Coates, an Australian equipment hire and solutions provider, has launched the Coates Foundation to make a positive difference through its current and future philanthropic work with national charity partners.
The Foundation will provide strategy and structure to Coates’ philanthropic work and its approach to “giving back” to the communities in which it operates. Coates will also engage its employees and support their social responsibility efforts through employee giving, as well as volunteering opportunities with its selected charity partners.
The launch of the Coates Foundation is a key pillar of the company’s Sustainability Strategy, launched last month.
“Engagement with the community is at the heart of this business and has been for 136 years. For Coates, it’s not only about doing well as a business, but also doing good,” Coates CEO Murray Vitlich said.
“We want our organisation and employees to consistently learn, understand and commit to assisting with the varied and ongoing challenges that the communities we work within face by making a constructive and lasting difference.”
The Foundation has selected national charity partners; This Is A Conversation Starter (TIACS) and Mission Australia. These partnerships allow the company and its employees to continue making charitable contributions that provide positive society-wide benefits. The partners are in addition to the work that Coates currently does with the Clontarf Foundation, a partnership that was launched earlier this year in conjunction with the launch of the company’s ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan.
Each year, Coates also supports the Seven Telethon, “R U OK?”, Westmead Children’s Hospital’s annual Christmas toy drive and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which donates medical equipment for children in Paediatric Wards, Neonatal Units, Maternity and Emergency Departments in hospitals across Australia.
Leaving a lasting legacy
In FY21, the company recognised the need to support remote and regional communities that do not have adequate access to medical services, especially specialist services such as mental health services and support.
This prompted the local Coates team in Townsville to think about how they could foster open and honest conversations around mental health in the workplace, initiating “Tropical Shirt Fridays,” in which employees wear bright “TradeMutt” shirts every Friday with YNWA (You’ll Never Walk Alone) labelled on the right breastplate and TIACS (This is a Conversation Starter) across the back, to create awareness around mental health and suicide.
“Our team in Townsville took it upon themselves to tackle the subject of mental wellbeing at work in a way that made an impact, not only among our employees but also for the community and customers they work with,” Vitlich said.
“It’s a testament to how our teams are motivated to engage and proactively foster change and leave a positive legacy, both internally and externally to Coates. In conjunction with the Coates Foundation launch, we will be encouraging all employees nationally to consider taking part in Mission Australia’s Christmas Appeal by donating directly to the charity, or creating Christmas hampers for distribution to Mission Australia locations across the country.
“We know that food hampers are a much-needed necessity and make a great difference to individuals and families who are homeless or experiencing disadvantage, especially at Christmas. We have team members in our branches who are encouraging friends and family to also be involved and distribute hampers in the lead up to Christmas.”