Supporting equity in our communities

YWCA WE360°, a Macquarie Racial Equity Fund grant recipient. Image of women participating in the program.
Image credit: YWCA WE360°.

COVID-19’s impact on underrepresented groups

In 2020, amid a global pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, it became clear that the impacts would fall disproportionately on those with less, and on those countries with the greatest disparities in income and access to healthcare and education. Such impacts are entrenching existing inequities. 

Happening in tandem to the pandemic was the rise of one of the largest racial justice movements in a generation. In 2020, the reigniting of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement following the murder of George Floyd saw protests around the world against discrimination and violence felt by underrepresented communities,1 and calls for reform to achieve racial justice.

The Macquarie Group Foundation (the Foundation) plays an important role in how Macquarie lives out its purpose, empowering people to innovate and invest for a better future. The Foundation brings people, resources and expertise together to support community organisations around the world that are driving positive societal change. Through this work, and by collaborating with governments, other corporations and communities, our collective efforts can help overcome large, complex global challenges. As a result of the BLM movement, inequality and racial injustice are even more sharply in focus in the communities where we live and work. Since its inception, the Foundation has helped the organisation take an action-oriented approach in supporting community organisations working to create a fairer, more equitable society. 

Shawn Lytle, Head of Americas – Macquarie Group, and member of CECP states, “At Macquarie, we believe that the work we do and the actions we take in our business and philanthropic endeavours are critical to ensuring we build a better future. The Foundation is a key part of the way we can play a vital role in supporting our efforts to create racial equity and provide opportunities to underrepresented groups so that we can enact change for the long term.”

“Corporates can also support social justice through their business practices, such as procurement and talent pipeline. And furthermore, through philanthropy and employee engagement, institutions can direct their resources, time, skills and specific expertise to address systemic issues in addition to public statements and direct engagement with government and other stakeholders.”

At Macquarie, we believe that the work we do and the actions we take in our business and philanthropic endeavours are critical to ensuring we build a better future."

Shawn Lytle
Head of Americas - Macquarie Group
Member of Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose

Addressing inequities around the world  

The Foundation’s strategic grant portfolio focuses on supporting social and economic opportunities and leverages pro bono expertise of staff to further increase its impact. Because of this, the Foundation was able to act swiftly upon seeing the widespread impact of the pandemic by announcing the COVID-19 donation fund – allocating $A20 million above its usual grant-making to non-profit organisations working to address immediate and medium-term impacts of the pandemic. Funds have been used to deliver food relief, aid medical research efforts and help stimulate local economies around the world.

One such grant recipient is Investing in Women, an Australian Government initiative that catalyses inclusive economic growth through women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia. Recognising that the pandemic will likely add decades to the time it takes to reach gender equality,2 we established the Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund. The Fund will boost investment into women-led businesses, stimulating job creation and offering access to critical services in the Philippines.


Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund Launch with InBEST and FSSI representatives, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines and Macquarie Staff.


To provide financial and volunteer support for non-profit organisations working towards racial equity in the US, Macquarie Americas in partnership with the Foundation created the Racial Equity Fund. To date, grants have been allocated to eight organisations nominated by Macquarie employees. Funded projects include those that support non-profit leaders and female entrepreneurs of colour, and neighbourhood-based safety and justice alliances that will address over-policing, increase safety, and provide more opportunities for underrepresented groups in targeted communities. Macquarie and our staff will continue to be a part of the efforts to address racial inequity in its support of the Robin Hood Foundation Power Fund, YWCA Women’s Empowerment 360° program and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) over several years.


LISC NYC Small Business Relief and Recovery Grantees, Make Me Over Beauty Bar in Jamaica, Queens, NY.
Image credit: Lawrence Miner.

Corporate partnerships such as that with Macquarie will help drive impact and create opportunities for those, particularly people of colour, who have not historically had the same equal access to financial services that could increase their wealth and support their wellness."

Lisa Glover, Interim President and CEO of LISC

Lisa Glover, Interim President and CEO of LISC, both a Racial Equity Fund and COVID-19 donation fund grant recipient says of the partnership, “Macquarie’s Racial Equity Fund grant will support safety and justice alliances and neighbourhood revitalisation projects in Jacksonville, Florida and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, using evidence-based strategies that increase equity for marginalised groups. Macquarie’s funding will also support LISC’s new $US1 billion ‘Project 10x’ initiative that aims to close the racial wealth and health gaps in the US over the next decade. Corporate partnerships such as that with Macquarie will help drive impact and create opportunities for financial services that could increase their wealth and support their wellness.”


Participants of Social Mobility Foundation’s Aspiring Professionals Programme.
Image credit: Social Mobility Foundation, 2020.


One of the five final award recipients of the Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award, Social Finance, aims to unlock $US1 billion in capital to address declining economic mobility in the United States. Macquarie’s $A10 million grant will support a series of Pay for Success projects that target the growing skills gap in the US and help tackle growing income inequality through training and improved access to opportunities. Deploying creative financial models such as social impact bonds, Social Finance has the potential for results at scale far beyond what philanthropy, Government, or the private sector can do alone.


CareerTracker and Macquarie employee, speaking at a CareerTrackers event.
Image credit: Carlos Barrios.


Some of the other awardees are addressing health equity. Building on its success in Liberia, Last Mile Health is tackling the shortage of skilled healthcare providers and under-investment in national health systems by expanding access to primary care in Malawi and Ethiopia. The World Mosquito Program is working towards protecting 75 million people from deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika in vulnerable countries around the world by 2024, by introducing a naturally occurring bacteria called Wolbachia into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species most responsible for transmission of these diseases. And the World Scabies Project is looking to eliminate scabies, which can spread rapidly amongst people living in overcrowded conditions, in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

Around the world, Macquarie also supports equitable access to education by working with many non-profits: Opportunity Network in the US, CareerTrackers and CareerSeekers in Australia, Bright Future in India and Social Mobility Foundation in the UK. Additionally, $US1 million was allocated to the edX Macquarie Scholarship Program providing online access for low-income and underrepresented learners in Australia, India, UK and the US.

The Foundation’s work with non-profit organisations building equitable solutions goes well beyond financial grants, providing holistic support by leveraging resources such as Macquarie’s own people and their expertise to direct support to a range of causes.

At Macquarie, we take time to understand the needs of the communities we support and work with organisations to meet their goals. We will continue to support these issues by empowering people to work toward a more equitable society in the years to come.

Learn more about how we are supporting community organisations through the examples below.