Citi Foundation has today announced it is providing $230,000 to the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, a social justice organisation that works across Australia to prevent and alleviate poverty. The donation is part of a worldwide commitment to support the community through the global pandemic.
The money will be used to help vulnerable young people directly impacted by the early economic fallout of the pandemic. Young people will be able to pick up a tailored support package that allows them to access necessities such as supermarket vouchers, data for internet or phone use, and access to online mental and physical health programs.
"Citi has been working with Brotherhood of St. Laurence for six years and we are passionate about supporting young people experiencing disadvantage to find meaningful employment," said Sam Mostyn, Chair of Citi Australia and of the National Youth Employment Body, an initiative of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. The initiative aligns the key sectors of employment, industry, skills and training and all levels of government, to create and strengthen pathways that support young people into meaningful jobs.
"Younger workers are over represented in the sectors that have been immediately impacted by the virus – whether that is hospitality, retail or tourism. This makes them particularly vulnerable, and it is our hope this donation will reduce long-term economic exclusion and equip young people with a better chance to re-enter the workforce when the economy starts to recover," Ms Mostyn said.
Youth unemployment: an area of concern prior to COVID-19According to 'Prosperity's Children', a report released by Brotherhood of St. Laurence in December 2019, one in five young jobseekers in Australia are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for a year or more. The report also found the youth unemployment rate was three times as high as the rate for those aged 25 and over.
"Youth unemployment has been an area of concern for many years, and this health and economic crisis, along with the devastating bushfires impacting many communities has only exacerbated an already alarming situation," said Sally James, head of Youth Programs at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence.
"The experience in past economic downturns shows that the young are always hardest hit, because they are embarking on adult life when there are fewer jobs, while disadvantaged young people fare the worst. We also know that unemployment at this stage of life can have a long-term impact on young people and hurt their future prospects."
"This welcome donation from Citi Foundation will go towards helping young people experiencing disadvantage by providing them with not only material support to access online activities and opportunities but also engaging them in services supporting health and wellbeing."
Preventing the digital divide
The Brotherhood of St. Laurence has seen an approximately 80% increase in requests for help to access the Internet from the young people it supports.
"We want to avoid a 'digital divide', where young people who are already facing disadvantage become further excluded as they cannot participate in the online community where so many activities are now taking place – from education, to social connections, to work," Ms James added.
A global program of support
The donation is part of US $65 million in contributions from Citi and the Citi Foundation globally, including pledging NZ$40,000 to support the Auckland City Mission with COVID-19 relief efforts.
These efforts are helping to deliver immediate relief to frontline workers and populations within communities most impacted. They also are supporting longer-term investments in programs focused on economic recovery and financial stability. Relief is being provided in the form of medical equipment for frontline healthcare workers and meals for low-income families, as well as support and resources for small businesses and individuals, to help communities facing critical challenges.
In addition, Citi is launching a new employee donation campaign called Double the Good. For every $1 donated by a Citi employee in support of COVID-19 relief, Citi will donate $1 to one of four organizations selected by each of Citi's regions to address unique challenges: United Nations Development Programme (Asia Pacific), International Rescue Committee (Europe, Middle East and Africa), the International Organization for Migration (Latin America) and Direct Relief (North America). Citi will be donating up to $500,000 to each organization.
"While the coronavirus outbreak has challenged us all to deepen our commitment to serving our clients, it has also highlighted the importance of supporting our communities and demonstrating our capacity to offer critical aid at times of need," Ms Mostyn said.
"Corporate Australia has done an impressive job in responding to the challenges we have faced this year – from bushfires to this pandemic. I encourage each company to challenge itself to help the community in its time of need."
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
Rachel Maher | 0434 191 290 | Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org
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