13 October 2015
11 min read

Empowering women, protecting wildlife, and overcoming poverty are among the goals that Australian Ethical is supporting by awarding 10% of our pre-tax profits in grants.

Community grants to the value of $300,000 were awarded to 18 charities and social businesses working on Australian and international causes this month. The projects are varied, and include animal welfare, conservation, women’s empowerment, renewable energy, addressing homelessness and alleviating poverty.

Phil Vernon, Australian Ethical's managing director said, “Our company Charter isn’t simply a guide for screening investments – it is the basis of our company culture. Underpinning it is a belief that we have a responsibility to do more than just make money, but to improve the world around us. The grants program is one way we are achieving this goal”.

“Whether it’s supporting Indigenous health in the outback, caring for donkeys in Afghanistan, or creating jobs for refugees – there are so many inspiring people working hard to make a difference. We are proud to support these organisations and the great work they are doing,” said Mr Vernon.

Australian Ethical's Community Grant recipients for 2015


Environmental Defenders Office Inc
Improving access to environmental justice in the Northern Territory (NT)

The Northern Territory's environmental and planning legislation has repeatedly failed to adequately protect the NT's pristine and world-renowned environment. In October 2014, the NT established the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to pave the way for ordinary Territorians to challenge government decisions. The NT Environmental Defenders Office is conducting a law reform and advocacy project focussing on any changes needed to allow the Tribunal to hear challenges under environmental, mining, petroleum, and planning laws. Australian Ethical's $20,000 grant will help to provide community education - including in remote indigenous communities - about how the Tribunal can improve access to environmental justice. www.edont.org.au



Green Connect
Growing sustainable jobs and food in the Illawarra region of NSW

The Illawarra has one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia (9.8%). This number doubles for young people, and for refugees only 31% have a job 5 years after resettlement. Green Connect is a social enterprise that creates jobs that help the environment for resettled refugees and young people. Last year Green Connect employed 122 resettled refugees and young people, kept over 2,000 tonnes of waste out of landfill, and grew and distributed over 2,000 kilograms of vegetables. Green Connect will use our $20,000 grant to develop a further 5,000m2 of their urban chemical-free farm to increase employment, food production and financial sustainability. www.green-connect.com.au



Animal Aid Abroad
Working Donkey Welfare Program in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan the working donkey is vital to carry supplies (water, food and building supplies) to the many outlying villages, including most of Kabul's surrounding urban areas. The donkeys are overworked and many years of conflict have left a limited knowledge base of animal welfare and the needs of the donkeys. Animal Aid Abroad is working with its partner Nowzad to run a 6-month program of 'pop-up' roadside workshops, using qualified vets and farriers to provide vaccinations and hoof repairs, and educate Afghan Muleteers about the importance of basic health checks, feeding, husbandry and care of their animal. Nowzad will also provide animal handling training for veterinarian students at Kabul University. Australian Ethical has provided a $20,000 grant to Animal Aid Abroad to allow their new project in Afghanistan to hit the ground running. www.animalaidabroad.org


Angel Place
A social enterprise to support homeless families
The Angel Place Project aims to open a 100-room not-for-profit social hotel, which will provide more than 18,000 hotel rooms per year to homeless young children and their families. The hotel will provide a safe and welcoming place to stay for newly homeless families while they seek professional support and help to work through their next steps. The Room-for-a-Room business model releases one 'free' room to a newly homeless family as each prepaid room is booked, with the goal of becoming a financially self-sustaining business model. this idea has great potential to help break down the negative perceptions of 'The Homeless' and the dichotomy of 'Them' and 'Us'. As a result of our $20,000 grant, Angel Place will soon be able to develop a pilot for their innovative approach to crisis accommodation at a mainstream 3-4 star hotel either in Sydney or Melbourne. www.angelplaceproject.com



Animalia Wildlife Shelter
Renewable energy for a wildlife rescue centre in Victoria
Animalia Wildlife Shelter provides emergency and short and long term care for injured, sick and orphaned Australian wildlife, releasing them back into the wild once rehabilitated. In a truly admirable goal, the centre has decided it's not only desirable but absolutely necessary for them to switch to renewable energy, and effectively take their organisation off-the-grid. Water and energy is currently costing Animalia Wildlife Shelter around $10,000 per year due to the amount of heat pads, heat lamps, and the constant need of electricity and water to provide care for the wildlife needing rehabilitation. Our $20,000 grant will allow the shelter to build a solar system, meaning they can put other monies fundraised solely into the care, feeding and rehabilitation of Australian native wildlife. www.animaliawildlife.org.au



