Bankwest Foundation research to transform the WA Community Sector

media releases

05 March 2015

The Bankwest Foundation and the University of Western Australia Centre for Social Impact (UWA CSI) have partnered to produce a long-term series of research projects that will transform the way that social impact is assessed in the WA community sector.

With an active community sector seeking to make a difference to the lives of people and an emerging social enterprise sector in WA, this research program is the first of its kind in Australia. This research is set to be warmly welcomed by the community sector in WA, who have been calling out for the opportunity to measure the difference community organisations make to the lives of West Australians.

The five-year research program has been made possible by the partnership between the Bankwest Foundation and UWA CSI, with the aim of supporting the development and growth of the community sector in Western Australia.

Outcomes of the research program will be delivered through a series of launch events and panel discussions, known as the Social Impact Series, and in community and policy workshops. The research program focuses on the key themes of ‘Measuring outcomes in the Community Sector’ and ‘Improving the financial resilience of Social Enterprises’.

The series was officially launched this morning at a Bankwest Foundation breakfast attended by key public policy decision makers, social program funders, community sector organisations and business supporters.

The first report in the Social Impact Series provides an introduction to the outcomes measurement field and examines the international trends as well as exploring the evolving relationship between funders and community organisations to establish an outcomes measurement framework.

Director of UWA CSI, Professor Paul Flatau, said that programs of research such as this were essential to the longevity and success of the WA community sector and social enterprises in delivering programs.

“The WA community sector provides critical services on very limited funds and with the help of Bankwest Foundation, we want to give this sector a much needed helping hand in understanding exactly what programs and services are having the most impact, and why,” Professor Flatau said.

“With the long-term commitment from the Bankwest Foundation, for the first time, we’ll be able to do just that.”

Bankwest Foundation chair, Carolyn Kidd, said she was proud to launch the first report with UWA CSI as a commitment to one of the Foundation’s four areas of focus which is to support research and reform of the community sector in WA.

“Our goal by working with UWA CSI on this research partnership is to support the long-term sustainable growth of a thriving WA community sector,” Ms Kidd said.

The Bankwest Foundation was established in 2013 with a mission to improve the well-being of Australians by enabling the implementation of significant and meaningful community initiatives in Western Australia and nationally.

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