Eleven finalists have been announced for the first-ever HESTA Impact Awards, recognising health and community services professionals taking positive steps to create a better world.

Finalist achievements covered sustainability, gender equity, health and diversity, and inclusion initiatives, including a hospital-wide recycling program, health literacy sessions for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and a free online career support program for women in need.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said she was impressed with the calibre of the finalists, who are in the running to share a $30,000 prize pool. “Our health and community services professionals care about the future of our society, economy, and planet and do incredible things every day to make the world a better place,” Ms Blakey said. “These finalists are improving social and financial outcomes for women, preventing a phenomenal amount of waste from going to landfill and going above and beyond to improve health and wellbeing of people experiencing disadvantage. HESTA is so proud to help share and celebrate their life-changing stories and achievements. They are true heroes.”

An independent judging panel will select the winners of the three categories – Team Innovation, Outstanding Organisation, and Individual Distinction – who will each take home $10,000 to help them continue their work to create a better and more sustainable future. Launched last year, the Awards were inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global blueprint for making measurable progress to tackle world challenges, including ending hunger, inequality, and reducing climate change, by 2030.

Ms Blakey said HESTA has chosen seven of these SDGs to guide the Fund’s decision making and activities and to support the continued delivery of strong and sustainable long-term returns for members. The finalists for Team Innovation are The Living Room, YWCA Asista Program Team, and the Bendigo Health Facilities Management Team. The finalists for the Outstanding Organisation award are Housing All Australians Ltd, The Water Well Project, Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services, and Big Group Hug. The finalists for the Individual Distinction category are Jodie Bergsma, Julia Claire Hales, AJ Williams-Tchen, and Melissa Browning.

The Award winners will be announced on Wednesday 24 February 2021 via a live, public broadcast on awards.hesta.tv

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