SVA Education Dialogue update
We are delighted to share with you an update on the SVA Education Dialogue and the work we are doing together to change the game for disadvantaged children in Australia.
Across our two current focus areas – Effective School Leadership in Disadvantaged Schools (Dialogue 2011) and Great Teaching in Tough Schools (Dialogue 2012) – we have six projects underway. Across both areas, our focus is on what is working to drive real change in schools across Australia.
We are working collaboratively to:
- Support Bright Spots to sustain and develop their work, bringing together funding and in-kind support from across the philanthropic, business and education sectors.
- Understand what is working in our Bright Spots and how their learnings can be successfully adapted for different schools and communities. Our focus is on developing practical tool-kits that schools, universities and others can pick up and action.
- Share the learning from the Bright Spots, developing active dissemination strategies that support other schools and organisations to take up these learnings, working particularly through peer networks and clusters. We outline our approach in a discussion paper, Towards A Bright System: Supporting the Spread of School-Based Innovation. For our work on sharing the learnings from QUT’s outstanding Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools program, please click here.
- Bring together influential groups to guide and support this work, including a Bright Spots Principals Roundtable, which met for the first time last week, and a Great Teachers in Tough Schools Government Roundtable.
We are also excited to be developing a Schools Fund as a new vehicle for supporting philanthropy to public schools. For a background to our work here, see our discussion paper, Giving to Australian Public Schools.
Our Dialogue 2012 Communique on Great Teaching in Tough Schools will be launched in February 2013. In the meantime, please enjoy two short summary clips of comments from the day.
Olivia Hilton designated a Partner in SVA Consulting
At SVA’s team offsite in December 2012 it was announced that Olivia has been promoted to the role of Partner in the SVA Consulting business. To many clients and those who know SVA, Olivia is the face of the Consulting Business, so it will be no surprise that we have decided to recognise her contribution, and the immense value that she adds to the Consulting business, by designating her as a Partner.
Liv joined SVA in 2008, and initially vacillated between becoming a portfolio manager and joining the Consulting team. Her background – as a CEO – predisposed her towards the former, but it was to prove immensely advantageous to us that she chose to challenge herself with a new ‘career’ as a Consultant. It soon became clear that, as well as strong analytical and client engagement skills, Liv has amazing organisational talents, and we decided to dedicate half her time to actually running the business. In this role, while she has continued to offer exceptional strategic advice to her clients, she has transformed the processes and operations of Consulting, including creating a much more effective and responsive interface with potential clients. In the last year Olivia has driven the launch of the SVA Consulting Quarterly, which has introduced our skills and knowledge to a much broader range of non-profits and funders.
ACT Social Enterprise Hub wins two awards at ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards
4 December 2012
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) congratulates the ACT Social Enterprise Hub for winning both the 2012 Award for Excellence and the Innovation in Inclusion Award at the ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards in Canberra.
The ACT Social Enterprise Hub has been recognised for its outstanding work in providing employment opportunities to people who are excluded from the workforce, particularly those with a disability.
The ACT Social Enterprise Hub supports 13 social enterprises, each providing employment opportunities for people who would otherwise find it difficult to gain employment. These businesses include Café Ink, a café and catering business, Burrunju Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal art gallery, Recyclery, which refurbishes pre-loved bicycles as well as offering repairs and bike maintenance workshops and White Nile, a traditional Sudanese food business.
Kevin Robbie, Director, Employment, SVA said, “In the lead up to Christmas, we urge all Australians to support social enterprises. Businesses like Recyclery, funded by the recent winner of the ACT Chief Minister’s 2012 Award for Excellence in Social Inclusion, exist to recycle some of the more than 1.3 million bikes sold in Australia each year. Because bikes will again be a popular this Christmas we urge Australians to consider buying a recycled bike as a gift.”
The ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards acknowledge the outstanding achievements of business, organisations and individuals who have clearly demonstrated their commitment to encourage, welcome and support people with a disability in their workplace, business and community. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher presented the inclusion awards at a gala event on Tuesday 4 December across 10 categories, from a pool of 55 nominations.
New Social Impact Measurement Network launched
3 December 2012
A new national network has been launched to further develop connections, collaboration and best practice learning in the field of social impact measurement in Australia. The Social Impact Measurement Network Australia (SIMNA) has been established by founding members the Centre for Social Impact, Social Ventures Australia and Net Balance.
A one-day forum to launch the network Come learn – Come connect – Come celebrate was hosted at PwC in Sydney on 3 December 2012. Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Services, presented the keynote speech, with other presentations delivered by Michael Traill AM, CEO, Social Ventures Australia, Les Hems, Director Research, Centre for Social Impact, Matt Bevan, UnitingCare Ageing and Gianni Zappala, Westpac Foundation.
“SIMNA has been established to respond to the growing need for transparency and reporting on the outcomes from the activities and investment in the social sector from the government and private sectors, the move towards integrated reporting and community expectations,” said Martina Lyons, SIMNA National Convenor. “We conducted a national survey of the not-for-profit, commercial, philanthropy, practitioner and government sectors, which revealed that that the creation of a network to support the development of social impact measurement is timely.”
Simon Faivel, SVA’s representative on the SIMNA governing council added, “SVA is committed to helping the non-profit sector to better measure and share the social impact of its work. We hope SIMNA will provide a network for the sector to share ideas, transfer knowledge and learn more about social impact measurement.”
You can learn more about SIMNA at www.simna.com.au
Report: ‘Solving employment exclusion using Social Enterprises’
A new report has demonstrated that social enterprises can create jobs for people excluded from the mainstream workforce, particularly the long-term unemployed and showed that this equity outcome is also efficient, as government investment in the creation of businesses is returned via taxation revenue, and savings in social security expenditure.
The report entitled ‘Solving employment exclusion using Social Enterprises’, was commissioned by SVA’s Employment Team and developed by SVA Consulting to review three initiatives funded by government that were focused on supporting employment-based social enterprises. The Supporting Social Enterprise Project (SSEP), the Queensland Inclusive Social Enterprise Project (QISEP) and the Youth Enterprises partnership (YEP) initiatives were delivered by SVA using the ‘investment plus support’ approach to the creation, development and growth of social enterprise. All three projects reviewed in the report exceeded their targets. Social return calculations on a number of the social enterprises demonstrated that all delivered ‘value for money’ to those investing in them.
The report was commissioned in order to evaluate these three specific initiatives, offer observations and insights that could inform future project development and provide recommendations to both funders (including Governments) and intermediaries (including SVA) on how to develop social enterprises more effectively.
For Government and other funders, the recommendations include a justification of further investment in social enterprises, the importance of carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the social return on investment, supporting the establishment of social enterprise intermediaries and recognising that the development of a social enterprise takes time. For intermediaries, including SVA, the recommendations advise adopting the investment plus support approach when working with social enterprises.
You can download the report in full here: ‘Solving employment exclusion using Social Enterprises’ [PDF, 1.43MB]
Kevin Robbie attends SEWF 2012 in Rio de Janeiro
As part of SVA’s arrangement to co-host the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) 2009 in Melbourne, SVA agreed to send speakers, or participate in the first seven of these events. Described as the premier social enterprise conference worldwide, the event moves continent each year and this year went to Latin America. Kevin Robbie, SVA’s Director, Employment, represented SVA at the gathering in Rio and delivered three presentations on scaling social enterprise, impact measurement and SVA’s work with Indigenous Social Enterprises.
