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HESTA Impact Awards bares finalists from health, community services

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Big Group Hug, one of the finalists for the HESTA Impact Awards

11 handpicked organisations, individuals, and projects have been announced as finalists for the first-ever HESTA Impact Awards, which recognises health and community services professionals taking positive steps to create a better world.

Finalist achievements covered sustainability, gender equity, health and diversity and inclusion initiatives, including a hospital-wide recycling program, health literacy sessions for culturally and linguistically diverse communities and a free online career support program for women in need.

An independent judging panel will select the winners of the three categories: Team Innovation, Outstanding Organisation and Individual Distinction – who will each take home $10,000 to help them continue their work to create a better and more sustainable future.

The 2021 finalists for the Team Innovation award are The Living Room from Youth Projects Ltd, YMCA Asista Program from Team YMCA Australia, and Bendigo Health Facilities Management from Team Bendigo Health. For the Outstanding Organisation award, the competing projects will be Housing All Australians Ltd from Victoria, The Water Well Project from Victorial, and the Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services from Mirrabooka WA, and the Big Group Hug from Bundoora, Victoria.

Meanwhile, the finalists for Individual Distinction is Jodie Bergsma of Dress for Success, Julia Claire Hales for My Place WA Ltd and Black Swan State Theatre, AJ Williams-Tchen of Girraway Ganyi, and Melissa Browning of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said she was impressed with the calibre of the finalists, who are in the running to share a $30,000 prize pool.

“Our health and community services professionals care about the future of our society, economy and planet and do incredible things every day to make the world a better place,” Ms Blakey said.

“These finalists are improving social and financial outcomes for women, preventing a phenomenal amount of waste from going to landfill and going above and beyond to improve health and wellbeing of people experiencing disadvantage,” she said.

Launched last year, the Hesta Impact Awards were inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global blueprint for making measurable progress to tackle world challenges, including ending hunger, inequality and reducing climate change, by 2030.

Blakey said HESTA has chosen seven of these SDGs to guide the Fund’s decision making and activities and to support the continued delivery of strong and sustainable long-term returns for members.

“HESTA is committed to making the world a better place for our members to live, work and retire into and we are proud to have been the first major Australian super fund to commit to a total portfolio ‘net zero by 2050’ emissions target,” she said.

The Award winners will be announced on Wednesday 24 February 2021.

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