When I joined White Box in May, just four months out from the Social Enterprise World Forum, I was quietly curious to see how this relatively small non-profit would deliver such a large-scale, landmark event for social enterprise globally.
I quickly realised that beyond the CEO, Luke Terry there was a team of incredible individuals, who all shared his passion and unwavering commitment to make this a moment to remember for the sector. And beyond these individuals were 27 committed partners, six advisory committees, and a whole social enterprise community who were also 100% invested in this event.
SEWF’s success speaks volumes to the power of partnerships. In my short time with White Box, I’ve realised SEWF wasn’t a one-off. This strong sense of collaboration is a common thread through all the work we do.
Like traditional funder-recipient relationships, our partners are working side-by-side with us. There is a shared vision and level of support which contributes directly to the outcomes we’re able to achieve.
As we look back on our 2022 highlights, here are six key moments where our partners have played an invaluable role in helping us deliver on our mission to create 5,000 jobs by 2030.
1. Giving White Box the chance to grow
People and culture are everything. The Ian Potter Foundation has been fundamental in giving White Box the opportunity to strengthen its organisational operations and attract the right people and expertise to help us fulfil our mission. We wouldn’t be here today without this support.
2. Probono support
The complexity of the Payment By Outcomes Trial required a dedicated legal resource for six months. MinterEllison provided this support probono. Beyond this, they are always willing to jump in and help – their support for the Seb Elsworth series of events is just one example.
3. Generosity leads to growth
The generosity of individuals like Naomi Milgrom – who know the power of employment - has been instrumental to the growth of our social enterprise start-ups. Naomi generously gifted office space in Melbourne, allowing ASA to expand into Victoria. In just six months, they’ve created 17 new jobs, 70% of which are for neurodiverse young adults. Naomi’s support also extends to another WBE start-up in our pipeline for 2023.
4. Valuable mentoring
Non-financial support from partners in some instances can carry more impact than dollars. Both Allan English and Belinda Morrissey from the English Family Foundation have given generous amounts of time to mentor and offer valuable advice to our senior leadership team on a number of strategic priorities.
5. Genuine collaborators
Like us, Westpac Foundation love to collaborate, and they are brilliant at it. They are open to exploring what is possible when the outcomes are clear. SEWF is a great example of this - they were one of the first partners to come on board. Sally McGeoch has also played an integral role in helping us create authentic quarterly ‘All-in’ engagement sessions with our partners (wearing both her Westpac Foundation and CSI hats). We’re incredibly grateful for the time all partners give to these sessions and their active contribution in helping us map our future.
6. A shared belief in entrepreneurship
Sam Benjamin, founder of Seventh Street Ventures is also a big believer in the importance of entrepreneurship. Audacious goals can lead to great initiatives like SEWF when you have the right support to take calculated risks. It was a $100K loan from Sam against ticket sales that helped SEWF come to fruition. We are now working closely with Seventh Street on one of their new commercial ventures – Kaspa – where White Box has commenced onboarding 15 new employees from refugee communities in Sydney’s West.
Thank you to all our partners
These are just a few examples that give you a sense of the incredible support and generosity that exists within the impact sector when you have a shared vision.
I would like to extend our thanks on behalf of White Box team to all our partners working with us across all our ventures in 2022, including ASA, Beacon Laundry, Hotel Housekeeping and our projects in the pipeline: AMP Foundation, Charter Hall, Dalwood-Wylie Foundation, Eisen Family Private Fund, Equity Trustees, John Villiers Trust, L & R Uechtritz Foundation, Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation, Macquarie Group, Macquarie Group Foundation, Portland House Foundation, QLD Department of Employment, Small Businesses and Training, QRIDA, Rob Keldoulis, Saunders Havill Group, Seaton Foundation, Seventh Street Ventures, The Bryan Foundation, The Douglas Family Foundation, The English Family Foundation, The Funding Network Australia, The Ian Potter Foundation, The Snow Foundation and Westpac Foundation.I’m excited to see the difference we can continue to make together in 2023.