Supporting the community
With nearly 400 branches throughout Australia, St.George is well placed to support our communities at a local and national level. Over the years, we’ve been inspired to see the difference we can make through charity fundraising and sponsorship of sporting and cultural events.
A number of our programs are well entrenched in local communities and have been supported by St.George for many years. But the centrepiece of our newly developed sustainability approach is ‘responsible banking’. By promoting programs that help achieve financial wellbeing, we hope to facilitate better social outcomes. To this end, our community investment is aimed mainly at projects that:
- Help to improve the wellbeing, social inclusion and quality of life of children under 18 years in our communities
- Deliver financial education and literacy, particularly to economically disadvantaged communities
- Help customers and communities access tools and information to manage their finances more responsibly
- Minimise adverse environmental impacts on local communities and customers.
Our staff’s involvement in the community
At an individual level, our staff contribute to the community through:
The St.George Matching Gifts Program: St.George and BankSA staff can have their charitable donations to registered Australian charities matched dollar-for-dollar under our matching gifts program.
Good Return: Our staff have the option of providing loans to those who need it most through Australia’s first online microfinance portal, Good Return. These loans create an opportunity for people to start or expand their own small businesses, which in turn has a positive impact on the borrower, their family and their communities.
Volunteering: St.George employees in Australia are entitled to at least one day's paid leave a year to volunteer for charities, community, environmental and community sporting organisations, and schools.
Organisational mentoring: Our employees can lend their skills to create long-term benefit in the community by acting as mentors in NGOs and social enterprises. They also have the opportunity to get involved in improving the lives of Indigenous communities in the Redfern and Waterloo areas and further afield in Cape York through our close working relationship with Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to reinstate the rights of Indigenous people to take responsibility for their lives.
One St.George executive was recently given an insight into the enormous challenges homeless people face each night in Australia.
Managing Director Queensland Martin Barrett joined the recent Vinnies CEO Sleepout at South Bank in Brisbane.
Describing his experience, Martin says along with 55 other business leaders he arrived at South Bank with his sleeping bag and pillow. “Immediately I was issued with my cardboard and set about arranging it on the concrete. Dinner was served shortly after – a cup of soup and half-day old roll.”
Several presentations were delivered during the night from those who help the homeless on a daily basis and from those who had experienced homelessness themselves.
“All up I got about three hours' sleep,” says Martin, “but would I do it again next year? Absolutely!”
More than $5,000 was raised for Vinnies and Martin says the support and encouragement from St.George people was fantastic.
Homelessness affects over 105,000 people in Australia, many of whom are women and children. Martin saw the event as a great way to raise awareness of the issue and much-needed funds for the society.