Teaching children with disabilities to sail, instilling healthy eating habits in young indigenous children, and connecting isolated members of the elderly South Asian community through technology.
These are just three of 22 charity projects that were recently announced as recipients of Community Underwriting’s 2015 Small Grants program.
“For another, the Australian Afghan Youth Association has a female karate project targeting young people from refugee backgrounds that come from pretty horrific circumstances and often experience isolation from the community,” Community Underwriting’s Executive Director Graeme Berwick told Broker Buzz.
“So this is a short program looking at trying to improve their self-confidence and fitness. We assisted with the funding for the room rental and instructor.”
Community Underwriting is majority owned by not-for-profit clients, with 70% of its surplus returned to its shareholders each year as donations.
A further 5% of the surplus, plus additional funds from Berkley Insurance Australia, is then set aside to fund this annual Small Grants Program, which is open to non shareholder clients.
“This funding makes quite a big difference. We’re quite amazed just how grateful and motivated they are,” Berwick added.
“We’ve got a client book where everyone is doing something really nice for somebody – whether it be for aged care, children, cancer, people with a disability or womens’ refuges – they are all amazing.”
Established just two years ago, both the agency and its Small Grants Program have enjoyed solid growth.
“We talk to a lot of brokers and our main message is that we’re specialists in the sector and it is a real alternative that supports the sector,” Berwick said.
“So brokers place their insurance, but their clients then get an opportunity year on year to get a grant or, if they’re large, be a shareholder and own the underwriting agency and receive donations under it.”