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This Year’s Australian Open Had A Charitable Element Thanks To ANZ

This Year’s Australian Open Had A Charitable Element Thanks To ANZ

Last month’s Australian Open was yet again another fantastic spectacle of tennis which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. It was fabulous to see the aging Roger Federer continue his renaissance by winning yet another Grand Slam and breaking more records in the process. Whilst most people were gripped by what was happening on the courts of Melbourne Park few people know that ANZ bank committed to donating $10 to charity for every ace that was hit over the course of the tournament.

Funding financial well being programs across Australia

The money ANZ donates will be used to fund financial well being programs throughout Australia. In order to ensure that the money ends up in the hands of those that need it the most, the Australian bank has teamed up with The Smith Family, The Benevolent Society, Berry Street and Brotherhood of St Laurence. Anton Leschen a spokesperson for the Smith Family says the money that was raised will be used to fund programs designed to deliver aid to people all over the country living around the poverty line or below it.

Over a million children living below the poverty line

Mr Leschen says it is estimated that there are 1.1 million children and young people living below the poverty line, so it is critical that financial literacy is improved wherever possible. He adds that the programs help people participating in them to identify where their money is leaking and how to examine their expenditure to ensure that it can be spread further. For example, buying a can of coke every day or that special treat once in a while is a classic example of a money leak. People also fail to understand that it is cheaper to buy their groceries from a big supermarket rather than from a local corner store.

Teaching financial literacy

Mr Leschen says the skills people learn from the programs funded by ANZ could help set them up for the long term. He adds that it is a well-known fact that people under the age of 25 are the least financially literate so the habits they pick up from the program are for life. This means they learn skills that can be used over the course of their entire life, become financially literate all of which adds up to thousands of dollars for people to lead happier lives. ANZ has committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 as part of the Ace the Open program and it looks like it will be money well spent.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Caritas Australia To Kick Off This Year’s Project Compassion On February 14th  

Caritas Logo

Caritas Australia passionately believes that young people are an important part of the solution to the many problems of their communities. As a result, Caritas organises Project Compassion every year which seeks to mobilise hundreds of thousands of students as well as Australians spanning all generations to take action to help Australia’s neighbours. On Ash Wednesday which takes place on February 14th  2018 Caritas Australia will launch this year’s Project Compassion appeal which is one of the largest fundraising and awareness campaigns in Australia.

Takes place over Lent

Every year, Project Compassion takes place over the six-week period of Lent and is designed to bring together Australia’s diverse communities to show their solidarity with the world’s poor. The funds raised will be used to help end poverty, deliver justice and maintain dignity. This year, the focus of the effort will be on youth and their communities all over the world and helping to provide them with a “Just Future”

Supporting young people

The United Nations estimates that approximately 250 million children globally live in conflict zones. Caritas Australia strongly believes that its work and the contribution of young people is critical to delivering a sustainable peace. A spokesperson for Caritas says it is young people who are more often than not the game changers in fragile contexts globally. He cited one example where a Syrian child living in the capital Damascus struggled to overcome the trauma of living in a war zone. Now the child has grown into an academic high-achiever and is flourishing thanks to going to a school in a stable environment that was made possible by Caritas Australia and its partners in Jordan.

Important to invest in youth

David Armstrong, Caritas Head of Engagement and Sustainability says that youth represent the future and are the best hoper for a better tomorrow. Engaging and investing in millions of young people all over the world living in fragile environments has never been more important. Mr Armstrong hopes that Australians come out and support Project Compassion because the donations are important and make a massive difference to the aid agency’s ability to help communities that are vulnerable around the world.

Support Caritas Australia’s work around the world

The money that is raised during Project Compassion will be used to fund Caritas Australia’s humanitarian and development programs that span 27 countries across the world including Australia’s First Peoples. Last year the exercise managed to raise an astonishing $11 million and as a result thanks to the support of ordinary Australians, Caritas Australia was able to reach more than 2 million people through its emergency and development programs.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australia Needs To Develop A Culture Of Giving

Australian Charities Would Befit Hugely If People Left Bequests

Australia likes to think of itself as a generous country, and in many measures for most ordinary Aussies, this is true. However, when the tax data of high net worth individuals was looked at, that is those people who have a taxable income exceeding $1 million, four in ten of those tax payers made zero tax deductions during the 2014-2015 financial year.

Australia should be more like the United States

Wendy Sciafe, who is director of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy Non-Pofit Studies at QUT says she would like Australia to become more like the United States and develop a culture where donating to charity is normal and there is a strong giving culture. Ms Sciafe says in the United States, if you are not donating to charity then you are seen as being a little bit weird.

Australia is very egalitarian

She adds that the two main factors that contribute to America’s strong philanthropic culture are traditions of asking and celebrating wealth. Australia is quite different, Australians tend to eschew celebrating their wealth and are reluctant to ask. In that regard Australia is far more egalitarian than the United States.

