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Our approach

Westpac Foundation Community Grant recipients, The Social Studio, Collingwood VIC


We believe that we can help to create a more inclusive Australia, together. Our mission is to help change 100,000 lives by 2030, by providing funding and programs to support social enterprises and community organisations in Australia creating jobs and opportunities for those who need it most.

To help achieve this goal, we commissioned the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne to undertake research to identify additional insights into employment-focused social enterprise. The research report, Social Enterprise: A people-centred approach to employment services (PDF 1MB) examines employment as a pathway out of disadvantage, and helps to identify where the gaps are and what is needed to help employment-focused social enterprises scale to create greater long-term sustainable change.

Why we focus on employment

A job means an income and being part of something. Yet there are many people that find it difficult to find a job in the mainstream job market. This could be due to a mental health condition, disability, a young person at risk, homelessness or lack of opportunity. We believe that employment is a powerful pathway out of disadvantage and helps to build stronger more inclusive communities.


Labour force participation for people with disability is 45% lower than overall population¹


11.2% youth unemployment is double the overall unemployment rate², increasing to 20%+ in some regional areas³

Humanitarian Migrants

Only 17% humanitarian migrants are employed after 18 months in Australia⁴

Indigenous Australians

18.2% unemployment for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples⁵

Future of Work

Technology is changing the future of work, requiring new skills and new ways of working


Sources: 1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, 2015. 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), October 2018. 3 An unfair Australia? Mapping youth unemployment hotspots, March 2018, Brotherhood of St Lawrence. 4 Settling Better, 2017, Centre for Policy Development. 5 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Census.

Our approach

Financial investment is just the beginning. Through our Westpac Changemakers Program, we connect the organisations we support to a huge network of Westpac Group employee volunteers as well as programs to help build business expertise and to increase their financial strength and social impact.  

We provide:

  • Access to pro bono support in areas including finance, risk and business strategy
  • Business mentoring
  • Leadership and coaching programs
  • Financial wellbeing workshops 
  • Board Observership Program
  • Annual Changemakers Summit 

We support small not-for-profits that are helping people become job-ready through education, training and employment opportunities in local communities across Australia. Since 2012, Westpac Foundation has awarded almost $11.7 million to community organisations nationally through our Community Grants program.

We provide:

  • Community Grants of $10,000 each
  • Non-financial support including our Community Ambassador program to help drive impact and access to financial capability programs

We recognise the power of collaboration to help change lives for the better. By measuring our impact, sharing our learnings and building partnerships with businesses, government and the social sector we can create greater impact, together.

Initiatives include:

  • Building partnerships to invest in research to accelerate the growth and impact of employment-based social enterprises
  • Convening co-funding opportunities to invest in scaling employment-based social enterprises
  • Co-hosting forums to share best practice in grant making and pro bono
  • Pro bono partnerships to help build the capability of the social enterprises we support
What is a social enterprise?

Social enterprises are an innovative type of business that exist to create a fairer and more sustainable world.

They operate in all sectors of the community from retail to construction to hospitality, and what makes them unique is that they exist to create impact through trade.

Westpac Foundation supports work integration social enterprises that focus on creating meaningful employment for people overcoming barriers to work.