20 January 2022

New funding program gives community groups a helping hand

| James Coleman
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Geocon crew at site of Grand Central Towers in Woden

The Geocon crew at the site of Grand Central Towers in Woden. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Most people’s interaction with Geocon might stop with looking up at the nearest skyscraper and thinking, “That’s impressive”. But one of Canberra’s largest building firms is rolling out a new community engagement program designed to develop deeper connections with locals.

Geocon is making it easier for community groups and charities to apply for sponsorship thanks to a new dedicated program.

Geocon corporate affairs manager Elliot Woods says the program aims to support new communities living in Geocon developments, while also supporting people who were there on the sites long before the buildings were erected.

“During the first half of 2021, we had a really good look at some community groups we thought we could help,” he says. “We know how much they rely on third-parties.”

Geocon currently supports more than 10 local charities and sporting organisations, including Menslink, the University of Canberra Capitals, and Heart Support Australia.

Elliot says the company has always strived to include the local community into its work, but this sponsorship initiative is Geocon’s first dedicated program, one that aims to make the whole process of applying for funding easier.

Geocon's High Society twin towers in Belconnen

Geocon’s High Society twin towers in Belconnen, where the Geocon Stair Chase Challenge was held in April 2021. Photo: Geocon.

Community groups that meet the eligibility criteria and align with Geocon’s values can now apply to become part of the community engagement program by simply visiting the Geocon website and completing an online form.

Geocon has been involved with men’s mental health organisation Menslink for around 10 years, with two stand-out collaborations during the past year.

The Geocon Stair Chase Challenge saw people scale the flights of stairs at one of the company’s High Society towers in Belconnen. The High Society twin towers are two tallest skyscrapers in Canberra that were completed by Geocon in November 2020.

The stair challenge raised around $15,000.

A similarly breathtaking event, the Menslink Great Walk, was held in November 2021. Many business leaders took on the 140km of the ACT’s Centenary Trail, with Geocon CEO Nick Georgalis among them.

Nick also participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, which saw CEOs across Canberra braving the elements and spending a night on the streets to raise money for the ACT’s homeless. All up, this raised more than $100,000 for Menslink.

Menslink Great Walk participants at Parliament House

Menslink Great Walk participants at Parliament House, at the end of their 140km charity trek. Photo: Todd Wright.

“We’re very proud of our relationship with Menslink, spending a significant amount of money with them each year,” says Elliot.

“Life is tough if you’re running a charity or any sort of not-for-profit. Government funding is hard to come by and it’s not a huge amount, especially during the past year.

“For us to be able to help out, even in a small way, has been hugely rewarding.”

Just this past year, Geocon has also kicked off a relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“We participated in their ‘Meet the Makers’ dinner by cooking in their kitchen for families with sick kids,” says Elliot. “We’ll also look to do some accommodation sponsorship in the New Year.”

Elliot says the benefits for Geocon is they get to graft themselves into each community organisation, “living and breathing our own values through these partnerships”.

“The other part of it is people are able to see we’re not just committed to putting up buildings, we’re also committed to building communities, especially those communities where we are building,” he says.

Visit Geocon for more information on sponsorship.

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Great idea, a property development company buying community groups of interest, and controlling them through funding purse strings, how wonderful!

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