SEWF 2012 attracted over 500 delegates and was hosted by NESsT, an organisation that exists to support the development of social enterprises in emerging markets (at present focus on Latin America and Eastern Europe). They currently support around 60 social enterprises in their portfolio.
A hugely successful event, Kevin’s highlights of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2012 were:
- Keynote by Anthony Bugg-Levine who was previous CEO of Rockefeller Foundation and now CEO of Global Impacting Investing Network (GiiN).
- Over 60 people, mostly large corporates, at the Investor Day to discuss Impact Investing. SVA’s work in the area received a mention with Goodstart, the SVA Social Impact Fund and Social Benefit Bonds
- The event was held in a social enterprise and over 70% of suppliers were social enterprises.
SEWF 13 will be held in Calgary. See www.sewf2013.com for details
Kevin tweeted live from Rio and you can follow him for more @kevinrobbie10
SVA Consulting Quarterly builds on strong debut
The second edition of the SVA Consulting Quarterly promises more of the practical and provocative articles found in its well-received debut issue. Designed to share insights and tools learnt from its varied engagements, the free online publication will tackle topics of interest to every non-profit organisation, CEO and board member in its next issue, out on 19 November.
Strategic thinkers will enjoy issue two’s insights on the role the board should play in organisational strategy, how the board can best support senior management to develop a strategy and how non-profit organisations can develop more focused strategy to increase their impact. Some powerful case studies will illustrate the unique approach that some of SVA Consulting’s clients took in developing their own strategies, including the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and Alzheimer’s NSW.
Finally, there is a must read for all social enterprises. We review the complexities of the social enterprise model and what to consider when developing one.
Adrian Appo OAM joins SVA board
22 October 2012
SVA is delighted to announce the appointment of Adrian Appo OAM to the SVA board. As CEO of Ganbina, Adrian has been instrumental in motivating thousands of Indigenous people in the Goulburn Valley to improve their circumstances. A graduate of Fairley Leadership’s Community Leadership Program and the Williamson Community Leadership Program, Adrian has also studied at the Harvard Business School.
A Gureng Gureng man, Adrian served with distinction in the Royal Australian Air Force. An electrician by trade, he went on to specialise in the Department of Defence Telecommunications Technology, he holds a Bachelor of Teaching and taught for several years after leaving the RAAF. He then moved into the professional recruitment industry working as a consultant with both the private and public sectors before joining Ganbina. Adrian was awarded an OAM in 2011 for service to Indigenous youth through career planning, employment and training programs.
Transforming Indigenous education through the Arts
SVA venture partner, The Song Room, is a national non-profit organisation that provides free, tailored, long-term music and arts-based programs for children in disadvantaged and high need communities.
The Song Room has built on its internationally significant research on the impact of its programs on disadvantaged young people, and further evaluated its programs’ impact for Indigenous communities in Queensland through a successful federally-funded pilot project, Creative Arts and Indigenous Parental Engagement (CAIPE).
The CAIPE program in Queensland is pioneering a new educational approach as it supports Indigenous families and communities to ‘reach in’ to schools and education providers to develop partnerships with them with the aim of enhancing their children’s educational outcomes. Parents and students from over 20 schools and other organisations from Brisbane (urban); Mackay (regional); and Cunnamulla (remote) were engaged by The Song Room over the 18 month program.
The Song Room commissioned respected research consultancy Educational Transformations to conduct an independent research project to develop an evidence base to access the merit of involving Indigenous parents in their children’s education, and the outcomes of their involvement. The study by researcher Dr Tanya Vaughan, Transforming Indigenous education through the Arts, has recently been published and shows striking results, indicating the program had a positive impact on students and parents with improvement noted in literacy, attendance and parental engagement.
The CAIPE program addresses the gap in arts access for disadvantaged schools, with the aim to meet three critical needs of Indigenous students that are widely recognised to impact on their success at school – literacy, school attendance and parental engagement.
The study which involved over 1,000 students, including 155 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in Grades 3, 4 and 5 has shown that The Song Room’s CAIPE project achieves the following positive impact and outcomes on participants:
The Song Room is 20 times more effective at closing the gap in literacy:
- Research shows that CAIPE closes the gap for Indigenous students by more than 20% in reading and more than 17% in writing and more than 12% in spelling;
- Closed the gap by more than 15% in grammar & punctuation and over 7% in writing in less than a year
Improved School Attendance
CAIPE brings Indigenous kids to school, and keeps them there:
- CAIPE increased Indigenous kids full attendance by more than 8% in Mackay;
- 67 per cent less absenteeism was observed for the regional Mackay Indigenous student cohort (Vaughan 2012)
CAIPE brings Indigenous parents to school and improves their children’s education:
- CAIPE increased parents expectations of their children’s school achievement, which has been associated with gains in educational outcomes of at least one year;
- CAIPE connects Indigenous students, parents, teachers and Elders to creative arts and the school
Representation of Local Culture
CAIPE has an educational system that recognises and acknowledges Aboriginal culture and heritage:
- The project was successful due to the inclusion of culturally derived resources which employed the cultural capital of parents, students and community members
Importantly, this compelling new evidence of the The Song Room’s CAIPE project’s impact on Indigenous communities builds on the independent study by Professor Brian Caldwell, funded by Macquarie Group Foundation, which demonstrates that when compared to matched control schools, participants in The Song Room’s arts based interventions achieved a number of important improvements including:
- Significantly higher school attendance (a 65% reduction in absenteeism);
- A one year improvement in literacy and academic outcomes, as measured by NAPLAN scores for reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy as well as school grades; and
- Significantly higher Social – Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) levels when compared to non-participating TSR students.
Of further significance, The Song Room’s program design includes a component to help the schools to create and sustain their own music and arts programs, thus building long term sustainability at a school level and enabling The Song Room to support new schools.
There is heavy demand from disadvantaged schools and high need communities from across Australia to establish The Song Room’s music and arts based engagement programs which specifically tackle the key learning and social and emotional wellbeing challenges. The Song Room is seeking support to engage children positively at school; build their self-esteem; and improve their learning outcomes.
This school and community demand provides social investment opportunities. For further information about these, please contact Justine Munro 02 8004 6756 or Alison Barry 02 8004 6749.
Global Shifts 2012: Social Enterprise Conference
SVA staff members Kevin Robbie, Justine Munro, Olivia Hilton and Simon Faivel, will be speaking at RMIT’s inaugural Social Enterprise conference, Global Shifts 2012 in Melbourne from 12-14 December 2012.
Bringing together change-makers, entrepreneurs and high profile leaders from Australia and abroad, the conference will discuss, debate and demonstrate ways in which pushing the boundaries of existing business models can contribute to positive social change.
The conference builds on the groundswell of activity and commitment in the social enterprise space in our region and aims to coalesce this energy into a powerful movement for change.
For more information, please visit the Global Shifts website.
Social Enterprise Fund (SEF) kicks off in Western Australia
SVA’s work in supporting the growth of the social enterprise sector in WA has continued to gather momentum in recent months.
SVA is leading a consortium of partners who, on behalf of the WA Government, is managing the Social Enterprise Fund (SEF) in Western Australia – a $10 million grants program designed to encourage the establishment of new and strengthen existing social enterprises across WA.
The role of the SEF Consortium is to support organisations who want to apply to the Fund and to enable the Government to make good investment decisions into social enterprises.
