While the hurdles presented in 2020 tested the nation’s not-for-profit and charitable sector, leading Indigenous financial literacy organisation, First Nations Foundation, has displayed incredible resilience and innovation to achieve remarkable growth and deliver support to thousands of vulnerable individuals as it enters its 15th year in operation.
Triumphant in the face of last year’s adversity, the foundation has continued to work relentlessly, bridging the financial literacy gap between Indigenous Australians and the wider population with its flagship, digital financial literacy program My Money Dream seeing a whopping 179 per cent increase in participants in 2020.
First Nations Foundation CEO and Wiradjuri man, Phil Usher, said he was overwhelmed by the response to the new platforms, each supporting far more people than the team originally anticipated.
“2020 was a tumultuous time, so we were conservative in our predictions in terms of the user uptake, however, the participation was fantastic. Since launching mid-last year, with the support of 12 generous superannuation fund partners, our superannuation education platform, IndigenousSuper.com.au, has received an astounding 3,082 unique users who have participated in the program.
“TomorrowMoney.co, which we launched late last year in partnership with Indigenous Business Australia and Australian Unity, has already received 1,373 unique users in its infancy.
“We have also been thrilled to see the huge increase in demand for our My Money Dream resource, which will continue to feature as a key agenda item for us in 2021. This reach has allowed us to secure funding for a new pilot program to back community support workers and mentors across Australia as they work to roll out financial literacy training in the first half of this year.”
Attributing its success to flexibility and the ability to adapt, Phil praised the First Nations Foundation team for their ongoing eagerness to explore virtual alternatives, as well as the support of partners who greatly assisted in rolling out a digital approach that has resonated with the younger generation.
“This generation of young Indigenous Australians are the ‘Genesis Generation’, where for the first time, via technology, they can learn and grow financially at the same rate as non-Indigenous Australians.
“For this reason, it has been extremely important that we create a format of culturally-relevant, digestible money education that is accessible and free. Our research has shown us that more often than not, when one person in a community embraces and adapts to a new resource, this is shared with friends and family members garnering a positive flow-on effect,” said Phil.
Remaining on the agenda in 2021, First Nations Foundation plans to continue building on the success of the 2020 launch of its Indigenous Women’s Financial Wellness Project, a financial wellness education initiative and resources hub that is being rolled out to 700 Indigenous women nationwide.
Also scheduled this year is the rollout of a strategy which will be established following the second meeting of its Superannuation Outreach Working Group, who first met during NAIDOC week in 2020.
Centred around four strategic areas – education, community, partnership and leadership – First Nations Foundation was formed in 2006 by the First Nations Credit Union and has taught financial literacy skills to Indigenous Australians for 15 years.
For more information on the services and successes of the First Nations Foundation, please visit firstnationsfoundation.org.au.
0451 959 909