Grassroots Goodness

Sustainability |

In addition to Mirvac’s national partnership with The Smith Family, the company also works at a State and community level, to make a difference from a local perspective…

With summer drawing to a close, research has shown that the charitable spirit typically tapers off after the holiday season, leaving many people struggling come this time of the year.

The Smith Family’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lisa O’Brien, said being able to support a disadvantaged child’s education required sustained support.

“Education is the enabler that can help lift a child out of poverty. Our help is all about stopping poor children becoming poor adults. To make this happen we have to provide ongoing and long-term support,” Dr O’Brien said.

“We want to help children attend school and stay engaged and motivated with their learning while they’re there. It’s all about changing their life outcomes. We say being poor doesn’t have to define a child’s future.”

The Smith Family works with children living in jobless families. A family’s financial hardship can affect those children’s educational outcomes.

Its program provides financial, practical and emotional support that can start from birth, and continue throughout the school years. Children participating in its programs get the extra support, tools and resources they need to make the most of their school years.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved, from sponsoring the education of a disadvantaged child directly to volunteering as a mentor.

Mirvac sponsors four tertiary students (one in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia) through The Smith Family’s program. They receive financial help for study essentials, as well as the support and advice of a Learning for Life program coordinator.

Dr O’Brien said: “The Smith Family receives funding support from many different sources. The generosity of individuals or our partners like Mirvac, are helping us to make a lifelong difference."

“We are constantly being asked by people how they can help, so we have put together a few simple fundraising ideas to help get them started.” Dr O’Brien said.

“Without the support of the Australian public and our corporate partners, we wouldn’t be able to help these children. That doesn’t bear thinking about, so we thank all our current supporters and welcome new supporters to come and help.”


Partners in Kind

In February 2015 Mirvac announced its first ever National Charity Partner: The Smith Family.

The announcement was the culmination of many months’ work by Mirvac’s Charity Committee. Mirvac employee’s voiced their preference to partner with charities focused on shelter, education and youth issues. A detailed selection process was undertaken, with The Smith Family, a much–respected independent charity recommended as the company’s national partner.

The partnership is an overarching agreement for national activity.

Seynab’s Story

At the age of nine, Seynab moved to Australia after her mum passed away.

Her grandmother took care of the family, but the house was crowded and they struggled financially.

At the age of 10, Seynab was paired with a Smith Family sponsor who provided financial and emotional support which has seen her through primary, high school and university.

Seynab is grateful for the support she has received from her sponsor over the years.

“Sponsorship has inspired and motivated me to study hard and do great things” she said.

“The financial assistance helped us with school books. It really helped with uniforms and shoes and school camps and excursions.” Seynab said.

Regular contact with her sponsor through letters and cards motivated her to do her best at school.

“[Without The Smith Family] I don’t think I would be where I am today or that I would have gone to university.” Seynab said.

Charity at Grassroots

In 2015 Mirvac made its largest contribution ever to the communities in which it operates, in the form of cash, time and ‘in kind’ support.

One local organisation with which Mirvac has formed a long-term partnership is The Westmead Children’s Hospital. As Mirvac specialises in creating communities for children and the hospital specialises in the care of children the organisations have a common purpose. Mirvac uses its expertise in construction and project management to deliver projects that offer real benefits to the hospital, its staff and young patients.

In 2015 Mirvac built a new playground for the Hospital’s burns unit. Mirvac coordinated generous donations of labour and materials from more than 40 companies to build the $220,000 playground. Mirvac staff also donated time throughout the year to attend numerous goodwill events to bring smiles to the faces of sick children.

Toby Long, General Manager of Major Projects Residential at Mirvac said, “When it comes to kids we are never short of volunteers and everybody who has been involved in the various Westmead projects has done so with a huge amount of goodwill.”

Bandaged Bear Appeal

The Bandaged Bear Appeal is the signature fundraising appeal for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, held throughout the month of March, with the Bandaged Bear Day on 4th March.

As the Hospital’s major fundraising event, The Bandaged Bear Appeal has raised over $14 million since its inception 27 years ago.

Thousands of sick children each year are treated at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The hospital provides life-saving medical care and support services for their worried families, but this all comes at a cost, which is why they need your help.

The Bandaged Bear Appeal raises essential funds to purchase the most advanced medical equipment, fund vital research into the causes and cures for childhood illness and maintain the total healing environment that is vital to the wellbeing of children and families.