To kick off the Fund, 10 information sessions were held for interested parties in Geraldton, Bunbury, Karratha, Perth, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Carnarvon, Northam and Broome. The events proved incredibly popular, with 186 organisations in attendance.
Over 224 organisations took advantage of the one-on-one support offered by the SEF Consortium at the pre-application stage where they could access useful feedback and recommendations to tweak their business ideas. A total of 105 organisations applied in the first funding round with funding requests totalling almost $20 million.
SVA and the SEF Consortium then undertook intensive due diligence on these organisations before making their investment recommendations to the Government. As part of the investment process a number of individuals and companies volunteered their time and expertise to assist with due diligence by providing feedback on the organisations’ business plans. This support has, in some cases, led to further, valuable, pro bono support, such as a marketing mentor or agreement to develop an ongoing business advisory group.
The WA Government has so far announced the successful funding of 14 social enterprises with more announcements due in the coming months. Successful social enterprises include Brothaboy, an Indigenous clothing company that provides training opportunities for Indigenous teenagers at risk of disengaging from the school system, and Access Focus, a new social enterprise idea from the Association of the Blind WA. Brothaboy received funding to cover its start-up costs for the next two years, while Access Focus received $50,000 towards the development of a business plan to employ visually impaired ‘usability consultants’ to work with organisations to identify and eliminate the barriers people with a disability may face when accessing services.
SVA has hired two new WA-based staff members to work closely with applicants throughout the investment process, as well as with the SEF Consortium members to increase the knowledge and understanding of social enterprise across the state.
Two SVA executives will also visit WA in the next month, with SVA’s Kevin Robbie, Executive Director Employment, speaking at the Not-for Profit Partnerships WA conference on 30-31 October and SVA’s CEO, Michael Traill AM presenting at the 3 Pillars Network Non-Profit and Social Business Forum in Perth on 12 November.
A demand-led approach to improving employment outcomes
SVA has been developing a project with non-profit and corporate partners to test a demand-led approach to improving the employment outcomes of long-term unemployed Australians.
At the moment, too many highly disadvantaged Australians are missing out on the training, support and opportunities that would allow them to become successful participants in the economic and social mainstream. At the same time, some of Australia’s leading businesses have expressed their desire to boost the diversity of their workforces and provide meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities to people that are highly disadvantaged, provided this recruitment matches their workforce and business needs.
SVA and its non-profit partners, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Jesuit Social Services and Mission Australia, hope to work with some of these employers to design, and eventually to pilot, a training, support and recruitment pipeline of disadvantaged jobseekers that meets their organisational needs and that (after the pilot) can be replicated in their sites around the country.
Caroline Adler joined SVA’s employment team in September 2012 to lead our work in this area. Before joining SVA, Caroline was based in the US where she completed her Masters of Public Policy and worked as a strategy consultant for Year Up, an urban youth workforce development organisation. Before heading to the US, Caroline ran the PILCH Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic in Melbourne, and also worked as a commercial lawyer with Allens.
“There are employer-focused projects taking place at the local level through the Job Services Australia system and other initiatives, but more can be done to meet the regional/national coverage and volume recruitment requirements of large employers,” Caroline said.
“Ultimately, we hope to contribute lessons learned to the continued improvement of Australian employment services systems so that it can better serve both highly disadvantaged jobseekers and employers that have national recruitment needs.”
This project will evolve over the coming months, so watch this space for more updates.
Employment as a pathway out of homelessness
Catherine House, an Adelaide-based non-profit organisation, provides supported accommodation and a range of innovative programs and services to around 1,000 single adult women experiencing homelessness each year. Joining the SVA venture portfolio in January 2012, Catherine House is helping to transform lives through innovation in employment support.
Catherine House offers its clients the opportunity to transform their lives through the various supports and programs that it provides, particularly through access to education and employment opportunities.
In 2006 Catherine House opened the Sagarmatha Education and Employment Centre, out of which they run the Catherine House Education and Employment Program. It is dedicated to providing a range of recreational and educational courses, pre and post-employment services and support for women to move onto further study, job training, employment and/or volunteering opportunities.
The success of this program, combined with the organisation’s research into the viability of establishing an enterprise to support women into long-lasting jobs, has led to Catherine House launching a pioneering new social business, the WorkNext Job Placement Service.
WorkNext is a job placement service aimed at securing long-lasting, sustainable and meaningful jobs for women who have experienced social and economic disadvantage, whilst also providing highly motivated, well-trained and reliable staff for employers who take a corporate social responsibility approach to business.
The fee-for-service approach has been modelled on current recruitment industry practice. Job candidates are identified from a highly motivated, and appropriately qualified, pool of clients who will have completed the comprehensive WorkNext Trainee Program. In-depth research takes place with employer partners to fully understand workplace culture, values and requirements to ensure only the most appropriate candidates are put forward for consideration. Once placed, employees and employers benefit from the support of an Employment Coach, as part of the three-month job management service, which includes employees being members of the WN Ambassadors’ Group.
The Trainee Program uses a unique ’360 degree approach’ to job-readiness training, covering social, psychological and skill development. The design creates a balance between strengthening each woman’s ability to not only have the necessary practical job skill level, but equally importantly, the necessary personal resources to be a reliable and stable worker. Catherine House has an in-depth knowledge of WorkNext trainees which assists in ensuring the best match possible for all parties.
WorkNext has a range of broad-based partnerships with government departments, corporate entities and other business groups who are looking for highly motivated, well-trained and reliable staff, and who take a corporate social responsibility approach to doing business. There are currently six employer partners confirmed as participants in the program.
The uniqueness of the program lies in the focus on fostering a woman’s personal resilience as well as building employability skills and industry expertise. As part of our venture partner relationship, SVA is assisting Catherine House with bedding down their measurement and evaluation framework for WorkNext and helping them to develop corporate relationships for possible partnerships.
You can learn more about the innovative work Catherine House is undertaking to support women experiencing homeless in Adelaide on their website, www.catherinehouse.org.au.
SVA Social Finance one year on
In only its first year of operation, the SVA Social Finance team has successfully placed itself at the forefront of the sector with two key achievements, the establishment of the SVA Social Impact Fund and its appointment as advisor to UnitingCare on NSW’s first Social Benefit Bond.
SVA Social Impact Fund
In February 2012 the Australian Government (DEEWR) announced that SVA was the preferred candidate for the remaining $4m of grant funding under the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds (SEDIF) program. In order to secure the funding, SVA had to raise an additional $4m from private sources. SVA exceeded this target and have raised $4.6m from over 30 private investors, including individuals, family trusts and foundations.
This fundraising is a significant achievement and gives SVA the opportunity to invest $8.6m in social enterprises to facilitate positive social outcomes. Furthermore, by attracting investors into one of the first impact investing funds in Australia, SVA is pioneering a new form of investment that offers both a financial and social return.
The fund opened in June 2012 and since then a number of investment opportunities have been reviewed.
To date, the Fund’s Investment Committee has approved three investments:
- A loan to a community health care centre in Melbourne to allow them to set-up a ‘for profit’ GP practice. The profits from the practice will be directed to help fund the free and low-cost services the community health centre provides to vulnerable members of the community, including chronic drug users, refugees, homeless people and those experiencing serious mental illness;
- An equity investment (in the form a convertible prefernce share) in a Victorian based recycler which provides employment opportunities to people from a low socio-economic background, predominantly those who have experienced long-term unemployment;
- A loan to cover working capital requirements for a social procurement firm that has won a contract in regional Queensland to provide staff for a number of waste sites. The contract is expected to create 60 jobs for people that have difficulty finding work, specifically those with disabilities or people suffering mental illness.
