Block Commits to ‘Empowering Futures’ of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders with the Launch of Inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

Block Commits to ‘Empowering Futures’ of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders with the Launch of Inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan




Block Commits to ‘Empowering Futures’ of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders with the Launch of Inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

  • Block’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), designed to empower, create transparency, and foster connections with indigenous communities
  • More than $3 million AUD of Social Impact Fund committed to date in delivering programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island organisations across Australia.

DISTRIBUTED-WORK-MODEL/MELBOURNE, Australia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Block Inc. [NYSE: SQ], today launches its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in Australia, solidifying its commitment to fostering impactful Indigenous partnerships and implementing programs that drive positive social change. The plan, the latest in its long standing commitment to supporting indigenous communities, brings together the full ecosystem of Block businesses (including Square, Afterpay, and CashApp), as well as Foundational teams together in a shared mission to increase access for all to financial tools, investing in entrepreneurship and inclusive systems, and innovating the global payments system, so that people can empower themselves in the economy.

“At Block, we recognise the profound importance of our commitment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and its cultures. We understand that our existence goes beyond providing financial services and profit; it’s about embodying fundamental principles that resonate with the fabric of society. Technology, for us, isn’t merely an industry but a powerful tool to empower, create transparency, and foster connections,” said Ant Eisen, Afterpay Co-Founder and Block’s RAP Champion.

“Taking steps to achieve, and advocating for real, nuanced action, as outlined in our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is not just important; it’s vital across every facet of personal and commercial life. It’s about taking responsibility for what’s right,” Eisen continued.

Block’s Reflect Plan, the first stage of the RAP process, includes actions to bring its business and foundational teams together to partake in relevant stakeholder engagement, education and training programs, establish ongoing community partnerships and plan and participate in cultural awareness initiatives.

“As we look to the future, we are eager to build upon the foundations we’ve established. Our commitment to reconciliation is about taking tangible steps and embarking on initiatives that add real value to our society and community. From fostering impactful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples partnerships to implementing programs that drive positive social change, our journey is marked by purposeful action,” Eisen continued.

To capture this mission, Rhonda Sampson, proud Kamilaroi woman, and artist specialising in contemporary Aboriginal artwork, has been commissioned to visually tell the Block story. Titled, “Empowered Futures,” the artwork serves as a visual representation of Block’s commitment to the journey of Reconciliation and will act as a guide for the business to fulfil the commitments made.

“The Block group is passionately devoted to advancing economic empowerment while amplifying the voices and businesses of Indigenous communities both within and beyond their business. “Empowered Futures” acts as a roadmap for them to follow in applying that passion, educating themselves, and their communities, to make meaningful change,” Sampson said.

The RAP plan builds on a host of new and existing initiatives, both independently and in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, with the intention to continue to build upon these initiatives to create lasting, impactful change.

In 2020, Block established a USD$100 million social impact investment fund in support of minority and underserved communities, driven by the company’s purpose of economic empowerment and its ongoing commitment to racial equality. USD$10 million has been allocated as an investment in international funds and lenders focusing on underserved communities in Block’s markets outside the U.S.

Initiatives delivered as a part of the fund, and in addition to, include:

  • In November 2023, Block invested AUD$3 million in a new fund set up by First Australians Capital (FAC), a national Indigenous-led fund manager dedicated to helping Indigenous entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.
  • Block is now into its second year of a partnership with Indigitek, with The Indigenous New Developer Initiative, a scholarship program funded by Cash App, consisting of a 3-month paid General Assembly bootcamp, followed by a 6-month paid internship at Cash App with the opportunity of full-time employment. The program has already resulted in full time employment and several scholarship opportunities.
  • Square and Afterpay joined forces with House of Darwin, a for-profit social enterprise and clothing company reinvesting its profits into social programs and the 2023 Aboriginal Economic Development Forum in Darwin. Block provided financial support for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to attend the forum and conducted workshops on utilising Square’s products.
  • Children’s Ground, is guided by a 25-year approach led by First Nations leaders and is committed to driving systemic reform and revitalising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge. Block has provided monetary contributions and will continue to find meaningful ways to support their endeavours in 2024 and beyond.
  • Make it Happen HQ, specialises in supporting First Nations entrepreneurs by facilitating access to resources and offering expanded learning opportunities. In addition to financial contributions, Block donated 512 Square card readers and 510 reader docks to empower Make it Happen HQ in achieving their mission.

Block also strives to integrate reconciliation and cultural learning into our workplace culture. Recent activity includes NAIDOC Week firesides, excursions to the Yuldea performance by Bangarra Dance Theatre and always on knowledge sharing by our employee resource group Indigenous@.

In the Reflect RAP, Karen Mundine, Chief Executive Officer Reconciliation Australia, said, “Reconciliation Australia welcomes Block to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program with the formal endorsement of its inaugural Reflect RAP. This Reflect RAP enables Block to deepen its understanding of the unique contribution it can make to lead progress across the five dimensions of reconciliation. Getting these right, puts Block is in an incredibly unique position increase awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, knowledge, and to take the next step and provide meaningful impact toward reconciliation and I look forward to working with them to do so.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Block, Inc. acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we live and work. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

About Block

Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) (formerly, Square, Inc.) is a global technology company with a focus on financial services. Made up of Square, Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD, we build tools to help more people access the economy. Square makes commerce and financial services easy and accessible for sellers with its integrated ecosystem of technology solutions. With Cash App, anyone can easily send, spend, or invest their money in stocks or bitcoin. Afterpay brings Square and Cash App together, connecting consumers and businesses. Artists use TIDAL to help them succeed as entrepreneurs and connect more deeply with fans. TBD is building an open source platform and developer infrastructure that enables everyone to access and participate in the global economy.

Notes:

  • Access Block’s Reflect Reconciliation Plan here.

 

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