Top Law Firm Supporting Aussie Students

From the judges: “Good partnership elements, with a solid level of participation.”

As Australia’s largest national education-oriented charity, The Smith Family supports disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

Recognised as one of the world’s most innovative law firms, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) delivers substantial support to charity through the ‘KWM in the Community’ program. This includes Workplace Giving, which 49% of staff currently contribute to.

KWM began payroll donations to The Smith Family in 2002, and from there the relationship has evolved substantially. It now includes a wide range of initiatives that not only provide valuable funds and support to the charity, but enable KWM’s workforce to contribute to the communities in which they operate. The partnership includes targeted scholarships for students showing academic excellence and also mentoring programs. The Smith Family believe the strong foundation of the Workplace Giving program contributes to the success of the other elements that have been built upon it.

KWM were the first corporate partner to enable staff to sponsor a child through Workplace Giving. This was launched in 2011, and a quarter of KWM’s staff engaged in Workplace Giving now sponsor a disadvantaged student through The Smith Family. Each year KWM brings out a refreshed campaign for “Support an Aussie student” designed to help on-board new employees with WPG and sponsoring students. There are now 65 students sponsored by the KWM team, with the firm matching staff donations dollar-for-dollar. Additionally, KWM provides substantial pro-bono legal support to the charity, delivering cost savings that enable it to support even more disadvantaged students throughout Australia.

The longevity of the relationship stems from the commitment of both organisations. The approach is collaborative and reflective, with time taken to evaluate which strategies have resonated best with the KWM workforce. Considerable effort is invested in making sure KWM staff are informed of the difference they are making in the lives of the children they support.
Since the partnership began, it has enjoyed year-on-year growth in the amount donated. Success is also measured through funds raised, new employees joining the program and attendance at events held by The Smith Family throughout the year.