Where giving could ‘close the gap’ this NAIDOC Week

It’s NAIDOC Week and it’s a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements. It’s an opportunity to recognise the rich contribution, achievements and innovations emerging from Indigenous Australians that make our country and society stronger.

This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week is ‘Because of her, we can!’, celebrating the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played and continue to play within the community, and on local, state and national levels. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried Indigenous culture by continuing tradition such as dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge.

The gap for Indigenous Australia

Oxfam Australia’s Closing the Gap campaign says: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10–17 years less than other Australians. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes”.

According to the Centre for Social Impact (CSI)’s Australia’s Social Pulse (reporting as of 2013 data), Indigenous people living in Australia were:

  • More likely to be living below the poverty line.
  • More likely to be living in a household that receives half or more of their income from government payments.
  • Less likely to feel financially comfortable or prosperous.
  • Less likely to be able to pay utilities bills on time.
  • More likely to ask family and friends for financial help.

Also, Indigenous Australians had a 17% chance of living in poverty, compared to 10% of non-Indigenous Australians. CSI also reports that in 2013, Indigenous people aged 15-24 were significantly more likely to be NEET (not in employment, education or training).

Investing in hope for Indigenous Australia

There’s plenty of hope – in organisations, in individuals, in the richness of Indigenous culture. The National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (the goal is in the name) reports that it has created over $30 million in social value and our ability to make impact grows every day. Every dollar donated to or invested in the NCIE creates almost $5 worth of social value.

Then there are stories like AIME, which kicked off a mentoring program with 25 kids, and has since seen 10,000 high school students and 5,000 university students go through its program – making it the largest volunteer movement of university students in Australian history. The support AIME currently gets from Universities throughout Australia is phenomenal (at Good2Give we’d love to see Universities sign up for workplace giving so their staff could support AIME through their workplace giving – but that’s another story), and the results are telling.

AIME teaches three key lessons:

  1. Indigenous = success. Indigenous kids are born to succeed.
  2. Pride in who we are is our bridge to existing in more than one world.
  3. Education and freedom create a fairer world.

Businesses championing Reconciliation

We are also seeing an increasing number of corporates and organisations develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is a framework for organisations to realise their vision for reconciliation and create practical plans of action built on relationships, respect and opportunities. To quote Reconciliation Australia “RAPs create social change and economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians”.

Reconciliation Australia reports that as of October 2015, over 3,900 partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations had been generated through the RAP community and this network of organisations purchased $32.6 million of goods and services from Supply Nation-certified businesses. We’re proud to see many Good2Give corporate clients and registered charities featured in the list of organisations with a RAP.

There’s a lot to do, and much support needed to do it. If you want to bridge the gap and support Good2Give’s list of Indigenous charities and community organisations, you can donate through your workplace giving program today.