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How a Save the Children project came to life through a for-profit partnership

Save the Children partnered with a for-profit architecture firm to reap the benefits of pro-bono work

Through a partnership with a for-profit architecture firm, Save the Children leveraged pro-bono work to deliver a cost effective refuge for disadvantaged children.

The project to expand and improve the Mooroopna Kindergarten in Central Victoria was made possible with the help of businesses donating their goods at either reduced or no costs, and Hayball Architects providing their entire services for the project pro-bono.

Save the Children Regional Manager, Andrew Holloway, told Third Sector the process of pro-bono partnering had a positive outcome for all involved, including the children.

“The contribution of Hayball was massive to this project and we would never have been able to complete such a wonderful new kindergarten without their involvement,” Holloway said.

“We are also grateful to the many businesses that have contributed by donating more than $100,000 worth of materials or pro bono services.

“We will without a doubt look to engage in future opportunities with for-profit organisations, ensuring that there are mutual benefits for all parties.”

The $570,000 kinder renovation was funded by Save the Children and the Victorian government, including pro-bono services, to increase the overall floor size of the area to about 50 per cent, boosting the kindergarten’s capacity by 26 places.

With many students coming from low socio-economic families, the kindergarten also serves as a refuge. Staff pick up students in a bus every day, feed them meals and provide them with packed lunchboxes of food to take home for dinner.

Associate of Hayball, Kerlina Bahari, said the architecture firm was perfectly positioned to assist in creating the new spaces, given their expertise in the sector.

“Hayball places a high value on pro-bono work and other non-fee-paying work as part of the big picture of our practice,” Bahari said.

“When we received the brief from Save the Children, we knew that our expertise in the education sector would allow us to upgrade the kindergarten to give these children the opportunity to thrive in beautiful classrooms.”

The collaboration started three years ago with the updating of the design. Hayball then acted as project manager to source building quotes and work with suppliers to provide items for free or at cost price to meet the strict budget.

“It’s important to ensure you have a good fit between the work and the organisation,” Bahari said. “In the case of Mooroopna Kindergarten, many of the local children are faced with disruptive home environments and they need safe and quiet spaces.”

Holloway mirrored this, adding he would highly recommend thorough planning of for-profit partnership projects to gain an understanding of the desired outcomes.

“Do your research and ensure that the for-profit organisation you’re pitching to are well suited to deliver the outcomes, this will save time in targeting the right people for the job, and not waste your potential partner’s time with an inappropriate brief.

“Lastly, place emphasis on mutual benefits and demonstrate how their involvement will contribute to their own pro-bono goals, as well as the wider community.”

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