So how much time and money do we give?

According to the Giving Australia 2016 report 8.7 million people gave 932 hours of their time at charities and non-profits. During the same period of time $11.2 billion was donated to charity by 14.9 million people or 80.8 per cent of the adult population. The average donation in 2016 was $746 or about one per cent of the average Australian income.

Australians can easily afford to give more

Ms Scaife makes the point that we spend $200 million on Easter eggs and $13.6 billion at Christmas which means most Australians can easily afford to donate more money. This does make you pause and think that since most Australians are doing okay, we really could raise our sights. A decade ago, 87 per cent of Australian adults donated $5.7 billion which in 2016 terms is about $7.5 billion. Today there are fewer Australians giving money to charity but those that do are actually giving much more. This reflects the level of inequality in Australia today.

Lack of trust

Another major reason for the decline in the number of people donating to charity is simply a lack of trust. Many people are worried that their money will be used to purchase a flashy car for the charity’s leader which in actual fact, that rarely occurs. Most non-profits are very big organisations that are extremely complex and therefore need extremely qualified leaders to run them. However, people have the expectation that these organisations should be led and run by volunteers. This is simply unrealistic. Its just not possible to work without computers and the people to deliver the services and money is needed for infrastructure.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australian Charities Appeal For Funds To Help Deal With Rohingya Crisis

Syrian Refugees

An international appeal to fund the Rohingya crisis has so far raised $278 million. Whilst that sounds a lot, the crisis is one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies and the amount raised is less than half of what is needed experts say. The United Nations and International aid agencies have requested $562 million in funding to deliver humanitarian aid to 1.2 million people living in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

Text book ethnic cleansing

Aid workers have expanded their distribution of non-food items and shelter as winter began and health workers have widened their vaccination programs as disease rapidly spread through the camps including diphtheria which is highly contagious. Well over half a million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee Myanmar since August last year when the country began systematically attacking Rohingya villages in what is seen to be by the United Nations as a text book case of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Survivors say they have witnessed organised rapes, the burning of children and villages being torched.

Australia is doing its bit

Australia has participated in the International response as the Australian Red Cross and the UNCHR have together raised millions of dollars which are being matched by the Australian government. A spokesperson for the Red Cross says the money raided will be spent on delivering healthcare to the sick and injured as well as running field hospitals and mobile clinics. Families will also be able to access clean water and sanitation.

Oxfam says crisis likely to last for years

Save the Children Australia says it has raised over $500,000 which is a great achievement and Oxfam has raised a further $300,0000. Oxfam CEO Dr Helen Szoke says however, that support for the refugees has not kept pace with the sheer scale of the crisis and there is an urgent need for an increase. Dr Szoke adds that is highly likely that crisis will continue for years so it is important that donors provide support for longer term requirements.

Australian government making a contribution

The Australian government says it will spend $30 million of its $3 billion annual overseas aid budget on the Rohingya crisis which includes up to $5 million to match private contributions. The government is also lending its support to programs being run by a variety of Australian charities and is urging the Australian public to give generously. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the support of ordinary Australians will deliver life-saving assistance to those that have found themselves caught up in the crisis.

Click here To donate to a national appeal launched by Australian charities

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australians Are Donating Less To Charity

Australian Charities Would Befit Hugely If People Left Bequests

Despite Australia ranking as the sixth most generous country in the world, it would appear Aussies themselves are making far fewer donations to charity. According to a recent report, Australian charities are coming to depend more on membership fees and user-pays services to generate income. Donations have dropped by roughly $1 billion during 2016, falling from $11.2 billion to $10.5 billion according to the Australian Charities Report 2016.

Overall revenue rises

Despite the fact that donations have declined, funds raised by Australian charities actually rose to $142.8 billion in the last year. Approximately half of all revenue was produced through membership fees and user-pays services. 43 per cent of revenue were generated by government grants and contract payments whilst donations were responsible for just 7.3 per cent of income during the time period.

Donations remain a significant source of income

According to the ACCC 26 per cent of all charities depended on donations for more than half their total income during 2015. Despite the decline in donations, there are over 50,000 charities in Australia and donation revenue remains a significant source of income. The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission says the decline in donation is not the result of street collectors which many people find annoying. So called chuggers may well have even contributed to a rise in revenue through membership additions.

Education providers generate the most income

The ACNC said it was sure that total revenue had risen but so far has not been able to determine by how much because of new reporting procedures that small charities must follow since the previous 2015 report was released. The charitable organisations with the largest revenue were those that provided educational services, including universities, and non-government schools. The group comprises 18.6 per cent of all charities but generated 45 per cent of the entire sector’s total income.

