What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working for Raise Foundation has enabled me to bring my business insight to a cause that inspires me – the youth of Australia. I am proud to be the Partner Relationship Manager, working with corporate partners, to help make a difference to our young people through evidence-based mentoring. Being in partnerships, I always get a kick when someone I’m speaking with chooses Raise as their charity partner, as I know that ultimately the relationship will enable more young people around our country to get the often life-saving gift of a mentor. I also enjoy mentoring young people myself as a Raise volunteer, and have been doing so for eight years! Young people have taught me so much about their generation, their personal world, and ultimately about myself. Through my mentees, I have learned how to truly listen.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The recruitment of mentors from within our corporate partners is the most challenging. It is a big ask for an employee to give two hours a week of their time for six months to mentor in our programs in their local high school. However, we do inevitably have hundreds of corporate partner employees volunteering as Raise mentors with us each year, because they find it so worthwhile. Once they sign up to the experience, complete our industry leading training and meet their mentee, they come to understand the difference their time can make.
Can you provide an update on your mentoring program which is funded by Future Generation?
Since inception in 2008, we have trained 4,850 mentors who have volunteered with 6,351 vulnerable young people across five states in Australia. For the past three years, we have held strong at around 1,000 mentoring matches per annum whilst preparing for scale through our Strategic Impact Plan to offer our program in every public secondary school in the country. Our growth was set to jump 32% in 2020 with 1,321 mentors ready to volunteer before the coronavirus hit. While we complete robust risk management at Raise, we didn’t ever plan for all schools across the country to close because of a global pandemic. However, we pushed through and adapted our program for online delivery throughout 2020, and we were proud to mentor 930 young people by the end of the year, no matter the challenges we faced. Now, in early 2021, we stand with strength and courage, ready to fire our strategy up again to mentor 2,300 young people across six states, which will be 147% growth. We are currently working very hard, recruiting and training the 2,300 volunteer mentors required before the end of March.
What are some of the key initiatives Raise Foundation has planned for 2021?
We are always looking at innovative ways to sustainably fund our youth mentoring programs without relying on asking for funding, so we are excited to share our new social enterprise initiative – the Elevate C-Suite Mentoring Program. We have exclusive partnerships with some of the very best minds in corporate Australia (industry titans, corporate trailblazers and pre-eminent business leaders), who are generously willing to give up their time and share their experience in a personal, one-to-one mentoring relationship with new and emerging leaders in corporate Australia – in return for a donation being made to Raise in lieu of personal payment. Elevate connects emerging C-suite executives with experienced C-suite executives and Board Directors, all for a good cause. Future Generation and Wilson Asset Management have had strong involvement with Elevate, for which we are sincerely grateful.
What does it mean to have the support of Future Generation?
The support of Future Generation is unique and encouraging. The longevity and magnitude of this kind of support goes a long way in an organisation like Raise. It means that we can plan for our future and focus wholeheartedly on making a truly significant impact through early intervention and prevention strategies for vulnerable young people in schools through best practice mentoring. We are regularly encouraged by Future Generation to think bigger, be braver and act smarter with the funding support, and it inspires us to utilise the contribution in ways that few other partners do. We know we are very lucky to be part of the Future Generation family.
About Raise Foundation
Raise Foundation’s vision is to create thriving communities where young people experience a confiding and trusted relationship with an adult who is skilled to support them. Raise provides best practice mentoring in secondary schools across Australia. This includes industry-leading mentor training to volunteers who connect with young people facing a wide range of adversities.
Raise Foundation and Future Generation
Future Generation Australia has supported the expansion of Raise’s core work delivering best practice mentoring in high schools. Raise mentoring empowers young people to be resilient, capable and connected, and upskills the adults in their lives to support them. Raise’s goal is to deliver mentoring to every public secondary school in Australia by 2025.