There’s no doubt community sport needs a lift as both Victoria and NSW emerge from long COVID lockdowns.
Grassroots sports have suffered severely disrupted seasons but non-bank alternative lender Pepper Money and popular AFL side St Kilda Football Club want to help out.
Pepper Money has had an ongoing partnership with the St Kilda club since 2015 and to celebrate the renewal of a new two-year partnership, the organisations have launched a $30,000 community grant program – the Real Life Fund.
The fund is focused on three key community streams: Footy for All, Inclusion & Diversity, and Mental Health. Clubs and groups will be able to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to carry out programs or projects throughout the 2022 calendar year.
“We’re thrilled to have Pepper Money renew its co-principal partnership with us for another two years and we couldn’t think of a better way to mark the occasion than to launch this community fund,” St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis said.
“We know that there are many local community groups who have been impacted by the pandemic, particularly from a financial and wellbeing perspective, so to come together with Pepper Money to help empower these groups to get back to what they do best is really exciting.”
Finnis said last season Pepper Money stepped up its support of St Kilda’s community programs and together they were able to support a host of inspiring people and organisations to thrive in challenging times.
“Wherever we go in the community, Pepper Money is right there with us; highlighted through their consistent support of our community initiatives including Maddie’s Match, Spud’s Game, our Indigenous education program Point and Be Proud, our blind and wheelchair teams and our female coaching program.”
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St Kilda Wheelchair Football captain Ryan Smith (pictured) said Pepper Money’s contribution to the team has been fantastic.
“Pepper Money values my team just as much as any other part of the club. Their support has been incredible and we look forward to working with them for many years to come,” Smith said.
Pepper Money CEO Mario Rehayem said there is a strong synergy between the St Kilda partnership and Pepper’s mission.
“As a business built on the pursuit of helping people succeed, we see people for who they are, not for what their situation is. Our goal is to help make dreams real – and our Real Life Fund is an important extension and demonstration of the Pepper Money mission,” Rehayem said.
Pepper Money head of marketing Sarah Pikardt said the lender’s highly valued relationship with St Kilda Football Club helped reinforce Pepper Money’s “real life” message – “the highs, lows, and unexpected moments of sport and everyday life”.
“We want people to see that a moment in time doesn’t define you, and you can go on to achieve inspiring things,” Pikardt said.
Pepper Money will remain on the famous red, white, and black guernsey of St Kilda, moving to the front of the away guernsey and the upper back of the Saints’ home strip for 2022.
Applications for the Real Life Fund are now open and can be made until 31 December 2021. Visit saints.com.au/reallifefund to apply or for more information.