The local community will benefit from greater transparency and even more input into how Whitehaven’s discretionary sponsorships and donations fund is distributed as part of a new approach to community investment that has launched.
The new approach includes the introduction of four application rounds per year, with each round to allocate $50,000 for a total of $200,000 annually, the establishment of a community-based committee to help administer the funds, and public annual reporting of contributions.
The available funds are in addition to the approximately $200,000 committed each year to long-term partnerships including the Clontarf Foundation, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Country Education Foundation and more.
The first round opened on October 1 with Whitehaven calling on community organisations, local event organisers and other interested groups to lodge an application by October 31.
The committee comprising local community representatives, chaired by Whitehaven, will meet in November to allocate the first round of funds.
Whitehaven’s general manager community engagement Andrew Garratt said the new approach directly involves the community in the decision-making process and provide more structure and certainty for applicants.
“We’re incredibly proud of the contribution we’ve made through sponsorships and donations over the years, with millions donated to support community groups, local events and other worthy causes across North West NSW,” said Mr Garratt.
“Our new approach will ensure we can continue to play an important supporting role, while also providing greater transparency over the decision-making process and enabling local community members to have a greater say in how funds are allocated.
“What’s not changing is the types of initiatives we support, the total amount of funding available, or the information required for the application – instead we’re making it easier for applicants to plan for and secure funding.
“The financial support we can provide is more important now than ever, and this community investment fund builds on the millions we inject into North West NSW, which included more than $550 million in wages and expenditure in FY21 alone.
“We know many community groups and organisations are doing it tough as a result of COVID-19 impacting their traditional fundraising methods and we’re determined to help in any way we can.”
Community representatives have welcomed the change and the opportunity to partner with Whitehaven.
“Many of the community groups and local events in our area are reliant on the support of council and organisations like Whitehaven to stay afloat,” said Russell Stewart, president of Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s fantastic to see Whitehaven’s ongoing commitment to the communities in which it operates.
This new transparent and inclusive approach will help to ensure the funds are directed where they’re most needed.
“We look forward to continuing to work together with Whitehaven to support our communities.”
The seven person committee responsible for administering the four sponsorship rounds is made up of:
- One representative from Narrabri Shire Council and one community representative from the Narrabri local government area.
- One representative from Gunnedah Shire Council and one community representative from the Gunnedah local government area.
- One representative from Liverpool Plains Shire Council and one community representative from the Liverpool Plains local government area.
- One indigenous representative.
The committee will be appointed on an annual basis with each of the councils nominating a councillor.
The community representatives and one indigenous representative will be directly appointed by Whitehaven.
Whitehaven’s existing sponsorship and donations guidelines, available on the Whitehaven Coal website, will remain in place to govern the decision-making process.
Sponsorship and donations categories include:
- Health – support for medical equipment, training, projects and organisations that promote healthy lifestyles.
- Education – support for the development of academic and other skills.
- Environmental – support for sustainable environmental initiatives.
- Indigenous empowerment – initiatives across early childhood education and support, schooling, skills development, employment and economic development.
- Regional sport – support for local sporting clubs and associations.
- Whole of community – support for organisations or initiatives that have significant local, regional, state, national or international reach.
Further information about the process and how to apply can also be found here.
Whitehaven’s enhanced approach to sponsorship and donations was developed following consultation as part of its Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment Strategy 2021-2023.
Find out more about Whitehaven’s contribution to local prosperity and sustainability here.
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