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COVID-19: supporting our community partners

Many of the social enterprises and local community organisations that we support through Westpac Foundation are experiencing hardship and uncertainty as a result of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuing to work closely with these organisations to do all we can to best support them.

Below are some of the ways we are able to help at this challenging time.

1. Flexible and responsive support

Our priority is to support our grant recipients so they can continue to provide much needed services to vulnerable Australians. 

  • For our Community Grant recipients, these organisations can redirect any unspent funding from their 2019 Community Grant to help manage their COVID-19 response. We also encourage them to contact their Westpac Community Ambassador with specific requests that our network of skilled volunteers might be able to assist with. 
  • For our Social Enterprise grant recipients, we are working with each organisation to see how we can best support them through this time. This includes offering flexibility with grant payments, revisiting timelines and outcomes, and discussing additional support measures.

2. Access to additional support services  

We are leveraging our existing partnerships and networks to help our grant recipients with additional resources and support they may need, including:

  • Legal support: As part of our ongoing partnership with MinterEllison, our grant recipients have access to pro bono legal support through MinterEllison’s Pro Bono & Community Investment program. This partnership has proven invaluable for many of our grant recipients over the years.  
  • Westpac skilled volunteering support: All grant recipients can access Westpac’s Pro bono Skilled Volunteering network if they need additional support in areas ranging from Marketing, Finance, Risk and HR support.   
  • Financial Counselling: The Salvation Army, one of Westpac’s longstanding community partners, provides financial counselling. Any individual or organisation who may be experiencing financial hardship can access this service. 

3. Creating an online support network of changemakers

We know from our Westpac Foundation Changemakers community how much not-for-profits and social enterprises value opportunities to connect with peers, and now more than ever we need to reach out and support each other. We are preparing to deliver a range of online peer-coaching opportunities to connect our grant recipients nationally.

4. Useful links and additional support packages

  • Westpac support: Westpac has announced a series of support measures in response to COVID-19, for both personal and business customers, including:  
    • The option to defer principal and interest repayments of business term loans for six months. 
    • An unsecured 3-year term loan up to $250,000 to all business customers with a turnover of less than $50M.
    • Fee free redraws. 
    • 200 basis point reduction on overdrafts for new and existing customers. 
    • 100 basis point interest rate reduction for small business cash-based loans.  
  • Davison Institute: Westpac’s financial literacy program, offers a range of money management topics for businesses, not-for-profit organisations and community groups. 
  • Federal Government support for Small Business.  

Social enterprises and not-for-profits play an important role in our communities at the best of times, and even more so in challenging times. If you are a Westpac Grant recipient requiring additional support, please don’t hesitate to contact your Westpac Community Ambassador or the Westpac Foundation team.