Aussies are still incredible generous

Whilst donations did fall the report also found that the number of volunteers had increased to a high of 2.9 million. Murray Baird ACNC’s acting commissioner says that Australians are still very generous and that his agency hoped that this Christmas their generosity was on full display.  According to last year’s World Giving Index, Australia was ranked sixth, behind Myanmar, Indonesia, Kenya, New Zealand and the United States.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Oxfam Australia Says Government Needs To Crack Down On Tax Avoidance

Tax Avoidance

Oxfam Australia says that in the wake of the publication of the Paradise Papers, the country should create a global blacklist of tax havens and crack down on people and companies that use them. The aid agency says the extremely wealthy are robbing the poorest people in the world of much needed tax revenues and this can be avoided if countries such as Australia take concrete steps towards tax reform.

The Paradise Papers

The Paradise Papers revealed the offshore financial affairs of some of the wealthiest people and biggest multinationals in the world. Dr Helen Szoke chief executive of Oxfam Australia says tax evasion by multinationals in Australia was costing billions of dollars and making the global inequality crisis worse. The aid agency says that international tax reforms have simply not worked. One estimate suggests that global multinationals artificially shifts 45 per cent of profits to low or no tax havens.

Tax avoidance costs billions

According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) multinationals managed to avoid as much as $2.5 billion in taxes during the 2014-2015 financial year. ATO data shows that large corporations reported $1.5 trillion in gross income during that time frame and paid roughly $41 billion in tax. From this information the ATO was able to estimate the gap between what should be paid and what is actually paid if all companies were fully compliant. The figure was put at $2.5 billion or 5.8 per cent of total tax payable.

Reforms required

Andrew Leigh a treasury spokesperson for the labor party says that his party agrees that immediate action must be taken by the government in order shut down tax loopholes. The labor party unveiled a number of tax policies earlier in the year which would force companies to reveal tax haven risks to their investors. A public register of beneficial ownership would need to be established and the total amount of funds transferred overseas from Australia would need to be published.

More transparency needed

Mr Leigh says his party’s policies would deliver more transparency because listed companies would be required to inform their investors about tax haven dealings. Secondly, companies wishing to participate in a government tender would be forced to reveal their country of domicile and there would be a public register showing whom the owners of Australian based companies really are. Multinationals would also be required to publicly report how much tax they pay in each jurisdiction they operate in.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australian Charities Fight Back Against Government Proposals To Limit Advocacy

Juvenile Detention

Australian aid agencies and charities have combined forces to fight against proposed government regulation that will limit their ability to campaign for policy changes. The coalition passed a strongly worded motion during a conference that was meant to kick start their agitation against the proposal.  In the coming weeks legislation is expected to be introduced in parliament that would either limit or outright ban the use of foreign donations for advocacy in Australia.

Banning foreign donations

The decision to introduce such legislation was made following a parliamentary report which investigated the Federal election in 2016 and suggested that foreign donations should be banned not just to political parties, but also to so called “associated entities and third parties”. This is a broad definition which could include any organisation or charity that seeks to advocate for policy changes in Australia. The Federal Treasury is also conducting its own inquiry which proposes to limit how much advocacy environmental groups and other charities can engage in.

Charities unanimous in their opposition

The Treasury has proposed that environmental groups must be mandated to spend as much as half of their funding on remediation instead of campaigning. During the annual general meeting of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFiD) a motion was unanimously passed calling on the government to drop any regulations they may impose on the kind of advocacy charities can engage in or how much money they are entitled to receive from foreign donors.

Government should support the role of civil society not constrain it

WWF Australia chief executive Dermot O’ Gorman moved for the motion which was then seconded by Oxfam Australia chief executive Helen Szoke. The motion passed unanimously by all the members which include organisations ranging from the Australian Red Cross, Save the Children, the Salvation Army and medical colleges. The motion urges the Australian government to use its position as a member of the UN Human Rights Council to support the role of civil society and to defend against increased erosions of civic space in other countries all over the world.

Freedom of expression under threat

Mr O’Gorman says the proposed regulations come at time when freedom of expression for civil society all over the world is increasingly being threatened. He adds that his organisation has been extremely concerned by developments over the last few months where vested interests such as the Minerals Council of Australia is seeking to enshrine these regulations in to law in order constrain civil society for financial gain.

Government trying to silence opposition

Richard Di Natale leader of the Greens says his party will use its numbers in the Senate in order to ensure that charities remain exempt from any ban imposed on foreign donations. He adds that it is quite obvious that the Turnbull government is attempting to silence civil society and that its proposed legislation is an indictment on a government that refuses to tolerate criticism.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Caritas Australia Participating In Joint Appeal For Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Rohingya Refugees

Caritas Australia says it is pleased that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made the announcement that there would be a joint emergency appeal launched by Australia’s leading aid agencies to help with the crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Eight of Australia’s largest aid agencies have come together to plea for urgent funding to finance aid to nearly a million people that have been forced to flee the violence taking place in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Nearly a million refugees have fled

Since the end of August more than half a million people who identify as being Rohingya have fled to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Most of the refugees are women and children. These refugees joined a further 200,000 that were already in Bangladesh. The refugees desperately need food, shelter, blankets, drinking water, sanitation and health care.  The appeal which has the support of the ABC will see the Australian Government matching donations made to the Australian Red Cross and UNHCR up to $5 million. The government is also coordinating with other agencies including Caritas to form a response to the crisis.

