Today marks the International Day of People with Disability, and to commemorate, one not-for-profit organisation and CommBank Community Grant recipient – What Ability Foundation – has hosted an event at the CommBank Stadium.

What Ability Foundation is a not-for-profit that unlocks community experiences for people living with a disability or diminished capacity, as well as their families.

It partners with experience providers across sport, live entertainment, adventure, hospitality and dining, to fund ticketed experiences for not only the individual but for the whole family.

Speaking about the work of the Foundation, CEO and former NRL player, Steve Dresler, said: “Providing experiences and social participation helps combat isolation, reduces parental stress, strengthens family bonds, and enhances entire communities. The goal is to provide one million experiences for people with a disability across Australia by 2026.”

“Often parents are unable to work full-time due to unpaid carer demands, and pressure on household budgets means they cannot afford to access events or activities for themselves or loved ones. Disability funding packages rarely extend to cover entertainment, and regular respite is highly expensive and out of reach for many.

“Our purpose is to break down barriers and give families equality of access to the communities in which they live – the ability to move, jump, play, swim and experience life to the full,” he said.

What Ability Foundation was this year given a $10,000 donation via the CommBank Staff Foundation’s Community Grants program.

Last month, Commonwealth Bank announced its employees had helped deliver $10,000 donations to 300 community organisations from across Australia as part of the CommBank Staff Foundation’s Community Grants program. 

The $3 million dollar pool is made up of regular contributions by CBA staff, which are matched by the bank. This year’s program builds on CBA’s 100+ year history of supporting the community through its Staff Foundation, providing employees the opportunity to nominate the charities they’re most passionate about to receive funding.

Nathan Barker, Head of Community Investment at Commonwealth Bank said: “As one of Australia’s largest employers, we welcome opportunities for our people to contribute to the community. The CommBank Staff Foundation is committed to driving positive change in the community by supporting the causes CBA staff are most passionate about.

“Our vast staff network has diverse areas of interest and the program enables us to play a role in supporting the community across a wide range of issues.”

Mr Dresler said the What Ability Foundation would use the $10,000 to help complete its website build and fund an online member portal for families.

“As a newly established not-for-profit, the Foundation is still in start-up mode. The member portal will empower parents and caregivers by providing support, information and further opportunities to access the community. We currently have a basic website which captures limited family information. The $10,000 Community Grant will transform our online presence and grow our community,” he said.

Through the member portal, families will be able to log-in, upload documents, edit their details, access local services information, and apply for additional experiences.

Mr Dressler said being able to provide those people living with a disability (and their families) with access to inclusive community experiences, ultimately helps to boost confidence and social skills, and improves the physical and mental health of entire families – strengthening the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

“Our Foundation has provided beacon of hope and something for families to look forward to during the pandemic. While our official launch was initially delayed due to COVID-19 related restrictions, we are pleased to be able to host this event at the CommBank stadium today on the International Day of People with Disability,” he said.