Melbourne, 13 November 2013: Clayton Utz Community Partner Ardoch Youth Foundation ("Ardoch")  last night unveiled new research highlighting the positive social and developmental impacts for the students, teachers, schools, businesses and volunteers who participate in Ardoch's long-running Literacy Buddies® Program .
Produced by Australian sustainability and social responsibility consultants, Net Balance, and supported by funding from the Clayton Utz Foundation and GE, the 2013 Social Return on Investment (SROI) Report  on Literacy Buddies® found that the program was "well-managed and engaging", successfully combining educational and personal support for the students who participate, and offering a long-term and flexible volunteering opportunity for businesses and community organisation partners, and their employees.
For every one dollar  that is invested in the Literacy Buddies® Program, it is expected that stakeholders will receive equivalent to $8.32 in social value .
The SROI Report on Literacy Buddies® found that as well as improving the confidence and self-esteem of the primary school student "Little Buddies", the program may help improve the students' emotional wellbeing as a result of the friendship and support they gain through their interaction with their adult "Big Buddies". The report also found that employees who participated as volunteers in the Literacy Buddies® Program through their employers, such as Clayton Utz, felt the experience benefited them both personally and professionally.
Ardoch Youth Foundation CEO Mandy Burns said the SROI Report on Literacy Buddies® provided a valuable framework for supporting Ardoch’s efforts to engage more schools and businesses in the program. "We are grateful for the support of Clayton Utz and GE in enabling us to evaluate the Literacy Buddies® Program and help us articulate the many positive benefits for all stakeholders," she said.
Through regular grants totalling $350,000, the Clayton Utz Foundation has supported Ardoch – a Clayton Utz community partner since 1999 – in delivering its Literacy Buddies® programs in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. To date, around 32,000 letters have been exchanged between Clayton Utz partners and employees, and students in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth, who have participated in the Literacy Buddies® program.
Clayton Utz Foundation board member and Melbourne partner Steve Murray, said the Clayton Utz partners and employees who volunteered as "Big Buddies" enjoyed the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the education and wellbeing of their student "Little Buddies".
"A large focus of our Community Connect program is on young people and education. We are proud to support the Literacy Buddies® Program and the efforts of our community partners such as Ardoch to have a positive impact on children's lives," said Steve.
This year Clayton Utz celebrates 10 years of giving back to the communities in which our people live and work, through the Clayton Utz Foundation and Community Connect. To find out more, click here.
 Ardoch Youth Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that provides education support for disadvantaged children and young people. Ardoch works with schools, early childhood centres, government, agencies, business, community, philanthropists and individuals to support the education of children and young people experiencing disadvantage. Back to article
 Ardoch's Literacy Buddies® is an in-school program in which a class of primary school student "Little Buddies" and their corporate volunteer "Big Buddies" exchange monthly letters, as well as meet face-to-face at least once a year. The program aims to encourage students to read and write, and provide them with meaningful interactions with positive working adult role models. Back to article
 To read the report, visit http://www.ardoch.asn.au/publications/research-and-evaluation. Back to article
 This considers both direct dollar costs to operate the program, and the investment of time from stakeholders such as employees, co-ordinators and teachers. Back to article
 NetBalance used Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to evaluate the Literacy Buddies® Program. SROI is an internationally recognised approach for understanding and measuring the impacts, rather than delivery, of a program, from the perspective of the program's different stakeholders. Once impacts have been identified, a monetary value is used to represent the outcomes experienced by stakeholders. The value of the outcomes can be compared to the investment required to generate the outcomes, providing an indication of how cost effective the program is. Back to article