Donations will save lives

Paul O’Callaghan Caritas Australia chief executive says he fully supports Ms Bishop’s efforts to motivate Australians. He says that this kind of support will deliver life-saving aid for the hundreds of thousands of people that have been affected by the crisis and are in desperate need. Caritas Bangladesh is already heavily involved in delivering aid and has responded by providing food items such as lentils, salt, sugar, cooking oil and basic utensils. So far 29,000 families have received supplies from the agency.

Fears of a cholera outbreak

Francis Atul Sarker who is an executive director with Caritas Bangladesh says the agency has managed to reach about one-third of the new arrivals in the country, however that is not satisfactory and much more help is required. He says there is the constant threat of an outbreak of an epidemic because people are living in squalor without access to clean water or sanitation. This means an outbreak of cholera could quite easily occur.

 

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australian Woman Proves That Ordinary People Can Make A Global Difference

charity

Melody Towns lives by the adage that ordinary Australians can make a huge difference in the world. Six years ago, the mother from Sanford established a charity that sought to raise funds and awareness about human trafficking. Every year since then, the charity has managed to double its reach and significantly increase the money it raises. The charity which is called Be Her started off with a team of just ten people comprising friends of Mrs Towns. Now the charity has 300 volunteers spread throughout the country.

Raising awareness

Mrs Towns says that people have begun to understand the issue and feel they must do something about it. Be Her is raising awareness nationwide about human trafficking and empowering ordinary Australians to use what they have to make a difference she adds. During the most recent charity event held in Hobart, over 1,000 women attended making it a sell-out. There are more events planned in New South Wales and Queensland.

Nominated for an award

Next year Mrs Towns intends to hold more Be Her Freedom awareness events in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. Rather unsurprisingly organising all these events has become a full-time job for Mrs Towns, and what is remarkable is she doesn’t take a penny for any of the work she does. As a result, Mrs Towns has been nominated for the Pride of Australia award in recognition for her selflessness.

Shocked into action

Mrs Towns says she first learned about the millions of women and children who become forced into sexual slavery around the world after she attended a conference organised by international aid agency A21. She says the conference was a revelation and shocked her into doing something about it. She recently travelled to Cambodia to see for herself the tragic situation some girls and women find themselves in. She said she saw girls as young as eight who have been sexually exploited which she said was extremely confronting.

Issue resonates with women

Be Her Freedom events seek to attract the attention of women who Mrs Towns says the issue of human trafficking resonates the most with. She says that most women at some point during their lives have felt a sense of vulnerability. It is this empathy that Mrs Towns believes is the reason why the number of volunteers at her charity has grown across the country and attracted so many sponsors who have provided support. She said so many people have been generous, that everyone should be getting an award.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Caritas Australia Urges Government To Do More About Climate Change

climate change

Eri from Kiribati aged 28 and father of three visited Australia recently to educate Australians about what is going on in his country. Following his visit to Australia, he attended the UN climate summit in Germany to make sure that he and his compatriots had their voices heard when it comes to determining the future of climate policy. Eri says the prospect of forced relocation as a result of climate change is very real and very grim.

Australia needs to play a far greater global role

He says that each year he and his wife talk about having to leave the country because sea levels are rising. However, the couple and their children feel that Kiribati is their home, it is the language they speak and the traditions and culture that that they honour which they don’t want to lose. Eri is Caritas Australia’s ambassador for climate change in the Pacific and is using is position to urge the Australian government to play a far greater role in the global shift to a clean energy future which would mean making a commitment to not opening any new coal mines.

Rising sea levels wreaking havoc

The Caritas State of the Environment for Oceania report which was recently released shows that havoc has been wreaked on people’s lives because of the rise in sea levels combined with food and water shortages as well as extreme weather events. Negaya Chorley of Caritas Australia says that climate change is entrenching poverty and inequality across the pacific. The aid agency of the Catholic church is urging the Australian government to follow the example set by many Pacific Island nations who have adopted some of the strongest renewable energy targets in the world.

Australia is totally unprepared for the future

Ms Chorley says that Australia is wholly unprepared for what is to come. She adds that tens of thousands of people are likely to be made homeless as a result of climate change and there is no comprehensive government policy in place that will adequately deal with climate change and tackle its consequences. Ms Chorley says that Australia needs to be far more proactive and strategic in its long-term planning when it comes to this issue.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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