Abundant Water
Clean water to empower women in Laos
In rural Laos, many communities do not have access to clean drinking water. Abundant Water have worked closely with these communities to develop a clay water filter that is simple, low cost and effective. In this project, Abundant Water will provide clay pottery filters to 400 households across 4 remote villages without access to clean water. Our $15,000 grant will be used to educate women in these communities about water safety and hygiene and aim to train local women to establish their own water filter businesses, ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the project and fostering the empowerment of women as community leaders. www.abundantwater.org



East Gippsland Rainforest Conservation Management Network
Rainforest recovery via Indigenous engagement in Victoria
There are five critically endangered Littoral Rainforest areas in East Gippsland, Victoria. The East Gippsland Rainforest Network is simultaneously restoring the endangered areas and providing employment pathways for local Indigenous peoples by hiring the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation to deliver restoration work. Up to 5 indigenous work crew members will be trained in rainforest conservation management and ecology via the delivery of on-ground environmental works in the endangered rainforest areas. The $15,000 grant will support new skill development and seeks to improve participants' future employment prospects, while also encouraging greater levels of community ownership and influence around environmental issues in the local area. www.egrainforest.org.au


Australian Red Cross with the Royal Flying Doctors Service
The Healthy Living Outreach Program for Aboriginal Communities
This grant for the Australian Red Cross will go towards the Healthy Living Outreach program, which provides critical health and wellbeing checks to remote Aboriginal Communities in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctors Service. The program will focus on servicing the remote Koonibba Aboriginal Community to ensure community members get; regular lifestyle health checks, a personalised exercise program, regular face-to-face contact for support, nutrition advice, and eating plans. Thanks to our $10,000 grant, Red Cross will also be able to deliver a food literacy course, to provide culturally specific food literacy education that supports an understanding of healthy eating, food budgeting, healthy cooking, food wastage, and kitchen safety. www.redcross.org.au



Alternative Technology Association
Solar electrician for Atauro Island, East Timor
Although a government program installed solar systems on 600 of the 1,000 rural households on Atauro Island, East Timor, the majority of these systems have failed because there has been no maintenance program, and the remaining homes have never had power. With Australian Ethical's $10,000 grant, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) aims to employ a local electrician to audit and repair the existing solar systems. ATA will work with the community to develop a community-run maintenance business model capable of funding the ongoing employment of the Solar Electrician beyond the initial development stage. www.ata.org.au/what-we-do/ipg



Assisi Aid Projects
Financial independence for widowed women in rural India
In rural Tamil Nadu, India, 12% of families are headed by widows and, in a traditionally male-led society, they are frequently subjected to discrimination, isolation, and poverty. The Assisi program provides counselling, education, business, and livelihood training for single women through skill training in tailoring, organic farming, animal raising, savings clubs, and financial literacy. The program works through the establishment of women's groups to create a supportive and collaborative learning group. The project also supports the children with after school tuition classes. With our $10,000 grant, Assisi will be able to extend their program to hundreds more single mothers and their children across 26 villages. www.assisi.org.au/where-we-work/India-projects



Sleepy Burrows
Expanding Wombat Manor for injured wombats in NSW
Urban sprawl, new roads, and increased human habitation are placing enormous pressure on wombat numbers in Australia. Since 2003, Sleepy Burrows has cared for almost 700 bare-nosed wombats by rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orphaned, injured, and humanised animals to back into the wild. The sanctuary is currently over capacity so the $10,000 grant will help to secure additional space to provide for young wombats that are not yet ready to move into permanent outdoor enclosures. www.sleepyburrows.com.au



Indigo Foundation
Cooperative gardens in Indonesia to seed women's empowerment
During the annual musim lapar or 'hungry season', high seas isolate Rote Island, Indonesia – meaning that food supplies run short. Women often go without food to feed their families, and struggle to keep their children in school as they walk long distances every day to collect water for the family. This Indigo Foundation project would establish 5 community co-operative gardens, which would improve food security and nutrition, as well as access to fresh water, and provide income generation for the women that work the gardens. The gardens are expected to benefit at least 400 people directly. Our $10,000 grant will help to provide the infrastructure and seeds to start the gardens, and Indigo Foundation will provide ongoing technical assistance to the women-led co-operatives. www.indigofoundation.org