The above investments cover a range of social enterprise types and sectors, and illustrate the different ways in which social businesses can have a positive impact in their community.
Since establishing the fund we have seen a wide variety of social enterprise investment opportunities across states, business models and sectors. These enterprises range from employment and disability providers, to IT platforms designed to assist children with special needs.
The pipeline of investment opportunities has come partly from our existing networks and partly as a result of active marketing. Three lunchtime educational seminars for interested enterprises, advisors and relevant government representatives have taken place in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne over August and September. We will host a similar event in Perth in the new year.
Social Benefit Bonds
Social Benefit Bonds are an innovative product designed to raise private funds for preventative programs which address areas of pressing social need. To date there has only been two such examples of such funding, one in the UK which targetted recidivism at Peterborough Prison and a bond funding program to reduce repeat offending at New York’s Rikers Island Prison.
The NSW Government is currently conducting a Social Benefit Bonds (SBB) pilot. The Government issued a request-for-proposal specifically targeting the areas of recidivism and out-of-home-care. On 21 March 2012 the Government announced the service providers that they will be working with to issue three SBBs and UnitingCare Burnside (targeting out-of-home-care) was one of the successful service providers.
As we reported in the April 2012 newsletter, SVA has been appointed by UnitingCare to provide advice on the structuring and financial modelling of the SBB. In taking on this role SVA will play a pivotal part in the creation and implementation of the first SBB in Australia, ensuring that it is structured to maximise social benefit and investor appetite for this new product.
Whilst there are significant negotiations to take place with the NSW Government, SVA hope to have a finalised structure and to begin investor marketing in early 2013.
Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership Project completed
SVA congratulates the SVA Queensland and Employment teams on the completion of the Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership Project with the Queensland Government’s Department of Communities, and Department of Education, Training and Employment.
The purpose of the year-long project was to develop and support sustainable social enterprises that provide alternative employment options and pathways for local disadvantaged jobseekers. This included government supporting SVA to work with social enterprises to grow local opportunities, such as the development of alternative procurement options for all levels of government, and for SVA to develop a portfolio of social enterprises to be provided with investment and support.
The project’s target of supporting 65 disadvantaged jobseekers was exceeded, with 87 new individuals from marginalised backgrounds employed in the social enterprises supported. Nine new enterprises were invested in within the social enterprise portfolio: five with a focus on employing young people at risk, two of these being Indigenous organisations and four enterprises employing people with mental health issues. In addition, 21 social enterprises, which had been identified and supported in the past, received aftercare support.
SVA also provided a range of support activities to help build sustainability within the social enterprises. These activities included hosting regional social enterprise workshops, running commerce panels, arranging business mentoring and business showcase sessions, negotiating access to procurement opportunities, and providing training on social procurement, social return on investment (SROI) and advocacy. SROI analyses were also completed on some of the enterprises.
The project was supported by a network of collaborating business experts on a pro bono basis. SVA would like to thank all those who contributed their time and skills, particularly the PwC team.
SVA Education Dialogue 2012: Great Teaching in Tough Schools
SVA’s Education Dialogues focus on identifying innovation, catalysing focus and energy and connecting the ‘right’ networks of people willing to forge new solutions to ensure disadvantaged children have a better chance to achieve at school and consequently in life.
The annual Education Dialogue is part of SVA’s Bright Spots to a Bright System approach to systems change. Bright Spots are proven and innovative programs and initiatives leading the way in creating positive change. A Bright Spot might be an initiative run by a non-profit organisation, a school, government or a university. Bringing together resources, expertise and commitment from across all sectors, we support and showcase Bright Spots so their influence can spread and the educational prospects of more children can be improved. The annual Dialogue is an important step in this process: validating and showcasing innovations from around Australia and bringing momentum to the development and growth of more Bright Spots.
Bringing together an ‘uncommon alliance’ of leaders from across sectors who are positioned to make a difference at a practical, policy and political level the Dialogue enable new conversations, inspires new practice, and energises new partnerships.
This year the focus was ‘Great Teaching in Tough Schools’ and on September 12 some of Australia’s most respected and inspirational leaders from across education, government, business, philanthropy and the non- profit sector gathered in Sydney to explore how can we ensure that every teacher in a classroom in a low-socio economic area has or can access the professional skills and support to help each child achieve their educational potential.
The event explored developing the teacher workforce with a focus on understanding the skills required for teaching in a disadvantaged classroom, innovations in teacher training and pathways into teaching, school-led teacher early-stage teacher support and development, school-university partnerships, and teachers accessing skills and support beyond the classroom, including from non-profits and the wider community.
The incredible day showed what is possible: that committed, evidence-based, collaborative and passionate action on the ground can change the game for disadvantaged students.
A communique from the SVA Education Dialogue 2012 will be distributed to attendees and shared via the SVA website in November 2012.
SVA Education Dialogue 2012 highlights to watch or listen to at your leisure:
SVA Education Dialogue Dinner 2012 ‘fireside chat’ on the future of schooling with Tony Mackay and international education strategist, Valerie Hannon [Audio file 22MB or Video, 54’ duration].
Welcome and opening address, Michael Traill AM, CEO, Social Ventures Australia [Video, 6 min duration]
Wrap up and next steps, Justine Munro, Director Education, Social Ventures Australia [Video, 6 min duration]
Final comments and acknowledgements, Michael Traill AM, CEO, Social Ventures Australia [Video, 3 min duration]
SVA Consulting launches a quarterly online publication for non-profit leaders and managers
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting has launched an online publication, the SVA Consulting Quarterly, dedicated to sharing new ideas, tools and methodologies with the Australian non-profit sector. Since its inception in 2007, SVA Consulting has completed over 350 diverse projects for more than 160 organisations. Through this varied and challenging work, the consulting team has gained insights and knowledge they are keen to share for the betterment of the sector.
Issue one focuses on business improvement: understanding how an organisation’s programs work, monitoring their success and improving them. It asks what role social return on investment can play and how best to manage a board – a topic broached, sooner or later, by most of SVA Consulting’s clients.
SVA Ten Year Anniversary
Inspired by the burgeoning ‘venture philanthropy’ movement in the US, in 2002 SVA’s founders envisioned an organisation that could provide a new approach to supporting innovative social change by applying the principles of venture capitalism.
Ten years later, those founders could not have envisioned the scope and scale of support SVA has delivered to the social sector – from a funding base of less than $1 million, we have distributed over $20 million to 88 ventures and social enterprises, and provided strategic consulting advice and access to SVA’s well-connected networks to help further develop the sector.
SVA celebrated the achievements of its first decade and highlighted its vision for the future, with 500 members of the SVA community at a gala dinner on 26 July 2012. Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia graciously attended as guest of honour.
Descendance, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre Company, performed a stirring Welcome to Country and both superstars and tiny stars entertained, with operatic leading man Teddy Tahu Rhodes showing the children from Dawson Primary School’s The Song Room program where their indubitable vocal talents could lead them.
Her Excellency spoke eloquently about the need for SVA’s work in the social sector and the transformative power that investing in social change can have on the lives of Australia’s most disadvantaged people. Calling on a number of examples, Her Excellency underlined the need for a whole of society engagement to address inequality.
