SEVEN Hunter corporates are joining forces for the first time to support the region’s farmers.
Led by Newcastle businesswoman Grace McLean, Hunter Corporate Collaborative (HCC) is the result of 18 months of round table discussions hat have led to an initial $112,500 commitment to Upper Hunter farming communities.
Ms McLean is founder of NFP Connect, which supports not for profit groups with networking, connections with the business community, and mentoring opportunities in Newcastle & the Hunter Region. In early 2017, she gathered representatives from Beyond Bank Australia Foundation, Glencore Coal Assets Australia, Greater Charitable Foundation, Hunter Water, nib foundation, Port Waratah Coal Services and Sparke Helmore Lawyers with a view to troubleshoot issues they had with funding charities.
“I had conversations with various [corporate] funders and with NFPs about how they might be able to better connect to create a greater impact for our community and that’s how it all started,” she says. “It was mentioned early that we might consider a collaboration of sorts but half of them are competitors so it just seemed too much ... we weren’t sure how would we even do that.”
After 18 months of discussions, a meeting in August provided the corporate group – initially known as NFP Connect Community Group before rebranding to HCC – the impetus to collaborate on the drought issue.
“It’s the first time they have collaborated together; prior to this they have perhaps talked to to each other in certain things but most didn't know one another,” Ms McLean says. “There were a whole bunch of things that had to align to make this happen, it had to be in the area they supported, it had to be long-term impact, it's not just throwing some cash at something.”
HCC will provide support and services to those most affected by drought in the Upper Hunter. The initiative is just the start.
“We have the foundations and structure, we’ve worked out some of the kinks; the world is our oyster,” Ms McLean says.