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4 min read

A smarter approach to workplace giving: FG Advisory Charitable Fund

Profile of Dom O'Donnell
Written by Dom O'DonnellPosted on 15/11/2022

FG Advisory is all about creating a zero-emissions future, one building at a time.

Established in 2013, the Australian engineering and sustainability consulting firm helps clients create high-performing and environmentally sustainable infrastructure.

“FG Advisory was founded with meaningful purpose,” says Acting Managing Director Kathy Rockman. “As engineers, we recognised Australia was experiencing ageing infrastructure and rising energy costs. We wanted to create a sustainable energy future in the built environment.”

The firm has since grown to a team of 35, working with sectors spanning health, government, commercial and higher education.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve really embedded our purpose of building a better future into our culture,” says Kathy.

One of the key ways the firm has achieved this has been through the FG Advisory Charitable Fund.

The causes we fund are really close to our employees’ hearts

Taking a team on a giving journey

Established through Australian Communities Foundation (ACF), the Fund supports the FG Advisory team’s giving program focused on community development, education, environment and international aid.

“We really encourage our people to be their best selves, and not just in the net-zero emissions space or their technical capability,” says Kathy. “We wanted to take our team on a charitable giving journey.”

With the fund up and running, FGA selects causes to get behind by meeting as an organisation and sharing ideas.

“The causes we fund are really close to our employees’ hearts,” says Kathy, “and ACF is always there to help us find organisations doing great work for those causes. It’s a really collaborative process.”

Over their first year of granting, the FG Advisory team has supported a range of organisations including Wildlife Victoria, Bush Heritage Australia, WomenCAN, Human Rights Law Centre, Ardoch, batyr, and ActionAid.

“These are some really leading-edge not-for-profits that corporates don’t often first think to support,” says ACF’s Director of Philanthropic Services, Georgia Mathews. “FG Advisory already has a sustainability focus, so it’s great to see the team get behind some leading environmental groups, but for the organisation to broaden the Fund’s remit to also have a community focus is fantastic.”

A smarter approach to workplace giving

With corporate philanthropy on the rise, Georgia says more and more businesses are understanding they have a broader role to play in society.

“It’s not just about employee retention and satisfaction – although all the evidence shows that workplace giving is good for both. It’s also this idea that you’re supporting values-based conversations to be had among teams that may not otherwise happen.”

“Opening a Corporate Fund is a really smart way to go about engaging your team in workplace giving,” says Georgia. “Organisations often default to simply offering pre-tax payroll giving, where employees select charities they want to give to and give directly out of their pay cheque. That’s fantastic, but it happens in a silo.”

“A Corporate Fund creates this shared sense of identity around your workplace giving. It supports matched funding and encourages employees to make collective decisions around the causes that they care about as a group. That’s irreplaceable when it comes to building workplace culture.”

when you open a fund for your workplace, your money works for you three times

“Another benefit is the collective impact you can have with a fund. Your team is pooling money and making decisions together, which means you’re giving larger amounts to fewer organisations – and any charity will tell you that they would rather receive a bigger amount of money in one go than lots of little amounts.”

“Finally, when you open a fund for your workplace, your money works for you three times: (1) employees get a tax deduction when they make the donation; (2) the money is invested ethically while it’s sitting there; and (3) you get to give it out when you’re ready to amazing organisations on the ground.”

For Kathy and the FG Advisory team, this is only the beginning of their giving journey.

“The Fund has already enabled us to get so many of our people involved – to make decisions about what to support and be part of a shared journey,” says Kathy. “We look forward to continuing to grow the fund and making a difference to community.”