Social impact


Here at MinterEllison, our impact in the community sits at the heart of who we are. We work alongside community organisations and partner with our clients to provide transformative outcomes for individuals, our community partners and social enterprises.

Throughout FY19, our Community Investment Program supported more than 100 organisations, breaking cycles of disadvantage in the community through partnership and collaboration.

We worked to improve access to justice and support Homeless Persons Legal Services with organisations such as  Justice Connect, StreetLaw ACT, Law Access WA and LawRight.

We were proud to make a meaningful difference to the lives of thousands of students across Australia, and our longstanding collaboration with Australia's CEO Challenge is just one of the ways we worked to support those impacted by domestic and family violence.

And we promoted economic participation through our Social Procurement Policy, with goods and services sourced from social enterprises including The Bread and Butter Project, Yaru Water and Orana Commercial Relocations.

Partnering to deliver transformative impact for social enterprise

FY19 saw us deliver significant impact to social enterprises through our strong client partnerships. Our collaborations with The Westpac Foundation, Optus FutureMakers and ecosystem supporters like Social Traders and Social Ventures Australia and many others, are transforming the future for the new wave of businesses striving to do well and do good.

Currently, our market-leading social enterprise practice supports more than 40 social enterprises. Learn about three of them here…

New social enterprise incubator supporting disadvantaged Australians 

We provided assistance to new social enterprise incubator White Box Enterprises, whose mission is to create 5,000 jobs for young, disadvantaged Australians by 2030.

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New social enterprise incubator supporting disadvantaged Australians

New social enterprise incubator, White Box Enterprises (creating jobs, changing lives), is itself a social enterprise with a mission to build and establish 15 large scale, employment focused social enterprises to create 5,000 jobs for young, disadvantaged Australians by 2030.

White Box identifies social enterprises with proven models and seeks to help those organisations scale by providing support such as funding, space, networks, business support and project management to help set them up to succeed in new markets. Current projects include:

  • Taking Jigsaw Digitisation to Queensland, a social enterprise that runs a data digitisation service for corporates and governments and provides training and a supported employment pathway for people with disabilities 
  • Mantua Sewing Studio, who employ women from refugee and migrant backgrounds to provide local, ethical and high-quality design and manufacturing services for Australian clothing labels
  • The Good Hotel, who are in the planning process to build a 200 bed floating 3-4 star training hotel in Sydney Harbour with a focus on employing people who face difficulties in entering the workforce
  • Hotel Housekeeping, which has just entered into a pilot arrangement with Accor and who employ young refugees to provide on demand housekeeper services
  • Establishment of a blended capital fund to support growth opportunities

With the support of the Queensland Government and venture philanthropists (including the English Family Foundation, Paul Ramsey Foundation, Westpac Foundation and Bryan Foundation), White Box is creating a social enterprise precinct in Mt Gravatt in a disused TAFE and the Queensland Government is set to fund a $2 million fitout. MinterEllison provided pro bono support by helping with the establishment of the new entity, as well as assisting with leasing and funding arrangements and assistance to each of the social enterprises.

Muru Mittigar's impact on the community 

We have been supporting Muru Mittigar to help them in their work of promoting local Indigenous culture, providing training, employment and financial support for the local Indigenous community and caring for country program.

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Muru Mittigar's impact on the community

Muru Mittigar, a leading Indigenous Social Enterprise, creates meaningful jobs for Aboriginal people in Western Sydney in natural resource management, contracting, tourism and cultural awareness services. They partner with organisations including the Department of Education and Lendlease.

Meaning 'Pathway to Friends' in the Darug language, Muru Mittigar's work includes promoting local Indigenous culture through their Cultural Centre and activities, providing training, employment and financial support for the local Indigenous community and a caring for country program, including Indigenous rangers running land remediation programs on Lendlease community developments.

MinterEllison has been providing pro bono support and working closely with Muru Mittigar for two years, alongside the team from the Westpac Foundation and Westpac. Our work has spanned a diverse range of legal and non-legal services, including advising on employment law, business structure, contract administration strategy, governance, financial advice, property and leasing and providing design support.

Muru Mittigar has been supporting the community since 1998, providing training and job opportunities to over 1,100 Indigenous Australians, and with 80%+ proportion of Aboriginal staff throughout the organisation.

"Our vision is about creating employment for Aboriginal people, making their lives better by upskilling and training them, and supporting the community and our culture in many other ways. We're very grateful for the support we've had from the team at MinterEllison – we wouldn't be here without them," said Muru Mittigar Chairperson and Darug woman, Ros Fogg.

Butterfly Foundation's new joint venture 

We are providing whole of firm pro bono support to the Butterfly Foundation in helping them build Australia’s first national residential eating disorder treatment facility.


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Butterfly Foundation's new joint venture

The Butterfly Foundation is building Australia’s first national residential eating disorder treatment facility in a joint venture with Queensland based charity, endED. The facility will be located in the Mooloolah Valley on the Sunshine Coast.

When completed in 2020, the endED Butterfly House will be at the forefront of new treatment methods and innovation. It will make a significant contribution to improving treatment options for Australians with potentially fatal eating disorders.

MinterEllison is providing whole of firm pro bono support, including corporate, finance, tax and charity, property and construction, intellectual property and employment expertise.

Work includes helping with documenting the grant and commercial funding and acquisition of the Mooloolah Valley site on the Sunshine Coast, establishment and registration of the joint venture charity with ACNC and the ATO, governance processes, design and construction contracts and leasing and operating arrangements.

“In Australia alone, more than one million people are estimated to be living with an eating disorder," said Kevin Barrow, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation. "We want to create a best practice model to support those Australians to get optimum care. MinterEllison has been key to help us on this journey. The firm's pro-bono support will help us turn endED Butterfly House into a centre that will make positive impact for Australians experiencing or caring for someone with an eating disorder and we cannot thank them enough for their continued commitment and support."

Providing educational opportunities with ABCN

As a firm, we're deeply committed to providing educational opportunities to help students reach their full potential. Our longstanding partnership with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) prepares school students for the future of work, regardless of their background or financial circumstance.

In FY19, mentors from across MinterEllison worked with:

  • Primary school students to improve their reading skills and build confidence in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne
  • Young women in Years 10 and 11 to develop leadership skills and broaden awareness of post-school career pathways at high schools in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth
  • Year 9-10 students to learn future thinking and creative problem-solving skills based on design thinking principles in Brisbane and Perth
  • Year 9 students to encourage completion of high school and further study in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Year 10 students to develop interview skills in Perth, as well as mentoring recently arrived migrant and refugee students


Our people's impact

Throughout the year, our people and teams put their skills to the test to make an impact for causes close to their hearts.


Anton Hermann's transformational legacy

This year we said goodbye to one of the guiding stewards of MinterEllison's Community Investment Program, Anton Hermann, after a tragic cycling accident in Queensland.


Over decades, Anton made a transformational contribution to our firm and the community at large. He devoted his professional life to supporting disadvantaged and marginalised individuals, and his legal capability - together with his strong sense of purpose - made him a leader in the community sector. A key driving force behind the firm's Reconciliation Action Plan, student mentoring, matched giving programs and overarching Community Investment Program – he left our world a better place.

He leaves a legacy of a firm passionately committed to breaking the cycle of disadvantage, and peers and colleagues committed to continuing his collaborative spirit and great compassion and respect for the individuals and communities their work supports.

Social impact by the numbers