Michael Traill AM, delivered a stirring speech, invoking the passion and partnerships that have characterised SVA’s journey. Later, SVA Chair Paul Robertson, Beacon CEO Scott Harris, STREAT CEO Rebecca Scott, CareerTrackers participant George Brown and AIME mentor and intern Zoe Betar movingly shared how SVA has connected with and supported their personal stories.
A beautifully-produced book marking SVA’s first ten years was also launched at the dinner. Dedicated to all who have brought their passion, energy and commitment to support SVA’s work, the book features inspirational stories from social investors, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and many of the participants of the social ventures SVA has supported.
The night was a fitting celebration of SVA’s pioneering achievements and a nod to the great things that are still to come.
Fair Business wins Australian Business Award for Innovation
SVA congratulates Fair Business, an employment-focused venture partner in our portfolio, with its 2012 Australian Business Award for Innovation, recognising its significant achievement in developing viable social enterprises that provide jobs for Australians living in entrenched disadvantage.
“Being recognised for innovation by the Australian Business Awards proves that we are on the right track,” Alex Shead, CEO of Fair Business said.
“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible for social enterprise in Australia and we continue to innovate and create opportunities to support those who need our help.”
The award distinguishes Fair Business as the only non-profit organisation in the Southern Hemisphere with a model to acquire businesses and successfully transition them into social enterprises as well as recognising its unique partnership model; its new approach to finance; and its longer-term vision to offer the previously disadvantaged employees an equity stake in the social enterprises.
For more information, visit the Fair Business website.
In Memoriam Irene Lee
17 June 2012
One of our most generous and loyal supporters, Irene Lee, sadly passed away on 17 June, 2012. Irene had been a long term funder and believer in our work and we express our condolences to her friends and family at her loss.
In Memoriam Steve Lawrence AO
22 May 2012
Steve was a founding director of SVA and has been a pioneer of the social enterprise sector in this country. He has been a great driver and advocate of the work of SVA and served on our board for seven years until stepping down from his role as CEO of WorkVentures. Steve understood the need for social enterprise more than 30 years ago and has been an agent of change and action through his work locally and globally ever since. He was a driver and founder with us of the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Australia, which was one of many initiatives that he drove. We particularly remember the deserved recognition he received at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Melbourne, where his footprints on the sector were acclaimed by a throng of over 500 Australian and international guests and social entrepreneurs.
Life on $20 a day
14 May 2012
SVA venture partner Fair Business’s CEO Alex Shead is living off $20 a day in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by Australia’s unemployed.
As CEO of Fair Business, a non-profit organisation that provides real work opportunities for the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged by developing financially sustainable businesses and growing them to create jobs, Alex Shead is more aware than most of how difficult it can be for people to break the cycle of long-term joblessness. However as he discovered, understanding and experiencing can be worlds apart.
Follow Alex Shead as he raises awareness of the realities faced by an unemployed job seeker in Australia, trying to seek employment when even affording public transport can be a challenge. Click here to read Alex’s daily account of LIFE ON $20 A DAY.
SVA’s visit to AIYA in Queensland
10 May 2012
An SVA supported Social Enterprise; Australian Indigenous Youth Academy (AIYA) received a visit from SVA consultant Tobin Devasia. As part of SVA’s Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of the AIYA traineeship and cultural program, Tobin spent two days meeting AIYA stakeholders including AIYA trainees, their parents, indigenous coordinators, principals and teachers who are all key contributors to this analysis.
AIYA is an indigenous social enterprise operating in Queensland, committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through providing holistic, school-based traineeships and fee-for-service programs and employment outcomes for Indigenous versus non-Indigenous Australians. AIYA is supported as part of 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 presently excluded from the labour market.
Read more about Tobin’s visit to AIYA.
Two SVA venture partners enter into a unique social enterprise arrangement
In a unique social enterprise arrangement, STREAT, which provides social support and training to homeless and disengaged youth in Melbourne, has taken over two cafés established by Fair Business in 2008 to create jobs for local unemployed people. STREAT acquired the cafes after having been approached by Fair Business who wanted to collaborate with likeminded entities in the local area.
STREAT has taken over both the Social Roasting Company’s sites in Melbourne – the café and roaster at 307 Racecourse Road, Flemington and the café at 5 McKillop Street, Melbourne.
The two new locations will allow STREAT to expand training opportunities for more disadvantaged youth. The acquisition was a unique social finance deal with STREAT securing a number of social investors, including Fair Business, to support the purchase of the businesses.
SVA is hugely excited by this collaboration between two complementary social enterprises, illustrating the power that sustainable social enterprises can have in helping to transform lives and communities.
Simon Faivel accredited SROI trainer
19 April 2012
Simon Faivel, Senior Consultant from SVA Consulting is the second person in Australia to become an accredited Social Return on Investment (SROI) trainer, through the international SROI Network.
SROI is a form of stakeholder-driven evaluation blended with cost-benefit analysis tailored to social purposes. It tells the story of how change is being created and places a monetary value on that change and compares it with the costs of inputs required to achieve it. It is one of the services offered by SVA Consulting, as part of its broader work in supporting non-profit organisations with their Measurement and Evaluation needs.
An accredited practitioner is a member recognised by the international SROI network as having completed training and provided evidence that they understand and can apply the principles of SROI. This evidence is provided by having submitted an SROI analysis that has met the requirements of the assurance process. Accredited practitioners have opportunities to become involved in the assessment of reports.
There are currently around 15 accredited trainers in the world who can deliver the accredited two day training course and with Simon completing the process, there are now two accredited trainers in Australia.
Simon was assessed by Jeremy Nicholls, CEO of the SROI Network, during the Melbourne SROI accredited training in February 2012.
SSE Australia Welcomes Celia Hodson as CEO
18 April 2012
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Australia has announced the appointment of Celia Hodson as its new Chief Executive Officer. Celia joins SSE Australia with a wealth of experience as a business person, entrepreneur and founder of one of the UK’s most successful social enterprise schools, The Eastern Enterprise Hub.
In her role at The Eastern Enterprise Hub, Celia established SSE East so is already part of the SSE global family and has first hand experience of supporting and advocating for social entrepreneurs.
SVA incubated the SSE prior to its launch and continues to provide the School with ongoing support. SSE Australia’s goal is to assist social entrepreneurs in transforming their talent and drive into real social outcomes
Last ever AIME National Hoodie Day
17 April 2012
31 August 2012 is the last day of winter and the last ever AIME National Hoodie Day.
SVA venture partner, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), is an Indigenous Corporation that has proven to dramatically improve the chances of Indigenous kids finishing school. AIME links volunteer university students with Indigenous high school students in a dynamic educational program.
It costs $3,000 to see an Indigenous child through the AIME Program and National Hoodie Day is a key fundraising event for the Program. This year will be the last ever for AIME National Hoodie Day, and your support will help AIME reach more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids across the nation.
AIME is looking for corporate and community partners to support the final AIME National Hoodie Day. They’re also putting the challenge out to teams across the nation to share their 60 seconds of success about Indigenous Australia.
A minimum purchase of five hoodies is required for a team to enter the AIME National Hoodie Day Video Challenge. Winning entries will be spotlighted on the front page of YouTube.com for a 24-hour period on 31 August. The site receives 4 million impressions daily.
Videos can be uploaded to www.nationalhoodieday.com from 20 July 2012 – 30 August 2012.
