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Fostering hope through CSR partnerships

When Ian McPherson and the team at Enterprise Recruitment & People tell someone to get “on yer bike”, they are not using the old idiom asking them to go away, they are instead, quite literally giving people bikes.

Enterprise Recruitment & People were named the 2018 winners of RCSA’s Corporate Social Enterprise Award (NZ) for their work with Foster Hope, an organisation dedicated to “bringing hope to those in care”.

Foster Hope provides children in foster care with a backpack containing all the essentials they need short-term including toiletries, a pair of pyjamas, some regular clothing, underwear, presents and a teddy bear for comfort.

McPherson, the COO at Enterprise, said since joining the company in 2000 they had donated money to a number of charities as part of their CSR policy but had “never landed on one that we truly felt aligned with the essence of Enterprise and our brand values”.

In 2016 that changed when Enterprise was introduced to Foster Hope, which shared the same mission statement: to improve lives.

The partnership between Enterprise and Foster Hope started with Enterprise donating money to the charity, making its offices drop off points for those wanting to donate to the charity and supporting Foster Hope’s recruitment processes.

So what does any of this have to do with bikes?

McPherson said while they continue to donate money to Foster Hope and accept donations, they expanded their work to supply 100 bikes for children in foster care in 2018.

“In conversation with Foster Hope in 2017, we wanted to find a way to do something little bit different to help, but was still meaningful to the families and kids,” McPherson explained.

“Riding a bike improves physical fitness, benefits children’s learning development and mental health and allows them to enjoy some independence.

“Cycling is an activity many people take for granted. However, for children in foster care having their own bike to ride, something which is theirs and they own is a luxury many don’t enjoy.

“The 100 bike initiative also helped our staff develop a strategy to source and remediate bikes that are suitable for kids. Enterprise financially supports the initiative by providing time for staff to source and collect bikes and supplying new helmets for the kids.”

McPherson said this approach to CSR meant staff see the fruit of their efforts each time they handed a bike over to Foster Hope.

“The donations make a difference for the kids but we also believe that the time and effort we spend on strategy and sourcing the bikes is part of what makes the real difference,” he added. “It is a very tangible way for our staff to get involved.”

Enterprise Recruitment donates money to Foster Hope, accepts donations for the organisation at its office and supports their recruitment process.

The success of the 100 bike initiative resulted in Enterprise being approached by non-profit group RAD (“recycle a dunger”) Bikes to see how they can get involved.

RAD Bikes is a workshop where anyone can build or repair a bike for themselves or donation and is often given donations of bikes which are, or can be made, suitable for donation to children in foster care.

“This new partnership means we will now be able to donate a lot more bikes to many more children in foster care,” McPherson said. “And that is rewarding on so many levels.

“It just goes to show the power of positive partnerships between business and charities. We align with Foster Hope because we share the same purpose - to improve lives.

“This has since seen us partner with another charity to all work together to improve the lives of children in foster care. It is powerful and meaningful and we are very proud of our work with Foster Hope.”

Enterprise was awarded the 2018 RCSA CSR Award (NZ). To lodge a nomination for your CSR initiative in the 2019 RCSA Awards click here.

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