Free to Shine
Scholarship program for girls at risk of sex-trafficking in Cambodia
In Cambodia, girls who are not attending school are at higher risk of being targeted by traffickers. Only 80% of Cambodian children are enrolled in primary school and only 26% are enrolled in secondary school. The rates are even lower in rural Cambodia and lower still for girls. Free to Shine identify girls at high-risk of being targeted by traffickers, then enroll each girl in school, provide her with a uniform, backpack, bicycle, and school materials, and visit her and her family every month to help keep her safe. Free to Shine currently have 500 girls in their program, and as a result of this $10,000 grant they will be able to expand to include girls living in 15 different rural villages in the Siem Province, where the parents of many girls have gone to work in Thailand. www.freetoshine.org



The Orangutan Project
Wildlife Protection Units in Sumatra, Indonesia
Around 80% of the orangutan's rainforest habitat has been decimated in the past 20 years. Much of what remains is degraded by erosion, forest fires, and illegal logging – in particular for palm oil plantations. The Orangutan Project's Wildlife Protection Units (WPUs) are responsible for patrolling the Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP) National Park and buffer zone, where over 165 Sumatran orangutans have been released. The WPUs have been highly successful in deterring illegal activities including logging, educating local people about laws against poaching orangutans, gathering information about illegal activities and reporting these to the Forestry Police, and collecting wildlife data as an evaluation tool for the ecosystem. Local people are employed as members of the WPU, which contributes to the local economy and reinforcing the importance of orangutans to the area. The Orangutan Project will soon be given control of an additional 40,000 ha of rainforest adjacent to BTP National Park and this $10,000 grant will allow additional WPUs to protect the area. www.orangutan.org.au



With Compassion & Soul
Sun Bear sanctuary in Borneo
Many of Indonesia's native animals require rescue and care due to the increasing loss of habitat to industry, the illegal wildlife trade, the traditional medicine trade, and poachers. Partnering with the Centre For Orangutan Protection (COP), With Compassion & Soul aim to build 3 separate Sun Bear enclosures, as the 2 existing Sun Bear centres in Borneo are already full. Their aim is that any rescued bear that is either ill, injured, or malnourished will be placed in an enclosure until they are healthy and able to be released, and any bear that is rescued and is unable to be released will have permanent sanctuary at COP Borneo. They currently have a number of rescued Sun Bears who, as a result of this $10,000 grant, will soon be able to be moved from their tiny, barren cages, into purpose-built Sun Bear enclosures! www.withcompassion.com.au



Wildlife Asia
Protecting the critically endangered Sumatran rhino
The Sumatran rhino is now one of the most critically endangered large mammals on earth. Recent population estimates are as low as 75 individuals and there is an ever-increasing threat from poaching and habitat destruction. The Kluet River Valley in the Leuser Ecosystem, Aceh, is critical habitat for the largest remaining population of Sumatran rhinos. With this $10,000 grant, Wildlife Asia aims to deploy a dedicated rhino patrol and monitoring team in the Kluet River Valley to patrol the forests, dismantle snares, facilitate law enforcement, collect rhino species data, investigate rhino crimes, and train members of the local community to help protect rhinos. www.wildlifeasia.org.au/help-us/operation-Aceh



A Girl & Her World
Income-generating project for women in Fiji
In rural Fiji, there are many families who can't afford to send their children to school – instead they are sent to markets to help support the family or, if they are girls, they may get married young. A Girl & Her World supports 56 girls to stay in or return to school, and helps their mothers start small businesses so that they can buy their daughters school uniforms, school lunches, and meet other family needs. They provide parents with financial management skills and vocational training and help seed their business by setting them up with equipment like sewing machines, freezers for storing fish, honey bee boxes and tools and seeds for veggie gardens. Through this $5,000 grant, A Girl & Her World can continue to help break the cycle of poverty through education of girls and empowerment of their families. www.agirlandherworld.org



The Incredable Tip Shop
Stable jobs for the marginalised in Mackay, Queensland
Incredable Tip Shop (ITS) operates a commercially viable recyclables recovery social enterprise providing secure and supported employment for disadvantaged jobseekers in Mackay, including people with disabilities, seniors, people with literacy issues, or mental health issues. With our $5,000 grant, ITS will be able to expand its scrap recovery program by purchasing a 4-tonne vehicle workshop hoist to help break down dumped motor vehicles. With the assistance of an experienced volunteer trainer they will up-skill people in stripping vehicles for the resale of parts. This will provide at least two new ongoing permanent part-time jobs. The grant may also enable the additional basic vehicle maintenance and service training for staff. www.facebook.com/TheIncredableTipShopMackay

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