of Bank Australia’s 2022 Community Customer Grants are working to create change in a variety of significant areas, including addressing climate change, supporting asylum seekers, and advocating for diversity and inclusion. All are deserving recipients, but there are three grantees who particularly caught our attention.
Ocean Impact Organisation
There’s no such thing as a healthy planet without healthy oceans. In recent history, factors such as overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and human-made climate change have combined to detrimentally impact ocean health.
The Sydney-based Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO) endeavours to transform ocean health. Founders Nick Chiarelli and Tim Silverwood launched OIO in 2020 as a “solutions focussed” enterprise—i.e., OIO is willing to work with a broad range of industries, disciplines and technologies to preserve, regenerate and restore ocean ecosystems.
OIO is supporting startups working on a range of challenges impacting ocean health including: climate change; waste management and packaging; ecosystem protection; fishing and aquaculture; renewable ocean energy; decarbonising ocean transport; ocean monitoring; seaweed farming; underwater robotics and many more.
Women of Colour Australia
Women of Colour Australia founder Brenda Gaddi is a first-generation Filipino Australian who lives and works on Wallumettagal land in northern Sydney. For the last dozen years, Brenda has been devoted to building women-focused communities and championing women’s voices.
Brenda set up the not-for-profit organisation Women of Colour Australia (WoCA) in 2020, following the death of her mother, Electa. WoCA seeks to advance the lives of Australia’s women of colour through education programs, community support initiatives, and anti-racist and gender equity advocacy.
The WoCA board is made up of women from diverse backgrounds who stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. In its short history, the organisation has secured a contract with the Victorian Government to fund its pilot Executive Leadership Program and has been recognised as a Strategy Leader by the Australian Human Rights Commission in the refresh of the National Anti-Racism Framework.
Balaangala Community Group Inc.
Present-day Brisbane is home to the Turrbal and Jagera people, who, prior to colonisation, referred to the region as Meanjin. Balaangala Community Group is based in The Gap, a suburb in Brisbane’s north-west, and the organisation has deep roots in the community.
Balaangala brings together First Nations and non-First Nations people through a program of formal and informal events, many of which take place in the group’s dedicated garden place which is filled with native plants used by First Nations people for food, fibre, medicine and tools.
Balaangala’s efforts are centred on caring for Country and creating a safe place for self-reflection, discussion, learning and collaboration.
In partnership with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the group looks to combat injustice and racism by providing opportunities for non-First Nations people to learn the whole truth of our shared history. Some of the group’s activities are an annual Sorry Day ceremony, Invasion Day commemoration, schools education program and the establishment of a Pay the Rent Fund where non-First Nations people contribute to a fund which is distributed annually to groups that are 100% owned/run by First Nations people.
Bank Australia’s next grants round will open in March 2023. Applicants must be organisations who opened a Bank Australia account or loan prior to 30th June 2022. The grants are awarded to projects having a positive impact in areas regarded as important by Bank Australia customers. These include diversity and inclusion, environmental conservation, animal welfare, supporting refugees and people seeking asylum, and addressing climate change and family violence.