First charity issues Social Benefit Bond with Westpac and CBA

14 June 2013

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The Benevolent Society, in partnership with Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank, has launched a $10 million Social Benefit Bond to fund an intensive family support service for up to 400 families over five years.

The Benevolent Society’s General Manager of Business Development Steve Hawkins said the Social Benefit Bond would unlock new funding to invest in reducing the number of children needing to enter foster care.

“We know governments only have so much money to go around, but we also know there are a lot of people out there looking to invest in projects that will change lives – so this Social Benefit Bond is a real win-win,” Mr Hawkins said.

“Essentially, our Social Benefit Bond will provide investment returns based on reducing the cost to government of pressing social issues.

“With foster care costing up to $66,000 a year, when we can show our service is successfully keeping children safe and reducing the number entering foster care, our investors will receive a financial return.

“This type of financing encourages discipline in the reporting of social outcomes, which means greater transparency for taxpayers, and also creates an asset class which does not require a choice between being a philanthropist or an investor.”

The Benevolent Society’s CEO Anne Hollonds said the Social Benefit Bond was fundamentally about supporting families.

“While this is an exciting new way to finance our work, what’s most important is turning lives around and reducing the growing number of Australian kids who can’t live with their families,” Ms Hollonds said.

“The vast majority of parents want the best for their children, but some need extra help to create a safe home where their children can thrive – especially if they never had that chance in their own childhoods.

“This Social Benefit Bond will allow us to work with up to 400 families who recognise they need to change and want to put their children first and help them develop the skills they need to safely raise thriving kids.“

Craig Parker, Westpac Institutional Bank’s Executive Director and Head of Structured and Asset Finance, said this first bank-backed issue of a Social Benefit Bonds in Australia placing NSW at the leading edge of global developments in this financing sector.

"Westpac is proud to be involved in this essential venture with our partners and the NSW Government. Helping to find smart solutions to pressing social needs such as this is a most satisfying endeavour for everyone concerned and reinforces Westpac’s position as a global leader in sustainability,” Mr Parker said.

Interested investors can contact Craig Parker, Executive Director, Head of Structured and Asset Finance, Westpac Institutional Bank on 02 8254 9116 or cparker@westpac.com.au

Media contact: Liz Fowler 0410 003 934

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Trialling social finance

The NSW Government is the first in Australia to trial Social Benefit Bonds. See the ABC's report on the scheme.

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