Community Contribution - CommBank Sustainability Report 2014

Sustainability Reporting 2014

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Community Contribution and Action

We have a proud history of supporting local communities as evidenced by the financial literacy education programs we offer, the variety of organisations we support, and the impact made by our people volunteering.


Empowering people to support communities

The intent of fostering a culture of volunteering within Commonwealth Bank is to ensure a focused and relevant benefit for the community, while also promoting personal development opportunities that are both challenging and educational for our people.

Programs covered include mentoring schemes, skilled secondments for charity partners and general activities where teams can leave their desk to help out a community group for a day.

These operate across the country and are flexible to suit the schedules and workloads of as many teams as possible. Each year we recognise the valuable contribution our people make both at work and in their own time through the CommBank Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Jawun is a not-for-profit organisation connecting skilled people in corporate Australia with Indigenous communities to share knowledge and expertise. Through six-week secondments our people have the opportunity to develop professionally and personally, while also gaining an insight into Indigenous culture and contributing to genuine community advancement.

During FY2014, 20 staff members have participated in Jawun placements across North East Arnhem Land, NSW Central Coast, and inner Sydney.

Partnering with Cabramatta High

The ability to leverage skills from people across the Group - even at the highest levels of management - and channel that into various communities is showcased in our relationship with Cabramatta High.

Since 2007 principal Beth Godwin has participated in a mentoring initiative with the Commonwealth Bank CEO, commencing with former CEO Ralph Norris and continuing today with Ian Narev. Many positive developments have ensued as a direct result of this unique relationship, including volunteering for gardening projects, student mentoring, resume and interview workshops, and the highly successful ‘Partner a Class’ program.

At the same time, Beth also recognised a need for students to develop stronger literacy skills through storytelling, especially the large student base from a refugee or migrant background. As a result, the Your Face Your Story program was developed, which sees CommBank mentors and students working together to explore the students' cultural origins and express them through a written story or creative piece of art.

This extraordinary collaboration acts as therapy for some of the students, many of whom have suffered traumatic experiences in their country of origin. At the completion of the program student artworks are celebrated via a public exhibition and their stories published in a book.

CommBank mentors and students working together to explore the students' cultural origins and express them through a written story or creative piece of art
We're making it easy for new employees to participate in workplace giving we now have more than 11,400 regular donors

Staff Community Fund

The Group's Staff Community Fund is Australia's largest and longest-running workplace-giving program that matches our staff's contributions dollar-for-dollar.

After trialling an opt-out clause for contributions to the Fund in staff employment contracts since 2009, the default now for new employees is to be automatically signed up to make a donation each fortnight. A brochure on our programs and the causes supported accompanies each employee's contract.

To ensure transparency and build engagement, new staff also receive a welcome letter and program lapel pin, recognising them as Staff Community Fund members.

Because we're making it easy for new employees to participate in workplace giving we now have more than 11,400 regular donors. The generosity of our people has seen $2 million awarded in grants in 2014, with individual grants up to $10,000 going to 238 organisations focused on improving the health and wellbeing of young Australians.

Since 2007 we've supported more than 1,200 programs with grants totalling $9.6 million.

The Fund also provides ongoing support for two charities: The Humour Foundation's Clown Doctors and Midnight Basketball.

Read about some of our grant recipients.


With nearly 60% of New South Wales drought declared and a quarter of farmers running out of their own water supplies, the Group was proud to be a lead partner in the 'We're for the Bush' Appeal 2014. Kick starting the appeal with a $50,000 donation we helped raise more than $1.6m to support our customers and the community.

Connecting with Indigenous communities

We continue to partner with organisations that provide outstanding educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia.

Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN)

ICAN supports an Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program that provides accredited financial counselling training to Indigenous people to share within their local communities.

The partnership program with Commonwealth Bank includes personal and academic mentorship in a supported learning environment, as well as connecting students through virtual and face-to-face classroom oriented training.

We've supported the program since 2008, when it began in far north Queensland. Today it's grown to a national level and in the 2013-14 financial year ten accredited financial counsellors graduated from all across the country, including Derby WA, Alice Springs NT, as Penrith NSW and Port August in SA.

Mentoring Indigenous students

Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) supports Indigenous high school students through scholarships and mentoring programs. In 2014 37 Commonwealth Bank staff members are mentoring AIEF students - up from 21 in 2013.

We also support Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), which partners with 23 university campuses nationally to provide structured education mentoring to more than 3,000 Indigenous high school students each year.

Connecting with Indigenous communities image

Supporting the arts, sport and health in Australia

The Group partners with a number of organisations that lead the way in celebrating our unique national culture while also addressing issues that matter to Australians:

  • Cricket - We've been involved at all levels for more than 27 years. Our partnership covers the Australian Men's Test team, the Southern Stars, the National Indigenous Cricket Championships, Imparja Cup and the Australian Country Cricket Championships.
    We've also continued to support cricket clubs with the ‘Grants for Grassroots™’ program, where more than $1.5 million has been invested into more than 1000 local cricket clubs over the past four years.
  • Breast cancer - Over the past 19 years we've contributed more than $11 million via fundraising, sponsorship and diary sales.
  • Prostate cancer - Over the past four years we've helped Prostrate Cancer Foundation of Australia raise more than $700,000 through the Big Aussie Barbie, contributing to PCFA's research, awareness and initiatives.
  • The arts - Opera Australia, Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Australian Chamber Orchestra have all been recipients of Commonwealth Bank contributions.
  • Australian of the Year Awards - The Group has been this event's major sponsor for more than 30 years, celebrating outstanding Australians and their commitment to local communities.

Find out more about our sponsorship activities.