The Wise Foundation is the charitable foundation of the Wise Family.
The foundation creates economic solutions to social problems, believing that business people applying business principles to these problems can provide powerful solutions.
Since 1983 the Wise family has initiated, developed and operated many social projects with the purpose of strengthening communities.
Inspired by Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop (which the Wise family brought to Australia in 1983 and sold to The Body Shop International in 2015) we have strived to apply the principles we hold to all the activities we undertake and businesses we operate.
We believe that business is about more than economic success. A great business should also balance the needs of the stakeholders as well as create positive social and environmental change. These three key responsibilities form the business principles by which we operate the Wise Foundation.
Our focus for social projects has been in our immediate environment in Australia and our close neighbours in the South Pacific and East Timor.
Buffed is a social enterprise that launched in Brisbane in 2011.
Buffed brings the classic art of professional shoe shine and leather care to the convenience of inner-city locations and airport hubs. The core business of Buffed revolves around permanent locations, which provide opportunities for refugees, asylum seekers and marginalised Australians to run their own micro business. Buffed services include "in seat", "drop off", "in office" shoe care and services at conferences and events.
Buffed provided micro-business opportunities for more than 30 individuals who have faced barriers to employment.
In September 2018, Buffed progressed into self-sufficiency, passing the Buffed reins to Pure Chica, an event agency and likeminded business that will continue the great achievements of Buffed as a social enterprise and grow the Buffed permanent locations, events and in-office service.
The Wise Foundation sent seven individuals to Samoa to run the training scheme alongside Women In Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI). The scheme provided Samoan youth who wanted to enter the customer service or hospitality industries with the necessary skills to help them secure long-term employment.
In partnership with Women in Business, the Wise Foundation has been able to come in contact with some of the unemployed youth of Samoa who have the drive and enthusiasm to gain employment.
DO IT IN PARIS
In 1995 in conjunction with our New Zealand partners and Greenpeace we mounted a campaign to stop the French nuclear tests in Tahiti. “Do it in Paris” became an international campaign and we sent a youth delegation of 18 young Pacific Island people to address the European parliament. This delegation gained for the first time in its history a unanimous vote (with France abstaining). They continued on to Paris and delivered one million postcards to the French government.
ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
Over the period from 1994, we developed and implemented a week long training programme for young indigenous South Pacific entrepreneurs.
This programme which we ran for 7 years with the support of The United Nations Development program and The Commonwealth Youth programme enabled many entrepreneurs to take advanced business skills back to their communities.
FIRST AUSTRALIAN’S BUSINESS
From these Enterprise Development Workshops we established ‘First Australians Business’ a mentor program for graduates of the workshops and other indigenous entrepreneurs.
Realising that there was a need to support indigenous communities with real business assistance in the year 2000,we established ‘The Indigenous Business Institute’ with indigenous leaders in Australia which became ‘Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships’ and is now called ‘Jawun’. Major companies send executives on secondment to communities to help establish businesses. This initiative is still operating and growing today.
This program was designed to help young women who were trapped outside the mainstream workforce. It assisted them to develop micro business skills, offering training and support but also linked in to house micro finance funding.
Bizness Babes participants attended a series of business workshops which bring the business environment to life. During and after the training workshops participants were supported by business coaches. The supportive and safe environment created by Bizness Babes was the key to its success.
Throughout the course of the program, it enabled the start of over 85 businesses and changed the life of over 200 women and their families.
This retail and online business offered customers the power to effect positive change. We sourced beautiful, on-trend products from around the world. Every purchase positively impacted the environment or someone less fortunate, whether it was through a free pair of shoes or employment opportunities in disadvantaged communities.
G20 INNOVATION HUB
We conceived, developed and ran a week-long event during the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014.
Early participation from the Queensland government and St. George Bank and involving leading corporates which included Unilever, and Virgin it was designed to engage world leaders and corporate delegates during the summit to highlight the ways in which corporate innovation in community engagement can enhance outcomes and create positive change.
FLOOD RECOVERY RELIEF
When floods devastated parts of Queensland and Victoria in 2011, the Wise Foundation mobilised immediately through the Adidem Group of companies, organising a group-wide emergency relief effort. Teams of volunteers visited the worst affected areas in Queensland and Victoria and donation tins were put on all public counters of The Body Shop so customers could join in the response. The Flood Relief Appeal raised $45,000, which the Wise Foundation matched in cash. These specific funds were utilised to provide ongoing counselling and emotional support to those worst affected. Companies in the Adidem Group, through all of these activities, contributed the equivalent of more than $250,000 to flood relief efforts.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTING COMMUNITY
In addition to generating funds that the foundation contributes to many other worthwhile causes, our initiatives inspire and empower members of the public to organise their own awareness and fundraising projects.