This month at Make a Change Australia, in prelude to the announcement of our exciting 2015 Central Victorian Outside the Square program, we are profiling businesses and business leaders who invest into changemakers.
There are a lot of funding bodies that provide funds for projects,
infrastructure, equipment. There are a lot of businesses that invest in
these too, through sponsorship and other means. This is great and
needed. However we’re on the search for business leaders that recognise
the value that changemakers provide to their community and invest in the
changemakers themselves, enabling them to grow and expand their impact.
On the web page “Our Reconciliation Plan” for bankmecu it is stated: At the heart of bankmecu is a belief that strong synergies exist between social and environmental responsibility and a cooperative approach to banking.
“We believe our community is diversified and so we invest into diverse future leaders in our community,”Derek de Vrieze, Community Development Manager for bankmecu, proudly explains. “The bankmecu indigenous scholarship with the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program has been in place for over four years. By providing opportunity for an indigenous person to participate we can take steps towards closing the gap of 17 years life expectancy between Australia’s first peoples and other Australians.”
The Loddon Murray Community Leadership program is an intensive year long program that connects people together and resources to enable regional leaders make change. bankmecu believes that by ensuring an indigenous person participates in this leadership program two important outcomes occur;
- Firstly, it raises the aspirations of indigenous people to become leaders and share their history and culture.
- Secondly, it increases awareness of the adversity faced by first Australians.
“Around 6 out of 10 Australian’s have never met an indigenous person.” Derek says. “When there is opportunity for diverse participation we can share in a non-confronting way each others story and put out feet into the other person’s shoes. It is a great opportunity for active reconciliation and creating a future that embraces diversity.”
Image supplied by CLLM. Featured in the photo from left to right Ben Smith Regional Manager bankmecu, Kerri Douglas (2015 participant), Trina Dalton-Oogies (LMCLP 2014) and Sue Allengame (LMCLP 2013). Very back Derek de Vrieze