It is a timely reminder during Refugee week, from Sunday 18 June to Saturday 24 June 2017, which celebrates the contributions by refugees to Australian society, is that Australians of all status add to our society and give back to our communities in many ways.

Be it the recent announcement of the largest private donation in Australian history by philanthropists Andrew and Nicola Forrest, who donated $400 million of their personal fortune to charity, or immeasurable donation of time that volunteers give, there is notable momentum in philanthropy.

According to the Giving Australia 2016 report, corporate Australians donated over $17 billion during 2015 to 2016 and the report highlights that these donations come in all sizes. The immense donations from the like of Mr & Mrs Forrest and Graham and Louise Tuckwell, who have pledged more than $200 million to the Australian National University, is a rarity and not the norm.

In fact the report highlights that over 75% of all SMEs donate each year and increasingly donations from individuals and small business is increasing each year as a result of our desire to give back to the community and by the presence of new innovative organisations championing the benefits of philanthropy.

One such organisation is Pledge 1%, a global movement that is creating a new normal for companies of all sizes and stages to give back.  Founded by Salesforce, Atlassian and Rally, the Pledge 1% movement encourages and empowers businesses to donate 1% of their product, profit, equity, and/or time to the charity of their choice.  Already over 2,000 companies in 50 countries have publicly taken the pledge and committed to use their resources to have a meaningful impact in their communities.

One company is Wollongong Accommodation provider, Emerald and Aqua who specialises in the marketing and management of holiday homes in the Illawarra and have been members of Pledge 1% for over a year.

Greg Channer, Managing Director of Emerald & Aqua said, “we direct our pledge to assist refugees in our local community via Green Connect as we recognise that there are many members of our community that do not have a home, or they are making a new home in the Illawarra and while our business creates memorable experiences for those in a position to enjoy a holiday home we aim to give back to those re-settling their lives in Australia establishing a home.”

In addition to Mr Forrest, the chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, and his wife, whose donation has made the national Media, there are many organisations like Atlassian, the Australian software technology company, who consistently support many not-for-profits. When Atlassian was still very small, Atlassian’s founders, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar pledged 1% of the equity, profit, time and product of the company for the benefit of the wider community. Following Atlassian’s success, that pledge has turned into a huge level of support for not-for-profits the world over.

One not-for-profit Atlassian works with is Settlement Services International (SSI), a leading community-based not-for-profit organisation for people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Atlassian’s support has taken two forms – leveraging their supply-chain to purchase products and services from SSI and by providing skilled-volunteering assistance in a number of technology related projects.

Corporate Philanthropy does not need to be hundreds of millions of dollars. It can be small, it can be time and it can be as simple as 1%.