Canon Australia is the biggest company in the Australian photo industry and through its recent Creative for a Cause campaign has shown itself to also have a big heart and an intent to demonstrate corporate leadership beyond the narrow confines of the marketplace.


Canon Australia is the biggest company in the Australian photo industry and through its recent Creative for a Cause campaign has shown itself to also have a big heart and an intent to demonstrate corporate leadership beyond the narrow confines of the marketplace.

Creative for a Cause targetted the hundreds of Australian charities in desperate need of awareness and financial support. The campaign is in response to a trend which has seen smaller charities suffering a drop in donations due mainly to a lack of resources to get their message across.

Based on the belief that “a single image can change the world”, the campaign aimed to harness the power of images to drive awareness and support for the hundreds of causes that Australians are passionate about.

The campaign ran for six weeks from May 28 to July 6. During this period over 2592 images representing 436 causes were uploaded to the Canon Creative for a Cause website, and almost 100,000 votes were recorded.

Of all the images submitted, support for children’s causes was overwhelming with over 25,000 public votes lodged, highlighting Australia’s ongoing commitment to children’s charities.

The winning image, In Safe Hands, by Blush Photography submitted by Jo Larsen (pictured right), has earned $60,000 for the chosen recipient, HeartKids.

The Hon Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Inclusion, was part of the judging panel that selected the finalist images and says that the campaign provided a great platform for Australians to show their support of the many charitable organisations in Australia.

“There are so many charities in desperate need of assistance,” she said. “Canon Creative for a Cause has inspired Australians to get behind the causes they are most passionate about. The images submitted tell a very powerful story, highlighting the importance of these charities to the Australian public.”

The four runners-up were: Gavan White’s image of a mother and child with the deceased father’s medals for recipient, Legacy Australia; Matt Nettheim’s image of dance theatre by disabled youth for recipient the Restless Dance Theatre; Emma Haswell’s image of the absolute joy expressed by piglets freed from a factory farm for recipient, Animals Australia; and Belinda Jacmenjak’s image of her daughter, Natalia, who is being treated for cancer for recipient, Cure Our Kids

Jo Larsen, mother of baby Zeke, says she is overwhelmed to see HeartKids, a cause so very close to her heart, win the $60,000.

“HeartKids is a phenomenal organisation supporting families of children with heart disease. My son was born with a major heart condition which required urgent life-saving heart surgery within days of his birth. In November, he will undergo major heart surgery to hopefully repair his heart.

“HeartKids provides a critical service to so many families like ours and Canon’s donation will allow essential equipment and resources to be purchased so that more can be done to combat this widespread condition.

“It really is a fantastic feeling to be able to give something back to the organisation that has given so much to my family,” she said.

Kenji Kobayashi, managing director, Canon Australia added, “The winning image, In Safe Hands, truly represents what Canon Creative for a Cause is all about – harnessing the power of an image to make a real difference. The level of engagement that we’ve seen from everyday Australians and charities wanting to get involved is testament to the passion that people have for images and causes and the ability for Canon Creative for a Cause to make a difference.”

“As the winning charity, HeartKids will also become one of Canon’s preferred charities for the remainder of 2009. We look forward to working with HeartKids to help make a difference to the families across Australia affected by childhood heart disease.” said Kenji Kobayashi.

Scott Reinke, president of HeartKids Victoria, said they are grateful to have been part of such an exciting campaign and are thankful to Canon for their generous donation.

“Canon Creative for a Cause has helped HeartKids and many other charities raise awareness of the important work we carry out on a daily basis. The Larsens are part of the HeartKids family and the $60,000 will allow us to continue providing support to the families of children, just like Zeke, who are born with a heart condition.”

Canon says that Creative for a Cause supports the company’s corporate philosophy of kyosei, which means “living and working together for the common good”.

A survey of Canon’s recent initiatives indicate that this is no glib corporate boast.

Canon has for the last four years supported World Environment Day by providing five grants of $5000 each to community groups involved in environmental work (applications are now open for 2009); provides a scholarship to the University of Sydney for excellence in marketing; supported the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal (along with employees) to the tune of over $100,000; sponsors the Australian Professional Photographer Awards and touring exhibition; brings the inspirational World Press Photo exhibition to Australia each year, and has a solid record in environmental sustainability – it even manufactures Canon calculators from recycled photocopiers!

A showcase of the top Creative for a Cause images is viewable here.