The Coates Foundation celebrated its first anniversary on November 23, with more than $450,000 contributed to national charity partners and community organisations in FY22. During its inaugural year, the Foundation focused on supporting new and existing charity partners and engaging Coates employees to get involved in the company’s philanthropic efforts through workplace giving and volunteering.
“We’re proud of the positive contribution the Coates Foundation has made so far to the communities in which we live and work,” says Elise Manns, Executive General Manager for People & Safety at Coates. “Coates employees have a natural affinity for philanthropy – it’s in their ‘orange blood’. The Coates Foundation has been able to provide structure to these efforts and set some clear standards about what we want to achieve and how that can be measured.”
In addition to Coates’ existing partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, the Foundation’s national charity partners are the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, TIACS, and Mission Australia. Nationally, the Foundation supports R U OK?, while at a regional Business Unit (BU) level, it supports the Humpty Dumpty Foundation (East BU), Seven Telethon (West BU), TradeMutt (North BU) and Foodbank (South BU).
Alongside financial support, the Foundation enables all Coates employees to donate one workday a year to one of its national charity partners or a local charity of choice.
“Before we implemented the Coates Foundation, employees had already shown their desire to be part of different charity events and causes. The Foundation has just provided a means to harness the willingness that was already there and a formal outlet for all employees to volunteer,” explains Elise. “Also, because it is now visible throughout the organisation, with sponsorship from the CEO and the entire executive leadership team, it gives it legitimacy and impact.”
The Foundation’s charity partners reflect Coates’ aim of promoting mental health awareness and supporting the women, men, children and families in the communities where we operate. Throughout the year, Coates team members across the country have been highly engaged in initiatives such as R U OK? Day, Mission Australia’s Christmas Appeal and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s Balmoral Burn.
TIACS (This Is A Conversation Starter) has especially resonated with Coates employees. Started by the co-founders of social impact workwear brand TradeMutt, many Coates people have embraced ‘Funky Shirt Fridays’ by wearing bright TradeMutt shirts on Fridays to help encourage conversations around mental health.
“The organisation has absolutely lived up to its name – it has been a conversation starter and there is a hunger among our people to learn more about how they can better identify and respond to peers and colleagues who are experiencing issues with mental health,” says Elise.
“R U OK? Day, which we recently supported nationally, is also a great initiative to raise awareness. But we want to ensure it is more than just one day. It needs to be a mindset and that’s what we’re working towards in our own Coates workforce and also in how we can support TIACS.”
Similarly, Elise says it has never been more important to support charities such as Mission Australia in the context of the current housing and homelessness crisis and escalating costs of living.
“We’re hearing that a lot of people are coming to charities for the first time,” she says. “We want to be able to give back, and our work with Mission Australia empowers our organisation and people to do that. As part of their goal to end homelessness, Mission Australia provide homelessness services including crisis and transitional accommodation and case management with wraparound support, specialised support services, early intervention to prevent homelessness occurring, as well as community housing.”
For this year’s Christmas Appeal, Coates team members will once again donate non-perishable foods to make hampers and deliver them to Mission Australia locations. In addition, all employee donations will be matched by Coates.
“We chose Mission Australia because of their great work, but also because they have a national footprint like Coates, so it’s ideal for our workforce to connect with them,” says Elise. “At the end of the day, this is what the Coates Foundation exemplifies – connection. It connects us to our communities, and it connects us to people within our own organisation. And the more connections there are within a workforce, the stronger it will be.”
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
By submitting this enquiry you agree to Coates's Communications Terms & Conditions