For details about how your organisation can become an AIME NHD partner, contact AIME’s Partnering Team at email@example.com.
Making a difference in the world
15 April 2012
In 2008 when SVA Consulting’s Duncan Peppercorn first met the Salteri family and challenged them to consider what difference they wanted to see in the world, neither party envisaged the complex yet rewarding path the answer to that question would lead them down.
As the Salteri family discovered, making the initial decision to give is the easiest decision associated with establishing a family foundation. Deciding where to focus, who to give to, and how to evaluate our giving are decisions that are much more challenging and complex. Over the past three years the Salteri family has engaged SVA Consulting to undertake a number of assignments to support their family foundation, the CAGES Foundation, in making these decisions.
To assist the Salteri family to find the answer to Duncan’s initial question, SVA Consulting facilitated numerous discussions amongst family members. These conversations explored family values and interest areas, in addition to considering the needs of the Australian community. The outcome of these discussions led the family down a path of exploring how CAGES could enable Indigenous children in rural and regional NSW to build the skills to live fulfilling and productive lives. The Salteri family recognised that if they were successful in this quest they would certainly be making a significant difference to the world, but neither SVA nor CAGES were under any illusions about how challenging it might be to contribute to better outcomes for Indigenous children.
CAGES recognised that to maximise their impact they needed to build a real understanding of the issues facing Indigenous children in rural and regional areas. The first piece of work undertaken by SVA Consulting was therefore to build a depth of knowledge for CAGES about the social issues: what wasn’t working for Indigenous children, where the evidence pointed in terms of solutions, what would be required to have a positive impact, and who the organisations were who were considered by Indigenous leaders and other key stakeholders to be ‘on the right track’.
‘SVA has been instrumental in helping the CAGES Foundation to understand the field that we are working within and ensure that we are rigorous in selecting organisations and programs for funding,’ reflects Gemma Salteri.
Once the landscape was better understood, a process was then undertaken to refine CAGES vision further. After extensive consultation and research it was determined that CAGES would have the most impact if it could find and support programs which made a difference during the first five years of Indigenous children’s lives, particularly in the areas of health, social development and early learning skills.
Once this decision had been made, CAGES began the difficult task of short-listing potential beneficiaries – a task made more complex by the small size of the organisations working in the space. This resulted in CAGES making two further key decisions – firstly to only support three organisations in year one, and secondly to respond to the relatively low level of organisational development of these smaller organisations by providing funding to develop organisational skills and strategy.
CAGES is now in its third year of operations, has a growing network of relationships, and a developing sense of the kinds of organisations it prefers to support. By making the difficult decision initially to not simply give to everything that interested them and instead to focus on a very specific area, CAGES established a strong foundation to build from.The lesson from the CAGES experience is that focus maximises impact.
Supporting one of the most difficult and sensitive issues in Australian society is no easy task, but by choosing one area of focus, the Salteri family are indeed trying to make a real difference in the world.
Helping dreams become reality
4 April 2012
For proof of the impact of the programs of SVA venture partner Ganbina, look no further than their former program participant Allen Roberts. Allen has successfully secured and completed prestigious internships in investment banking, professional services and IT consulting with leading firms: Goldman Sachs, KPMG and Knowledge Age.
Ganbina helps motivate and support young Indigenous kids to stay in school, offering a suite of intensive programs which focus upon the areas of work readiness and employment. By tailoring the program to meet the personal needs and aspirations of each participant, Ganbina is able to provide in-depth support to fit a range of individual circumstances. This is a vital service in Shepparton, home to Victoria’s second largest Indigenous population, where youth unemployment continues to sky rocket.
Importantly Ganbina not only helps young people to realise their dreams, they also encourage their participants to dream big. This is an important first step as for many of these young Indigenous students, few family members have graduated from high school and many have not been able to find secure, regular employment in adulthood. Without role models of success in their community, it is easy for these young Indigenous students to sell themselves short when identifying their own career and life goals.
Ganbina provided Allen with the guidance and support he needed as a teenager when he was working to secure a scholarship to Trinity Grammar in Kew, Melbourne: the prestigious private boarding school where he completed his year 11 and 12 studies. By helping Allen to define and set ambitious goals, a clearer pathway and picture of what is possible became apparent to him, leading him on to tertiary study.
Allen recently completed the second year of a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University, with a view to beginning his MBA in 2013 – a remarkable achievement given he is the very first member of his family to attend university. Although Allen is well on the road to success, Ganbina continues to play an important role in Allen’s life, stepping in with support as and when required.
New support for social enterprises in Western Australia
4 April 2012
SVA is delighted to be playing a role in supporting social enterprise development in Western Australia, thanks to an initiative from the State Government of Western Australia – a $10 million Social Enterprise Fund Grants Program (SEF).
SEF aims to increase the number, effectiveness and efficiency of social enterprises in Western Australia by supporting not-for-profit community sector organisations to establish new or strengthen existing social enterprises.
A consortium led by SVA and comprising Social innovation in Western Australia (SiiWA), Social Traders, Centre for Social Impact (CSI), and Western Australia Council of Social Service (WACOSS), will provide a support service on behalf of the State Government of Western Australia to ensure the effective delivery of the SEF. This will include:
- offering advice and support to social enterprises considering applying for SEF funding
- conducting information sessions and advice surgeries for prospective applicants
- carrying out due diligence on eligible applications on behalf of the Government
- providing aftercare business support to successful applicants
- working with the State Government of Western Australia in developing the social enterprise sector in WA.
SVA’s involvement in this initiative from the State Government of Western Australia continues to expand SVA’s work supporting social enterprises more broadly and draws on the expertise SVA has developed through managing other programs such as the Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership. The Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership, a partnership with the Queensland Government, specifically supports social enterprises in Queensland that are creating employment opportunities for people who are excluded from the labour market.
Find out more about who is eligible for the Social Enterprise Fund – Western Australia and how to apply.
Launch of Australian Philanthropic Services
1 April 2012
The Private Ancillary Fund (PAF) Service offered by SVA has been rebranded ‘Australian Philanthropic Services’, with a view to provide greater focus to this service and accelerate expansion plans.
Australian Philanthropic Services (APS) is now a separate entity within the Social Ventures Australia broad family, focussing on inspiring and supporting philanthropy.
APS establishes and manages private ancillary funds (PAFs) for individuals and families, and works with wealth advisers to help them help their clients do the same. APS assists individuals and foundations to plan their giving, so they can support the community more effectively.
Find out more at www.australianphilanthropicservices.com.au
Expanding Australia’s social finance market
25 March 2012
SVA is delighted to be part of UnitingCare Burnside’s (UCB) winning consortium under the NSW Government’s Social Benefit Bond pilot program. SVA will work alongside UCB to structure and fund the bond, which will be developed over the coming six months in consultation with the Government working committee. The UCB service delivery model is based around their highly regarded Newpin (New Parent and Infant Network) program, which has a track record both here and in the UK. Newpin is a preventative, therapeutic program that works intensively with families facing potential or actual child protection issues.
SVA has begun talks with potential investors and are happy to meet with interested parties who may be looking for social finance investments of this type. For further information contact Ian Learmonth, SVA’s Executive Director, Social Finance.
Townsville leading the way in social enterprise development
14 March 2012
Townsville is leading the way in the development of the social enterprise sector in North Queensland, with two Townsville based organisations being showcased as best practice in the sector.
