Socially responsible banking at act.
Desexing the world one kitten at a time.
Socially responsible banking is an all-too-common phrase. CEOs standing with oversized cheques and flashing cameras, men and women in suits speaking about the most impoverished parts of the community – financial institutions are quick to promote their charitable work and generous donations.
What if your bank didn’t involve itself in charity, but was built around it?
This is the model adopted by act. act. is a financial provider offering typical products such as loans, credit cards and everyday accounts, but it also provides a platform for you to support projects you are passionate about.
With its products backed by Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank, act. lets you earn a certain amount of "Impact Dollars" for every dollar you borrow or hold with them in an account. You’re then able to donate these Dollars to a project of your choosing.
The projects are diverse, covering everything from desexing a litter of kittens to providing meals to Australians at Christmas time. We’ve chosen some of our favourite projects below to give you a better idea of the options.
We encourage you to go and have a look at some of the projects, and if you’re so inclined, make a pledge.
Transition Bondi – 241 Bondi Road
This community-based organisation’s project is focused on finding funding to build neighbourhood and footpath gardens in Bondi. Following the installation of gardens in Bondi and Waverley, it’s looking to expand the project and its previous successes.
On the project page on act., Transition Bondi cites studies from Deakin University on the value of community gardens. They increase happiness, decrease suicide rates, reduce heart disease rates, and create and develop social cohesion. Its aim is to create and support more gardens in the Bondi community.
Transition Bondi will use the money to install garden beds, purchase beehives, construct and irrigate a seedling nursery, introduce rare varieties of fruit to the garden, establish a seed library and more.
This is just one of the international campaigns that you can support on act., and it all started as a student project in 2012. The HERO to ZERO campaign was started to reduce the damaging impacts of HIV and other infectious diseases by ensuring people in third-world countries have condoms that meet western safety standards.
The current HERO to ZERO campaign is to support the Government of Botswana’s initiative to eliminate the HIV epidemic by 2016. Botswana currently has one in four people between the ages of 15 and 49 who have HIV. This is the second highest rate in the world.
So far the organisation has donated 75,000 condoms to organisations across Africa, and it needs help to keep the initiative going.
Get Fixed in Feb
Anyone who has owned a pet knows the costs of desexing – for those who haven’t or if you need a reminder, it’s around $220. For an adoption centre that desexes animals saved from death row at other centres, this can be an expensive exercise.
Lort Smith rescues pets, organises rehabilitation for them and finds them new homes. Every year at Lort Smith’s shelter 1,032 animals are rehomed, 95 animals and boarded in crisis and 1,213 animals are fostered. In 2014 alone, it desexed 672 surrendered animals.
Lort Smith doesn’t receive government funding so relies on donations to help the animals who are in need in Victoria. This includes desexing costs for the animals in its adoption centre and for people in need with pets in the area.
Girls Empowerment Program
The Girls Empowerment Program is run by the AusCam Freedom Project, an organisation working towards ending human trafficking and sexual violence in Cambodia since 2012. The program was started for girls aged 13 to 23 who have been “identified as at risk of exploitation through trafficking or sexual abuse in their current living environment”.
The program offers core programs such as English language classes, computer tutorials, personal development training and life skills as well as activities such as sport, yoga, self-defence and creative arts.
It costs $10 per month for each of the 50 girls to attend the Empowerment program, which lasts for 10 months. $5,000 needs to be raised to make this a reality for the at-risk girls.
act. allows you to identify and invest in passion projects while working towards your own financial goals. Find out more about its products and the possibility of funding a project you’re interested in here.