• Eugene McGarrell

Join the coalition for co-operative social investment and impact

Corporate social responsibility investment, social bonds, volunteer days and shared value initiatives are some of the ways business attempts to connect with community and are seen to be doing good. Many CEOs and Boards have authentic ambitions to support vulnerable communities whereas others are more cynical and use social care investment as a public relations opportunity.

Trust in financial institutions has been hit by the media reporting of the Royal Commission. Most smart operators will know that trust is good for business. Authentic investment in social good will go some way to generating that trust. But I suspect it won’t be enough.

Despite all the investment into the social sector I have witnessed that most of that investment has not delivered. Rates of suicide, homelessness, addiction, depression and anxiety continue to rise, and the patience of social investors is being tested. CEOs, Boards and Managers of Foundations are wondering what they are getting for their money.

And I don't blame them.

So why aren’t we seeing results?

Plain and simple, there is no coordinated investment program and there is little coordination between government and non-government agencies. Agencies large and small are playing their own games and investors are not collaborating. Millions (more like Billions) of dollars is invested by government and business in health and social care, but no one is connecting the dots.

The status quo cannot be maintained forever. Another global financial downturn will mean organisational budgets will be slashed and the lack of results will mean corporate social responsibility will be one of the first victims of austerity policies.

The social sector is a complex environment, and this makes planning complicated. Co-operation and collaboration are essential bedfellows in this space and failure to do either will continue to lead to more people being marginalised and vulnerable.

In August 2020 an international conference of community centres is being held in Sydney. This is the first time the conference will be held in the southern hemisphere and it provides an opportunity for business, government, local community and not for profit organisations to come together and create an evidence base strategy to tackle loneliness and reverse the trend on suicide, homelessness, addiction, anxiety and depression.

It is time to disrupt the old corporate social responsibility paradigm for a new system wide approach that is founded on cooperation and collaboration. A new model needs to be co-designed and we are looking to attract early adopters to this space.

If you are in business, in government, in community or working for a not for profit then you are invited to join a coalition. We need investors, thought leaders, people with lived experience and social innovators to partner this year and beyond.

This conference connects the grass roots with the United Nations. There is real potential for us here in Australia to leverage this opportunity and make a real and long-lasting difference.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please message me directly or in the comments below. We are confident that the commitment to create social justice in Australia is strong. We believe this can be achieved in order to create a stronger economy.

The status quo isn't delivering. We can make a difference.

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