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New charitable arm has unique community focus

18 March 2005 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank today officially launched its charitable arm, the Community Enterprise™ Foundation.

Bank managing director and Foundation patron-in-chief Rob Hunt said the Foundation offered communities across Australia a unique opportunity to raise and distribute tax-effective donations.

“Many donors would happily contribute more if they knew funds would be applied to benefit their own communities,” Mr Hunt said.

“But the cost of setting up and running a separate foundation in every community would be crippling.

“We have therefore devised a unique model which uses one trustee and one administration, but effectively provides every community with the capacity to prioritise allocations from their own separate funds.

“Donations from individuals, businesses and government will be able to be targeted at specific communities and we believe that knowing this, many donors will increase their contribution, thereby swelling the pool of philanthropic funds available for charitable purposes.

“It will be a fantastic way to help communities retain and use more of their local capital on projects that will directly improve their social structure.”

The Community Enterprise™ Foundation is administered by its trustee, Sandhurst Trustees Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Bendigo Bank).

As it enjoys Deductible Gift Recipient status, the Foundation is able to accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, business and governments for distribution to both registered charities and charitable projects.

Communities are able to establish a named management account of the Foundation and make recommendations to the trustee on local projects worthy of support.

Sandhurst Trustees and Foundation chairman Ian Mansbridge said that Foundation would not be limited to communities served by Bendigo Bank.

“While it is a Bendigo Bank initiative, it will be open to all communities and we are already in discussions about accepting donations through branches of other companies.”

Mr Mansbridge said that through leveraging the resources of the Bendigo Bank Group, the Foundation will keep administration costs to a minimum.

“Donors understand there are some costs associated with collecting, receipting and administering donations, but they expect the lion’s share to arrive at its destination. We will ensure at least 95 per cent of monies raised through the Foundation reaches eligible recipients.”

Although the Foundation was officially launched today, it has already met the demand by Bendigo Bank customers wishing to donate to tsunami relief and to aid victims of the devastating bushfires on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

Chief executive Natalie Elliott said that through Bendigo Bank branches, the Foundation had collected total donations of $1.3 million towards tsunami relief and $82,000 for victims of the bushfires.

“We have already distributed $437,000 to six registered international aid agencies working in tsunami areas and we continue to assess the most effective way to channel the remainder of funds collected to date. In South Australia, we are simply waiting on the Eyre Peninsula community to make its recommendations.”

Donations to the Foundation can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch across Australia (including Community Bank® branches) and are tax deductible.

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