partnering stronger communities

building community capacity in victoria & wa 
Community and not-for-profit organisations in Kwinana, Peel, South-West WA, Geelong and Portland received a helping hand recently during capacity building scholarships from the Alcoa Foundation.

Over three days, 62 community workers from 46 organisations participated in ‘The Alcoa Foundation Sustaining Local Communities Governance Scholarships’ which aim to provide practical skills, knowledge and resources to promote improved governance and direction.

Bringing together the strengths of two of Australia’s leading training providers, Our Community and BSI Learning, the scholarships involve undertaking a Certificate IV in Business (Governance).  The scholarships are fully funded by the Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa’s National Partnerships Manager Sarah Fordham said the scholarships have come at an ideal time.

“It’s during times of economic challenge that our communities need our corporate support more than ever. These scholarships mean our community partners can up-skill at no cost to their organisation,” she said.

“Building capacity through training is so important, yet it’s often one of the first things to be cut when times are challenging.

“These scholarships will empower community organisations to improve the governance of their organisation and ultimately improve services for the whole community.”

Dr Rhonda Galbally AO, Chief Executive Officer of Our Community said: “Alcoa has set a great example of corporate support. It’s not just about providing financial support but using its capacity to work with people from communities and expand their knowledge and skill base with the aim of taking that knowledge back to their own communities where it can really make a difference.”

“The Alcoa Community Partner and Governance Scholarships have set a new benchmark in how companies can support communities and community groups, and are a great acknowledgement of the work these people are doing in their own communities,” she said.

our gift to victorian arts culture
The Geelong Gallery has received a boost, thanks to a donation of artwork valued at more than $300,000 from Alcoa of Australia.
In line with our core value to make access to the arts a reality for everyone, we’ve gifted seven pieces to the Geelong Gallery, including work by famous Australian artists: Sir Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Ray Crooke.

Alcoa began collecting works back in 1970 and over a number of years our private collection rose  significantly in value to around $3 million - many of our works became part of Australian history.  We began donating our multi-million dollar collection to communities around the country in 2002.

Managing Director Alan Cransberg said donating our corporate art collection certainly helped achieve Alcoa’s goal of bring art to more people and more places.
“Our philosophy is that there is little value in having famous pieces of art locked away in our corporate offices, when they could be in public places for the whole community to enjoy for generations to come,” he said.
“We strive to help build stronger communities.  We believe creative communities are stronger communities and for that to become a reality, art is essential.”
With Alcoa’s Point Henry and Anglesea operations nearby, Mr Cransberg hopes the Alcoa gift will be enjoyed by the hundreds of local Alcoa employees.

Geelong Gallery Director, Geoffrey Edwards, said: “I pay tribute to Alcoa’s foresight in assembling the original corporate collection – a collection of magnitude and quality – and to the extremely generous strategy of staged handovers of major works of art to key not-for-profit organisations within the cities or regions where Alcoa operates.

“Each of the paintings and works on paper that have been donated to us add lustre to a collection that already reflects Alcoa’s support over some years now.”

Mr Cransberg said that often the most valuable contribution to communities did not involve money.

“This gesture, which I believe will leave a lasting impact on our communities, has been made at no cost to our business, which is obviously a consideration in these challenging times.

“I encourage everyone, from individuals to corporates, to look around their own backyards to see how they can help.

“While we have many community partnerships which receive financial contributions, we also have active employee volunteering programs where it’s our time that’s offered to not-for-profit organisations – and time is something anyone can give,” Mr Cransberg said.

Alcoa has also gifted pieces, including work by Pro Hart, to the Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital - that donation is valued at close to $100,000.

top honours for carers wa at citizen of the year awards
Carers WA received top honours at the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Awards recently.

The Gold Swan Award, exclusively sponsored by Alcoa, is unique among the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Awards in that it acknowledges the invaluable contribution of a voluntary service organisation (rather than an individual) dedicated to the betterment of the lives of Western Australians.

Carers WA is the peak advocacy body representing carer issues and presenting these issues to government bodies, policy makers and key stakeholders to effect change for the benefit of carers. Its role is to work in active partnership with carers, persons with care and support needs, health professionals, service providers, government and the wider community to achieve an improved quality of life for the estimated 250,000 family carers in WA.

In addition to advocacy, Carers WA supports carers by providing services such as information, advice, counselling, education & training and carer social events, enabling carers to develop networks with other carers.

Carers WA CEO Paul Coates said that winning the Gold Swan Award has positively increased public awareness of the organisation.

“This award has meant that people who may not have previously identified themselves as a carer, in hearing about us through the award, are now more aware of the support services that are available to them.”

Mr Coates said it’s critical to have organisations like Carers WA supporting the community.

“Caring cuts across the age, culture, gender and ethnic divides which means pretty much anyone can be affected at any time.

“Carers benefit the community by relieving pressure on our health system, which in turn allows more effective delivery of these services to the broader WA community.

“The voice of one person can be difficult to hear in a crowd, and our organisation acts as a voice for carers on a broader level so that their thoughts, views and struggles can be heard and in turn, effect change for the better. 

“We also hope that in some way our organisation acts as a safe space, where carers can feel comfortable voicing their views without bias or judgment.”

Estimates and studies into the financial value of the unpaid caring role indicates that if their role was transferred to health services the additional burden to tax payers would run into billions of dollars ($1.9B in WA alone)*

In Australia, 79% of care is provided by family members or friends in the community.  At the last ABS census (2004), there were over 246,800 carers in WA alone – that’s one in every eight people, with at least one person per five households providing some level of care to someone that they love or have a kinship to. 

Alcoa congratulates Carers WA on their critical work with the WA community and on their recent award win.

* Taskforce on Care Costs: 2007 Report.  The hidden face of care: Combining work and caring responsibilities for the aged and people with a disability.

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Point Henry Operations Manager, Stewart Esdale, and Geelong Gallery Director, Geoffrey Edwards, at the opening of the Alcoa exhibition

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Participants in the Alcoa Foundation community capacity building training. Scroll down for full story

The Gold Swan Award - WA Citizen of the Year Awards. Scroll down for full story

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WA Citizen of the Year Awards: Alcoa's National Partnerships Manager, Sarah Fordham, with Carers WA Chair, Carol Franklin, and Governor of WA Dr Ken Michael AC. Scroll down for full story

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WA Citizen of the Year Awards: Carers WA volunteers Susan Tomlinson and Louise Anderson with carers from our community

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WA Citizen of the Year Awards: A group of West Aussie carers with Carers WA Young Carer Officer Robyn Forrest (centre) at a young carer beach camp