That’s the message from SVA’s Executive Director Employment, Kevin Robbie, who visited Townsville this week to address leaders from business, government and the non-profit sector about how social enterprise can create employment opportunities for people excluded from the mainstream labour market.
‘By partnering with the Queensland Government and progressive councils such as Townsville City Council, SVA has had great success supporting social enterprises in Queensland that help people with disabilities, people experiencing mental illness, Indigenous Australians, ex-offenders, homeless people, refugees or migrants obtain real work for real pay,’ said Mr Robbie.
‘There are terrific examples of social enterprises right here in Townsville, such as Brothers Act of Random Kindness (BARK) and North Queensland Green Solutions (NQGS). Both of these organisations are having significant impact in the community,’ added Mr Robbie.
BARK began as a project auspiced by Townsville City Council (TCC) with funding from both the Australian and Queensland Governments, when TCC were looking at ways to maintain one of their water pipelines. By providing work for Indigenous ex-offenders with a wrap-around support and mentoring program, founders, Gavin Kum Sing and Chris Townsend observed the significant changes in the men with whom they work. SVA helped BARK transition from a project into a viable social enterprise that today employs 25 people, 20 of whom are Indigenous ex-offenders.
NQGS is a community recycling venture, providing a program to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, NQGS diverts domestic waste before entering the landfill and sells reusable items to the public, while at the same time creating jobs and providing training in tip recycling and in the recycle shop for those who experience barriers to employment.
‘Working at a social enterprise like BARK can often help people who have had difficulties finding a job such as ex-offenders, successfully transition to the open labour market. Equally social enterprises play an important role as an alternative labour market for those people who need a supportive working environment, such as those with a disability or mental health issue. NQGS is a great example of this model,’ explained Mr Robbie.
SROI: Lessons learned in Australia
1 March 2012
As part of SVA’s commitment to encourage increased transparency and improved accountability in the social sector, in 2009 SVA joined forces with the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation to form the Investing in Impact Partnership. This partnership aims to develop a greater understanding of best practice in impact measurement, improve decision making of philanthropic foundations and individuals, encourage transparency amongst non-profit organisations and social enterprises in reporting their impact and develop an Australian Social Return on Investment (SROI) network. In addition to providing training to practitioners and consultants in SROI, it also links emerging SROI practice in Australia into international best practice.
With funding generously provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation, the partnership was able to commission SVA Consulting to assess the current state of play of SROI in Australia today. The report assesses the impact of these developments and advises on actions to further the development and take-up of SROI in Australia, answering three
three key questions: Is it worthwhile to continue to apply the SROI approach? If so, how could it be done better? What actions should be undertaken to further develop SROI policy and practice, and increase its take-up in Australia?
The report presents three conclusions and makes eleven recommendations for how the Partnership, investors, non-profit organisations and social enterprises, and governments can continue to develop SROI and extend its use in Australia. Read the full report [PDF File size: 1.2MB].
SVA welcomes two new venture partners
14 February 2012
The SVA Employment team continues to expand their efforts to create employment pathways for Australians who are either at risk of falling into employment exclusion, or are already excluded from the labour market, recently forming two new partnerships.
CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program is a national non-profit social enterprise that creates private sector internship opportunities for Indigenous university students, providing coaching, mentoring and support to interns along the way.
Adelaide based Catherine House provides a range of innovative programs and services to single adult women experiencing homelessness. Their recently established social business WorkNext, is a fee-for-service job placement service aimed at securing long-lasting sustainable meaningful jobs for women who have experienced social and economic disadvantage.
Read more about how SVA supports these and other venture partners.
Social finance in action
23 January 2012
Since SVA’s pivotal role in Australia’s largest social financing deal to date – the Goodstart Early Learning transaction – SVA has been working to identify opportunities to support the expansion of the social finance market in Australia.
While this market is still in the early stages of development in Australia, the SVA Social Finance team is excited to be working with a community healthcare organisation in Melbourne to put social finance into action, helping to meet local community needs through a financing structure aimed at providing investors with both a social purpose outcome and a financial return.
North Yarra Community Health (NYCH) has been providing free or low cost community health and welfare services to disadvantaged sections of its local community for 142 years, having started out in 1869 as the Collingwood and Fitzroy free medical service and dispensary. Strong demand for increased NYCH services in an environment of constrained Government funding led NYCH management to consider alternative methods of financing their social missions. Taking advantage of the gentrification of their local areas, NYCH has identified an opportunity to establish a private GP practice to generate profits to fund NYCH’s community healthcare and welfare work, and is currently seeking start-up funding to set up the practice and cover its costs until it begins to generate profits.
The profitable nature of a private GP practice together with the strong social orientation of NYCH provide a unique social finance investing opportunity and the chance to be involved at the leading edge of developing Australia’s social finance market. NYCH has been researching this opportunity and developing a business plan for over a year, and the SVA Social Finance team has been working with NYCH over recent months to review their plans and develop a suitable social financing structure. The nature of the funding is essentially debt, however tailored to the ability of the enterprise to make repayments, which was not possible through a commercial lender such as a bank.
NYCH has secured a lease for suitable premises for the GP practice and is about to enter the start-up phase of the business in earnest. In addition to continuing to provide its existing healthcare and welfare services, NYCH is intending to provide much-needed additional refugee healthcare services and children’s speech pathology services through the profits generated by the practice.
SVA is now in discussions with a number of potential investors about this exciting opportunity, with the hope of closing a successful social finance transaction as a great start to 2012.
For more information about social finance investing, or how you could invest in this particular opportunity, please contact Ian Learmonth (SVA Executive Director – Social Finance) on 02 8004 6729, or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking the guess work out of grantmaking
23 January 2012
Making the decision to give generously to the non-profit sector can deliver enormous and meaningful community benefit. However for many philanthropists deciding where best to direct their funds and which organisations to support can be challenging. This is the point where Fiona Higgins steps in. Managing the SVA grantmaking and evaluation service, she understands these challenges and works with private ancillary fund (PAF) holders to navigate the complexities of the non-profit and philanthropic sectors as they decide which organisations should benefit from their giving.
Explains Fiona, “Questions we’re often asked is ‘How do I go about assessing funding applications or potential grant recipients?’ or ‘What makes a good grant?’ While it’s satisfying to pick philanthropic ‘winners’, there is no definitive formula for grantmaking success.”
Fiona recognises that every organisation is different, even those working in the same sector towards similar ends.
Drawing on her own experience working with many organisations, their projects and proposals over the years, as well as the experience of other experts in the field, she has identified 10 key indicators, the presence of which within an organisation tends to predispose it to success in achieving its objectives. “We recommend people consider these indicators when weighing up a philanthropic opportunity,” she says.
And while these indicators provide a good evaluation framework, Fiona cautions against blindly following a formula without due consideration of the individual circumstances. “Don’t obsess about ticking all the boxes. Like most things in life, there is no ‘silver bullet’ – sometimes an organisation or project can exhibit many or all of these themes, and still fail to meet expectations,” she adds.
When it comes to knowing what makes a good grant proposal, Fiona has some pragmatic advice. “It’s important to recognise that a good grant proposal and a ‘good grant’ are not one and the same. In our experience, while a good funding proposal makes for pleasant reading, a slick application doesn’t always translate into programmatic impact. (In fact, the slicker the application, the more questions we ask.)”
