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Coates Foundation celebrates second birthday

Coates volunteers helped clear the basement of clutter at Common Ground in Sydney

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The Coates Foundation celebrated its second birthday in November, having boosted its contributions to its national charity partners and community organisations in 2023.

Elise Manns, Executive General Manager for People & Safety at Coates, said: “It’s been an incredible two years since we launched the foundation, with nearly $1 million contributed over that time to worthy causes across the country and in the communities in which we live and work. But it’s more than just providing much-needed financial support to these communities.

“It’s been amazing to see how readily our team members across the country are donating their time as volunteers – we’re anticipating we’ll reach 600 hours volunteering across 2023, up from 516 hours in 2022.

“It goes to show just how much our people care about these causes and their communities, with all willing to help however and whenever they can.”

In addition to Coates’ existing partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, the Foundation’s national charity partners are the Humpty Dumpty FoundationTIACS, and Mission Australia. Nationally, the Foundation supports R U OK?, while at a regional Business Unit (BU) level, it supports the Humpty Dumpty Foundation (East BU), Seven Telethon (West BU), TradeMutt (North BU) and Foodbank (South BU).

Coates CEO Murray Vitlich was among the participants of the Balmoral Burn 2023
Coates CEO Murray Vitlich was among the participants of the Balmoral Burn 2023.

Making a difference

In 2023, the Foundation supported the Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s Balmoral Burn, with Coates’ team members and their families taking part in a variety of different race categories over the 420 metre stretch up one of Sydney’s steepest hills. Some of them even doing it twice, showing their support for a charity that raises money for children in hospitals across Australia.

In addition, Coates not only supports Humpty with equipment hire donations, but also through acquiring and donating vital equipment for sick and injured children. In the last year this included five items worth $19,870 for health units: Rottnest Island Nursing Post in Western Australia, Royal Darwin Hospital in the Northern Territory, Cohuna District Hospital in Victoria, Mount Isa Hospital in Queensland and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in New South Wales.

“Coates’ support towards purchasing paediatric medical equipment through Humpty’s Wish List allows us to create life changing outcomes for children in hospital right across Australia,” said Humpty Dumpty Foundation CEO & MD, Claire Reaney.

The Clontarf Employment Forums are an opportunity for senior students to discover employment opportunities in their region
The Clontarf Employment Forums are an opportunity for senior students to discover employment opportunities in their region.

Providing pathways

In 2021, Coates launched a three-year partnership with Coates and the Clontarf Foundation, supporting 148 Clontarf Academies located where Coates co-exists.

More than 11,000 students are enrolled in the Clontarf program, which is designed to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment opportunities of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

As part of its support, Coates is developing employment pathways within its business for Clontarf graduates, assisting them with functional skills such as resume writing and interviewing, as well as hosting visits to Coates’ work sites and hands-on work experience. Coates has employed 14 Clontarf graduates since commencing support.

“Through the Coates Foundation we seek to build on this work to enhance our communities and leave legacies that last for generations to come,” said Manns. “Clontarf is undertaking amazing work across the nation and our team is happy to assist where it can with volunteering hours and even with the provision of equipment.”

In 2023, Coates donated 52 laptops to Clontarf students in NSW and the NT. Coates employees attended more than 200 community engagements with local Clontarf Academies, participating in a range of informal, unstructured and social activities aimed at building long-term relationships with the students and their culture, as part of the company’s RAP commitment.

Coates also volunteered manpower and machinery to support the recreation of a Yarning Circle at Cecil Andrews College, in Western Australia, an area where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students gather at the school to share stories.

Coates donated 52 laptops to Clontarf students in NSW and the NT
Coates donated 52 laptops to Clontarf students in NSW and the NT.

Volunteering to deliver meaningful impact

Meanwhile, 46 Coates team members volunteered more than 240 hours with Foodbank in 2023 helping the charity pack and distribute 41,151 kilograms of food; the equivalent of 82,302 meals.

With the financial and in-kind investment the Foundation has provided, the impact equates to 215,670 meals.

In addition, 15 team members from the East Business Unit, Legal and People & Safety rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into a storage facility makeover for Common Ground as part of the Foundation’s work with Mission Australia.

“The basement of Common Ground, a building that houses those at risk of homelessness, had accumulated years of clutter among other necessities and equipment staff require to support residents,” said Manns. “With the help of a Coates ute, rubbish and detritus were distributed into a street skip and two storage rooms that were initially crammed, emptied and reordered to make life easier for the Mission Australia team.”

Starting conversations around mental health

Coates has been on the front foot with raising mental health awareness, with the Foundation partnering with the team from TIACS (This Is A Conversation Starter), which provides a free text/call mental health counselling support service for those seeking help.

Started by the co-founders of social impact workwear brand TradeMutt, many Coates people have embraced the TIACS mission, starting ‘Funky Shirt Fridays’ when they wear bright TradeMutt shirts on Fridays to help encourage conversations around mental health with customers and colleagues.

“They can see the impact simply having a conversation can having in boosting mental health,” said Manns. “The Trade Mutt initiative is the perfect way to start conversations and it’s led to an incredible impact for TIACS.”

Since November 2021, the impact the Foundation has made on TIACS has been immense, with TIACS reporting that 605 clients have been supported and more than 473 hours of conversations held since the Foundation began its support.

For R U OK? Day, the company held nationwide morning teas for staff to further raise awareness, with TIACS Co -CEO Jason Banks delivering a lunchtime webinar with all of Coates’ employees.

“As an industry, we need to make sure that our doors are open to people struggling with mental health,” said Manns. “That conversation can be the first step to helping people find the support they need.”

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