Aussie industry entrepreneurs launch social impact enterprise on local shores

Thankful gains local brand support and builds advisory council including former marketers, Mark Lollback and Mark Buckman

Matt Moran and Kim McDonnell
Matt Moran and Kim McDonnell

Thankful, a social impact organisation devised by Australian marketing and advertising entrepreneurs, Kim McDonnell and Mike Chuter, is making its local debut as it works to encourage brands and organisations to help address the world’s biggest systemic challenges.

Thankful positions itself as a social enterprise helping brands and consumers to engage with UN Sustainable Development Goals. These stretch from zero hunger and poverty to building sustainable cities and communities, tackling climate change and reducing inequality.

In Thankful’s case, current initiatives stretch from work around building safe and inclusive communities to championing human and animal rights, ending hunger, saving the planet, protecting children and promoting better health.

The organisation’s approach is to marry up product licensing with awareness campaigns and a non-profit arm. McDonnell and Chuter founded Thankful in the US and have built up a base of investors including Ford Motor Family Office, Dr John Wilkerson and Adam Growald Rockefeller.

The pair have now returned to Australia and are setting up a Sydney-based office. To help, they’ve recruited several local ambassadors to drive awareness and engagement including Australian chef, Matt Moran, and sustainable agriculture advocate, Charlie Arnott.

In addition, an Australian advisory council has been established featuring former GroupM CEO, Mark Lollback; Emergent CEO, Holly Ransom; marketing and leadership executive, Mark Buckman; and retired major Matina Jewell.

Local companies joining up meanwhile, include APG Workforce, Vittoria Food and Beverage, Signature Wines, Gathered Good Hampers, Outback Lamb, Red Tractor Foods and Chief Nutrition

McDonnell said the launch locally comes in advance of two initiatives rolling out in coming months. One of these is ‘Thankful4farmers’, which sets out to bring together farmers, influencers, brands and consumers to amplify awareness and generate scalable funding to support sustainable agriculture and regional communities. According to the website, Thankful4Farmers has recently provided a grant to Soils for Life to fund development of an educational video showing the importance of soil for agriculture, the environment and the economy.

A second initiative targets reducing household food waste through scalable solutions. In addition, a range of products featuring the Thankful logo are being introduced in supermarkets.

“Australian consumers more than ever before expect brands and businesses to give back to the community and have a clear purpose,” McDonnell said. “We’re proud to have worked with leading organisations across the world to drive positive change, spread thankfulness and deliver a meaningful impact. And we’re beyond excited to be launching in Australia to make a real difference locally.”

McDonnell built her career in the advertising industry, working for agencies such as Leo Burnett and Publicis as well as her own business, Cubed Communications. She’s also consulted to WPP AUNZ on its ‘purpose’ practice. Chuter has also worked in marketing, insights and digital transformation for the likes of PSB, JDFR International, M&C Saatchi and Ogilvy.

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