At SVA she advises funders to, wherever possible, ensure they make meaningful personal contact with the decision-makers and ‘on-grounders’ within an agency. Spending time in meetings or site visits, reading an organisation’s annual reports and financial statements, and exploring an organisation’s health in terms of our ‘10 Key Indicators’ can all help to identify red-flags before any funding changes hands.
The 10 key indicators to maximise the impact of philanthropic funding:
- A charismatic and capable leader
- Clarity of purpose
- Execution ability
- Measurement of true impact
- Creation of lasting change
- Active collaboration
- Good communication
- A compelling model
- Built-in reflection time
- The X-factor
For more information about how SVA’s grant making and evaluation service can help you with your grant making process, contact Rachael McLennan on 02 8004 6755, or via email on email@example.com.
Working it Out
13 January 2012
Sitting at the heart of participation in the economy is paid employment. Long-term Indigenous unemployment is at an unacceptably high level 17%* and all the evidence points to the collateral social damage this causes.
While there is general awareness of this disparity and a widespread desire to ‘close the gap,’ a detailed and practical knowledge base of what it takes to successfully transition long-term unemployed Indigenous Australians into sustainable, meaningful employment has been lacking. SVA Consulting and the SVA Employment team recently completed a series of case studies on behalf of non-profit organisation GenerationOne, to illustrate how this can be achieved, and inspire others to engage in this work.
Since its launch in 2008, the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC), sister organisation to GenerationOne, has succeeded in securing commitments for tens of thousands of jobs for Indigenous Australians. However, to date, only a small percentage of these roles have been filled. Together with GenerationOne they realised that to break the cycle of Indigenous unemployment employers need to know how to attract, develop and retain candidates for those roles. They need strategies that work, to get candidates ‘job-ready’ and help them navigate a pathway from employment exclusion to meaningful, sustainable employment – not just a job but a career.
The case studies took the team around Australia to learn from a diverse range of organisations, from Karen Sheldon: a small catering and training organisation based in the NT, through Skill360: a Group Training Organisation in North Queensland, to the Crown entertainment complexes in Melbourne and Perth, Woolworths and ISS: a facilities management company. These are employers who are achieving demonstrable, positive outcomes and were prepared to be open and candid about their experience. Each offered inspiring stories and unique insights, but shared similar foundations that underpinned their success.
Collaboration: drawing on the specialist skills and expertise of aligned partners was common among all of the organisations. Supporting individuals to navigate the labyrinth of service providers and access the support they need requires a joined-up, case management approach. The SVA team talked to many parts of that system, including executives, program managers, employees, job service providers, wider family and community members and other stakeholders. What emerged was not the bleak and hopeless laundry list of barriers to employment with which we’re often confronted. The overwhelming sense was that, yes, success requires that you work very hard (and smart), and devote significant resource but yes, it is definitely worth it – there will be challenges but the benefits to all involved are compelling.
Maria’s story is one of many we heard which are characterised by resilience, determination and the partnership of employee and employer in overcoming challenges. Maria came to Crown, Melbourne as a single mother of two. Early in her employment she was faced with an incident where a co-worker made a rude comment towards her. Strong support from her manager, Wayne, and the understanding and skills of Charles Williams, the Aboriginal Employment Program Manager, meant the issue was addressed quickly, effectively and sensitively, according to Maria’s wishes. Maria was then consulted around the delivery of a session on Indigenous issues to the whole business unit. The negative experience became a chance to educate.
For Maria, the biggest challenge came not from the workplace but from the broader system. Working created additional costs: loss of housing support meant an increase in rent. At the same time she had to fund childcare and transport. All these costs hit in the space of a week. Crown tried to support Maria, changing rosters to minimise childcare and transport costs. They even organised for her to see a financial counsellor, who conceded that she was actually better off financially if she wasn’t working. Maria resigned but at the time of writing was about to start back at Crown. So what changed? It wasn’t the welfare system or the cost of working. Maria’s children actually persuaded her to go back to work – they saw the positive impact that employment had on their mother and simply told her they liked it better that way.
These case studies and the stories they contain provide some clear lessons for employers: the need to invest in pre-employment training aligned to employers’ needs and actually leading to a job; the value of giving job-seekers the opportunity to explore their interests, build from their strengths and test out various roles to find the right fit; the importance of creating a support network which ideally involves and invests family and community in the employee’s success. Already the next steps to ensure this information is effectively shared, used and built on are being discussed. However the most important lesson arising from this piece of work is simple and applies as much to Indigenous job-seekers and employers: ‘it’s not easy but it’s possible, and it’s worth it.’
*Approximately 17 % of very long-term unemployed job seekers are Indigenous people. Source: ‘Investing to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians’ Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Nurturing growth of social enterprise in Queensland
10 January 2012
Finding and keeping a job can feel like an insurmountable obstacle for Australia’s many long-term unemployed. Economic stress, mental illness, poor health, social isolation are some of the common consequences for those who are excluded from the labour market for any protracted period. SVA has long recognised that employment is one of the critical pillars of a healthy society and is committed to supporting organisations working to create opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
SVA is continuing to expand its work supporting social enterprises in Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Social Enterprise Partnership (QSEP), funded by the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), providing business and relationship management to 15 growing businesses working in this vital area.
The partnership will also 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.
One of these social enterprises supported by SVA is Sandgate Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED). Established by SANDBAG, a community organisation based in Brisbane’s North, SEED is a Parks and Property maintenance service that provides landscape and property maintenance and commercial cleaning. This social enterprise initiative creates job opportunities for people in the community who are excluded from the traditional labour market. The SEED operating model is based on ‘real work, real pay’ for all employees and to date a total of 29 people have been employed with 15 current employees, surpassing their original targets.
From modest beginnings mowing parks for Brisbane City Council, SEED has steadily grown and developed in the last two years and now boasts services which include body corporates and domestic mowing through to large-scale landscape maintenance and street maintenance projects. They have also expanded into office and shopping centre cleaning using greener products. Through quality leadership, hard work and best practice, SEED has flourished. Working with SEED, SVA continues to provide strategic support through QSEP, to assist its successful transition to a fully diversified business, providing job opportunities for locals who would otherwise struggle to find employment.
The partnership between QSEP and SVA is designed to expand SVA’s work supporting social enterprises in Queensland that are creating employment opportunities for people who are excluded from the labour market. SVA is committed to providing targeted support to innovative solutions such as SEED, which have the potential to impact and create positive change on a larger scale.
Something to sing about
4 January 2012
SVA is delighted to announce the entry of The Song Room into our venture portfolio.
The Song Room is a national non-profit organisation that provides free, tailored, long-term music and arts-based programs for children in disadvantaged and high need communities.
There has been growing recognition by educational leaders that improving educational outcomes is not simply achieved with a focus on numeracy and literacy, but that positive school engagement as well as social and emotional wellbeing are also fundamental building blocks to success. The Song Room’s vision is that all Australian children have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts to enhance their education, personal development and community involvement.
The Song Room delivers its programs to around 250 schools and communities each year and works with over 20,000 children every week. Programs are targeted to schools in the most marginalised communities from every State / Territory of Australia, from the 700,000 children in schools without specialist teachers in the arts.
Programs delivered by The Song Room are based on extensive research and have been demonstrated to not only improve educational and social outcomes for participants, but also help schools sustain their own music and arts programs.
As part of their inclusion in SVA’s venture portfolio, The Song Room will receive strategic assistance and consultancy designed to support them deliver their ambitious growth plans.