Digital technology has an enormous capacity to deliver social change and community connection – something we get to see more of every day as charities and non-profit organisations embrace ‘tech for good’.

Today, this idea received a $2.4 million boost with the announcement of five new Telstra Foundation community partnerships. While our partners individually tackle different issues, collectively they share a commitment to leverage digital technology to drive social outcomes. This is at the heart of everything we do at the Telstra Foundation. We call it Everyone Connected.

From an online game designed to teach young people how they can improve their mental health and wellbeing to a laboratory for innovators and supporting clinicians to develop life changing solutions for people living with a disability, the Telstra Foundation collaborates with community partners to unlock their digital potential to support what they do best – transform lives.

Our grants to, PROJECT ROCKIT, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Code Club Australia and the Independent Living Centre NSW will provide program support for mental health and disability and enable programs that address cyber bullying and a digital skills shortage.

The latest round of grants brings the Telstra Foundation’s total current investment to $18 million, including our two flagship partnerships with The Alannah & Madeline Foundation to deliver eSmart Libraries and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to deliver Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX).

The programs we support through our Social Innovation Fund, including the five announced today, are brilliant proof-points for what is possible when you use digital technology to solve a challenge for some of the most socially excluded groups in Australia.

The work of the Telstra Foundation is one of many ways Telstra delivers on its vision to create a brilliant connected future for everyone. We think all Australians should enjoy the social and economic benefits of being connected – regardless of age, income, location or ability. That’s why we’ve been supporting ‘tech for good’ projects for over a decade.

To find out more about the Telstra Foundation and the programs we support, visit the Telstra Foundation website.

The Telstra Foundation is partnering with: to further develop ReachOut Central – an award winning interactive and immersive online game designed to improve mental health and well being in young people – to make this already proven mental health prevention and early intervention solution available to high schools students nationally.

PROJECT ROCKIT: to launch their digital classroom, an online curriculum that provides young people with credible , high impact and ‘cool’ anti-bullying education. PROJECT ROCKIT – a youth driven anti-bullying and leadership organisation – has already reached more than 100,000 students through face-to-face workshops and now they are ready to launch their digital classroom to build program scale across Australia.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance: to deliver Life Labs, an accessible and inclusive maker space and accelerator where the brightest minds can turn digital technology into life changing solutions and products for people with a disability. Over three years, the Life Labs project will prototype 30 tech projects and engage 300 people in the design process. Importantly people with disability are front and centre of the project, participating from idea iteration right through to development and testing of the prototype.

Code Club Australia: to help achieve the organisation’s mission to give every child in Australia the chance to learn code through an accelerated “train the trainer” program targeting 500 teachers and prioritising schools in low socio-economic areas. While teaching kids to code now may help solve a future skills shortage, coding also builds kids problem-solving abilities, digital confidence and helps kids understand the world around them.

Independent Living Centre NSW: to explore how new mobile and tablet technologies can be used to improve the lives of people with complex communications needs through hands on workshops across Australia. Following the success of a pilot project in NSW (also supported by the Telstra Foundation), the program will see young people aged 12-25 and adults with complex communications needs attend workshops delivered by occupational therapists and speech pathologists to learn and trial a range of technologies including tablets, smart phones, software and apps – many for the first time.