There’s a lot to be grateful for at Christmas. Over the past year, generous people working at one of Australia’s largest professional services firms sought to provide the richness of education opportunities for disadvantaged kids; shelter, education and support for young people to overcome substance use; better mental health; and funding for cancer research. If you’re looking to give a meaningful gift this Christmas, read on.
The festivities of Christmas bring into sharp focus the lack of merriment in some people’s lives.
For children living in disadvantaged situations, they will be wishing for a better year rather than the latest toys – though, the toys would be lovely. Just to have a clean school uniform that fits, a bag and a nutritious lunch each day at school would be great. Better still for some kids, not to have slept in the car the night before school and to feel safe would be really grand.
Some young people will not have a home and will need refuge on Christmas Day, or they will wake up outdoors and spend the day finding food and somewhere safe to sleep that night. Some of them will opt for drugs rather than food.
There will be people dealing with the news that they have cancer, or grieving the loss of someone they love who won’t be at the dinner table for the first time this year.
There will be people feeling hopeless, paralysed by the effect of anxiety and unable to explain why they can’t be around other people, but so desperately wanting to be anything but alone. For some, the overwhelming and constant torment of depression will be too much and they will not cope on Christmas Day. Some of them will end their life this Christmas, because on average eight people take their life every day in Australia.
So how does PwC help?
These four scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg. They represent the challenges that four charities are looking to tackle, and those four charities were ranked as PwC staff’s most supported through workplace giving in the 2016/17 financial year. In the last year, nearly 500 PwC employees collectively gave around $200,000 (including company matching) to The Smith Family, Beyondblue, Cancer Council Australia, and Youth Off The Streets.
– Chenoa, The Smith Family
The Smith Family
The Smith Family focuses on helping disadvantaged Australian children get the most out of their education – which gives them better opportunities for the future. In the last financial year, The Smith Family received almost $58,000 in donations from PwC through workplace giving. This was the result of 125 PwC employees digging deep to give kids a better chance, and the firm matching their generosity. This funding is enough to support over 100 students with their education for a whole year – an incredible effort.
Support from PwC is helping students like 11-year-old Chenoa to succeed at school, ensuring they feel more confident and have everything they need to get the most out of their education.
Chenoa loves having a sponsor. It’s not just because before sponsorship she couldn’t go on school excursions, or because she only had one uniform that her mum, Karmilya, had to wash every night.
For Chenoa, the best part of having a sponsor is knowing that someone else is backing her. Getting letters from her sponsor is a big deal. She can’t wait to write back and share her latest achievements at school. And the extra encouragement has given Chenoa the courage to step up at Learning Club after school, where she’s now helping younger students.
Funds donated by PwC team members also support these Learning Clubs and programs like Work Inspiration – a part of the Learning for Life program – where secondary school students have the opportunity to discuss their career paths with professionals and get real life insights into the world of work. These conversations are vital in shaping post-school choices.
“We’re delighted to have support from so many PwC team members this year. Workplace giving is such an easy way to support The Smith Family’s work and makes a huge difference to the lives of Australian children in need. It’s also fantastic to see PwC sharing their Christmas giving and matching staff’s workplace donations – what a great incentive to get behind workplace giving this holiday season. Supporting the education of a child in need is a gift that will keep on giving!”
– Judy Barraclough, Head of Philanthropy, The Smith Family
Video – Chenoa’s story
beyondblue provides information and support to people in Australia to help them achieve their best possible mental health. People seeking the support of beyondblue may be struggling with anxiety, depression or suicide – or know someone who needs support. Three million people in Australia are currently experiencing anxiety or depression and every day nearly eight people take their own lives. In 2017 through the Good2Give workplace giving program, PwC’s employees have made an incredible contribution to help support beyondblue and promote good mental health and wellbeing amongst so many different community groups.
The $54,942 (to date) in donations has allowed 1,144 people get the support they need through the beyondblue 24/7 Support Service.
beyondblue is equipping everyone in Australia with the knowledge and skills they need to protect their own mental health. They’re giving people the confidence to support those around them, and making anxiety, depression and suicide, part of everyday conversations. As well as tackling stigma, prejudice and discrimination, beyondblue is breaking down the barriers that prevent people from speaking up and reaching out.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman thanked PwC employees for their generous support.
“It’s efforts like this that enable beyondblue to provide support services and programs for people affected by depression, anxiety and suicide and their families around the country.”
– beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman
beyondblue is here for everyone in Australia – at work, home, school, university, online and in communities across the country. To learn more about beyondblue and read about ways you can get involved, visit www.beyondblue.org.au
Video – beyondblue Support Service
Case Study – Peter’s story
Youth Off The Streets
Youth Off The Streets is about providing a brighter future for young people. The charity pinpoints exactly what success looks like for the kids who come to them for help – it means having a high school education and a job in hand, living free from drugs with skills to face the world. Over 8000 young people aged 12-25 are supported by the charity’s 35 services, including aboriginal programs, crisis accommodation, alcohol and other drug services, counselling, accredited high schools, outreach and residential programs. Young people are supported as they work to turn their lives around, overcoming immense personal traumas such as neglect and physical, psychological and emotional abuse.
By providing more than $38,000 in donations through workplace giving, PwC has contributed toward the lifechanging services Youth Off The Streets delivered in the last year, including over 11,306 meals to young people attending Youth Off The Streets outreach, and 192 alcohol and other drug rehabilitation workshops for young people, ensuring they have access to valuable support and education systems developed to promote crime prevention and community harmony.
“At Youth Off The Streets, it is our goal that young people will leave our care drug free, with a high school education, living skills and a full or part time job in hand. PwC’s generous support enables us to empower young people as they achieve greatness and reach these goals.”
– Father Chris Riley, CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets
Cancer Council Australia
Cancer Council Australia estimates 134,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, and that number is expected to rise to 150,000 by 2020. The Cancer Council funds world-class cancer research, prevention programs, and provides information and support to those affected by cancer. At PwC, over 150 employees backed this mission by collectively giving nearly $50,000 in 2017. Given the enormity of the challenge in preventing, managing and – hopefully – curing cancer, that contribution will protect approximately 24,500 children from potentially harmful sun exposure through their SunSmart school program.
“Thank you PwC employees; your ongoing support is helping Cancer Council to work towards a cancer-free future. The chances are, we all know someone affected by cancer. In Australia today, there are more than 1.1 million people either living with cancer or who’ve survived a diagnosis. It’s a disease that doesn’t rest, and for that very reason, neither do we. “
Video – Together we will beat cancer
Case Study – Nick Barnett’s story
How can your company help?
These are all vital services for the individuals impacted, and for society as a whole. In total, PwC’s 2017 workplace giving program resulted in more than $1 million in donations to charity with staff supporting over 477 charities across 15 cause areas.
Giving at work makes a huge difference. This Christmas, you could come together as an organisation to make an impact like PwC and call on your employees to consider giving to charity.
If you have workplace giving provided by your employer, you can give through that program and the donation will be processed directly through your pay. If you have workplace giving provided by Good2Give, you can sign in here – or register if you haven’t used the online platform before.
If you don’t have workplace giving provided by your employer you can give directly to the charity’s website. Check their ACNC registration status and you may be able to retain your receipt for a tax deduction at the end of the year (donating through workplace giving means you are giving before you are taxed, so you don’t have to do this).