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Optus grants 32 wishes to Australian communities

Optus today announced the 32 recipients of its 'yes' Optus Community Grants program to help local community organisations build social inclusion and reconnect disengaged youth. Each recipient receives up to $5,000 to help fund their program, with Optus awarding a total of $150,000 in funding.

Of the 32 successful applicants eight are from New South Wales, 11 from Victoria, four from Queensland and three from Western Australia. For the first time this year the Northern Territory received two grant recipients, along with one recipient in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.

Jann Kohlman, Group Manager of Optus Sponsorship and Community Programs said, "This year Optus received an overwhelming response, with double the amount of entries to last year. There was a consistent theme of using technology to empower and connect people in the submissions which were of a very high standard.

"This year's grant recipients cover a broad range of programs, from providing free computers, internet access and software for at risk youth to building an online portal for indigenous university students across the country. The quality and breadth of this year's applications demonstrate a real need to support change and we are proud we can assist communities in removing barriers to achieve social outcomes," Ms Kohlman said.

Since 2008, Optus has awarded over $550,000 in small grants to 108 charities and community organisations across Australia.

Spotlight on recipient - CareerTrackers:
Among the successful grant recipients is CareerTrackers, a national non-profit organisation based in New South Wales that works with indigenous university students to create career pathways through internship programs. Optus' contribution of $4768 will help fund CareerTrackers online student portal, allowing indigenous students across the country to connect, share and grow professionally.

Michael Combs, Founder and CEO of CareerTrackers said, "This opportunity will allow CareerTrackers to better connect indigenous university students to create a nationwide network of indigenous pre-professionals. CareerTrackers seeks to build Australia’s first generation of indigenous executives and the next generation of leaders. Thanks to Optus we can use technology to better connect our community."

The organisations awarded funding this year are:

ACT: Technical Aid to the Disabled Incorporated.

New South Wales: Australian Children's Music Foundation, CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program, Giant Steps, Louise House St Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army, SydWest Aged Care Disability and Refugee Support, St George Community Housing Ltd and YMCA of Sydney Youth & Community Services Inc.

Northern Territory: African Community Council of the NT Inc and Yipirinya School Inc.

Queensland: Boys Town, Community Services Tablelands Inc, Maryborough Special School and National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect.

South Australia: West Coast Youth and Community Support Incorporated.

Tasmania: Tasmanian Regional Arts Inc.

Victoria: Aboriginal Literacy Foundation Inc, Berry Street Victoria Inc, Cobaw Community Health Ltd, Community Connections (Vic) Ltd, Croxton Special School, Housing Resource and Support Services Inc, KIDS Foundation, La Trobe Lifeskills Recreation & Work, Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation Ltd, The Youth Junction Incorporated and Uniting Aged Care Victoria & Tasmania.

Western Australia: Armadale Community Council of NT, Gosnells & Districts Youth Resources Inc, Vision Equity Life Centres as trustee for Friends of Autism and Volunteering WA.

About Optus in the Community: For more information on the 'yes' Optus Community Grants program and this year's recipients please visit www.optus.com.au/community. In addition, Optus is running the Regional Community Grants program to support regional communities across Australia. For more information, visit regionalgrants.optus.com.au.

Media contact:
Belinda Turner
Optus Corporate Affairs
Optus Media Hotline: (02) 8082 7850