“Everybody deserves an equal opportunity to live, learn and flourish — regardless of who they are, where they’re from or how much money they have.”
That’s the mantra of the ever-growing Society&Co, a social business launched by Will Kirsop and Matt Hutton in 2015.
Society&Co Apparel is a 100 percent for-impact social enterprise that is empowering everyday people to contribute to real social and environmental change through fashion apparel, with 100 percent of the profits from the sale of fashion apparel being invested in the Society&Co Impact Fund.
The income generated by the fund each year is used to finance grants for Impact Partners, with the work of those partners falling under four key pillars — education, social justice, health and the environment.
Long Street Coffee — a café in Richmond — falls under the social justice pillar, and that’s where former AFL player Tony Armstrong, and Richmond’s Shane Edwards and Ben Griffiths have spent some time spreading the word.
Long Street Coffee are a social enterprise that train and up-skill refugees and asylum seekers in hospitality, with 80 percent of their trainees going on to get full-time work.
“It’s really humbling to have Shane Edwards as the face of Society&Co,” Kirsop told Aflplayers.com.au.
“Shane is really passionate about what we do, and was able to recruit Ben [Griffiths] as well who is a teammate.
“Tony [Armstrong] has been great securing some media for us through his involvement with the AFLPA. The guys spreading the message through their networks raises awareness about what we’re doing and helping expand our impact.”
For Edwards, who is a member of the AFLPA Indigenous Advisory Board, the fit with Society&Co was seamless.
“I got involved through Trent Cotchin who said that it’d be something I’d really appreciate and like,” Edwards told Aflplayers.com.au.
“It’s something I can really connect with. One of the things I like about it is that it’s for everyone as long as your values line up.”
With influencer engagement pivotal for promotion, former and current AFL players have got on board to help spread the message.
Enter: Ben Griffiths — who got on board after having a chat with his Tigers teammate.
“I feel everyone needs to have an equal opportunity in life to do what they want to do,” Griffiths told Aflplayers.com.au.
“After doing some reading about what Society&Co was about and finding out what their ambition was, it resonated strongly with me.”
With some more promotion and the influx of influencers, the eventual goal is for the impact fund to grow in order to increase the scale of the grants delivered to the impact partners.
For more info, visit the Society&Co website.