Social Enterprise and Community Service

Serving the community was a big part of my family as I was growing up.

Dad was a member of Apex, which is a young men’s service association. Aside from work and some sport, this was the other big thing in his life. Mum has always had a strong social view too, interpreting for refugees for decades and recycling well before it was standard practice.

As a result I grew up with the experience that serving the community is a normal part of life. While I have learned how to be commercial, serving and community focus is who I am, and I believe who most people are. All of the value that we get from life is about the contribution, not the finances.

Often the key is to be able to work through our competing needs


ygap are a group of younger people who put their desire to see the world become a better place ahead of their own careers and wants. This young social enterprise believes in the power of social entrepreneurship and that local leaders have the best solutions to problems in their community. The essential nature of ygap is to create awareness and change around the inequity of cultures and countries.

“we focus on early stage ventures that exist to improve access to education or healthcare, create jobs or build safer homes”

I had a personal introduction to ygap through Elliot Costello, a founding member and the CEO. I was immediately impressed by the focus of the ygap community and their genuine transformation of communities through enterprise.

This concept of working within the community as they see the needs that arise is very progressive in my mind and resonates powerfully. It leverages the creativity of entrepreneurs to transform communities from the grass roots and creates new career pathways for people with ideas and dreams. I have been a big supporter 🙂

I absolutely welcome discussion from anyone who wants to know more on +61 414 866 557

Initially I supported ygap as part of the 5c campaign, involving my children and South Melbourne District Amateur Football Club. The concept is that by keeping every 5c piece and giving a donation of even $5 you can change lives.

As a result of my ongoing support I was invited to join the Impact Tour and saw the results of ygap’s support first hand in May 2017 in South Africa. I spent time in the schools and with the people creating dramatic change in an environment where communities live with few resources and opportunities.

I saw how we can positively affect the health and well-being of children through early childhood development enterprises and the direct flow on effect of that support.

By educating the next generation of leaders and giving hope and capability to them, as these children grow up they are enabled to create a more productive, cleaner, healthier future.

The reality is that crime is one of the most viable options and with social enterprises these people are being given wholesome opportunities that will take them in new directions, where success doesn’t have the same pitfalls.

I saw an ex-criminal explain how there is a correlation between successful criminals and entrepreneurship - I’d love to explain more to you over a coffee.


Polished Man - Social Enterprise

In many countries such as South Africa a second strong theme is a very high rate of the abuse of children and women. A number of the entrepreneurs being supported are women and some are the most abused and disenfranchised members of their community.

When Elliot returned from Cambodia he told me a story about the treatment of women and children that blew me away and I had to support the Polished Man campaign, becoming a member and significant donator. It was compelling to me, the story was a personal one of experience and I felt no doubt of the need to support it.

There is a related need to challenge the male stereotypes in Australia.


Growing up I was bullied and bullied others, so what resonated for me was that it was people who are like me in a general way who are responsible. In standing for this cause, as a stereotypical man in many ways, I’m determined to create an archetype that is more powerfully balanced.


I came from a position of cluelessness for feminine energy; stepping into this space and seeing the response has helped me be more vulnerable, more real. In wearing polish every day I am offering the opportunity for conversation and I now challenge myself:

“What does it mean to be a ‘polished man’? Am I polished really?”

- Alister McDonald


Asking the question “Am I polished really?” creates growth and change in my own world. It also challenges women to say “I prefer a polished man”, which I think is a brilliant campaign. As a father with children, one a daughter, to have this awareness of how others are abusing children around the world is shocking.


I was one of the highest fundraisers in the first couple of years. I brought my business thinking to the campaign, my own marketing material and gave significant contributions. I was compelled to do something about it and continue to be compelled.


If you are inspired by social enterprise, and able to contribute, I would love to hear from you directly about any way in which we can progress such causes together.