Alexandra Tselios

About Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading digital content platform in both Australia and the USA. As a social and technology commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio and appears on ABC's The Drum and ABC News24. Alexandra is also a Director of NFP think tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel; and sits on the board of Estate-Planning FinTech start-up NowSorted.

Smoke Signal: Corporate philanthropy, charities and cynics

On Monday we had Jewish House CEO Rabbi Mendel Kastel write a piece for TBS on the potential scary reality we all could face in terms of homelessness.

Yesterday, Jewish House launched Project 2500 – a wonderful initiative aimed at ending the cycle of homelessness. As someone who at times may have gotten a tad grumpy with some do-gooders I am grateful to see proactive work that has tangible and inspiring results.

On Sunday after reading an article on homelessness in the SMH, Rabbi Kastel hit the pavement and located Shane and Teresa sleeping outside Central station. He  has now placed them in crisis accommodation and will work alongside them to get their lives back on track. This is just one couple who are being directly impacted by such an initiative.

There is still an archaic mindset amongst many of us that our city’s homeless are “choosing” this lifestyle (Hi Tony!) or that they are all addicts. Looking at a couple like Shane and Teresa, you can see that it is not always a predictable path, and while I believe the onus is on us as individuals to better our lives and take ownership of our circumstances, it is not always that black and white.

Probono Australia released a report yesterday claiming that there are 105,000 homeless men, women and children on any given night in Sydney – a 23% jump since 2006. So Jewish House and PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) got together to take a look at the reality of this problem.

There will always be doubt around acts of altruism undertaken by any corporation seeking a platform to do good – the cynic in many of us will question motives. Corporate responsibility has increasingly become more prominent and yielded both good, and not-so-good, results at times when collaborating with worthy NFP’s and charities. Personally, I don’t care about motives – I care about results. I couldn’t care less if someone is involved in a charitable initiative for the sole purpose of raising their own philanthropic profile, an accusation many corporations have levelled at them.

Who cares??

I would much rather see that than see a barrage of anti-corporate memes on Facebook and yet no one actually bothering to help anyone themselves because life is busy (Masterchef/BBQ/Football/I need a nap/I hate Abbott).  Oh, they probably signed up for “March in March” which would have come up in everyone’s news feed, that’s nice. Personal biases simply mean less to me than one’s activity.

If the Government is incapable of having a real impact on  society’s down-trodden, then independents, corporates and associations should be applauded for banding together to try and tackle the problem.

I will say the same thing I say to the people I work with – I don’t care how it’s done or why it’s done as long as it is done and there are measurable results.

Share via