Our Story

We want to make equality real

and we know we’re not alone

Co-Ground is not your classic charity. We are an empowered global community of change-makers fuelled by social enterprise, vibrant events, volunteer-power and purpose-driven partnerships.​​

Our education and livelihood programs are developed by communities themselves, ensuring that ownership stays at a local level and our impact is sustainable.​​​​

A Brief History

​​Co-Ground launched in 2015 in response to the devastation caused by record-breaking category 5 Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.​​​​

​​A year later we became a national Anti-Poverty Award winning charity, grew to a team of 30 in Australia, eight villages in remote Vanuatu, and a growing global team of ambassadors, entertainers and advisors.​​​​

​​In 2017, Co-Ground won the Jetstar FlyingStart Grant, became a certified social enterprise and opened our first mobile cafe.

​​Since then, our team has continued to grow and so have our projects. With Co-Ground managing locations and temporary cafes in Collingwood, Brunswick and Prahran which lead to the development of new community programs like the Brunswick Artist Market, Brunswick Flea Market, Ground Studios, pop-up shops, coworking spaces and community events.​​​​

New and exciting community projects in Vanuatu and the Philippines.

Co-Ground Coffee is now active all over Melbourne with our skilled baristas serving specialty coffee ground-to-order from our fleet of coffee carts.

In 2020, Co-Ground launched Do-Good Books – inspiring stories that change lives.

Below: our first crowdfunding video back in 2016 (try not to laugh)

​​The direct effect

100% of the profits generated by Co-Ground social enterprise supports our education, health and livelihood programs in the Asia Pacific. ​

Thanks to all our customers, supporters, amazing staff and volunteers and partners (listed below) for your support.​​​​

Our Superstar Team – Australia

Andrew Mellody

Managing Director & Co-founder

Andrew lives by his values and inspires the rest of us to do the same. Social Enterprise aside, this guy is working towards a ‘Social Economy’. Oh… and world peace.

Cameron Hammond

Operations Manager

Long-time Hospitality and Getting Things Done practitioner. Sci-Fi tragic and semi-professional trivia runner up. 

Tegan Cottam

People & Culture

Tegan takes good care of the Australian team using her years of experience in both not-for-profit and corporate worlds.

Briony Collins

Sales & Marketing Manager

After making waves in fashion, her love of coffee and the urge to put her skills towards social good brought her to Co-Ground. Briony also loves trashy TV, but we won’t hold that against her.

Nicole Precel

Board of Directors & Co-founder

Nikki is an award-winning journalist at The Age and a documentary maker with a passion for human rights. Lesser known skills: breakdancing, freestyle rap.

Michael Jackett

Board of Directors

Partnerships and Social Enterprise strategy is where Michael shines. He’s also not bad at knock-knock jokes.

Peter Witkamp

Board of Directors

When Peter is not hiking with his family in Borneo he is keeping our board on task. A data analysts by trade with a passion for ethical business and salty chocolate.

George Pavouris

Chief Financial Officer

Our numbers man with a heart of gold. A Certified Practising Accountant by day, hero by night (for his daughter Penelope).

Ruby Hammer

Artist Market Director

From volunteer to cafe manager. Now Ruby’s creativity and ability to bring people together is what makes her happy. That, and spaghetti.

Bec Sykes

Entertainment Manager

Bec has not only assembled an army of musicians who bring our events to life – but she too is an incredibly talented performer with Vanuatu roots #partywithpurpose

Jack Endall

Festivals Team Lead

Loves music, playing music, and all things music. Former cafe manager turned volunteer hustler with his eye on the providing coffee to the masses.

Tom Hoschke

Research & Development

Tom has an eye for strategy and business development, sharpened skills in both private and public sectors, and an MBA from Melbourne.

Our Superstar Team – Vanuatu

Maki Ruben

Vanuatu Team Director & Co-founder

Maki lives and breathes his community. After coordinating more than 300 local volunteers after Cyclone Pam, Maki has continued to develop and grow Co-Ground programs.

Haijohn William

Education Programs Lead

Haijohn is a founding member of Co-Ground Vanuatu and a community teacher. His dedication to education and loud mobile boom-box means kids come running to class.

Paul Robert

Construction & Training Lead

When you meet Paul, you feel supported. This is why he is so successful during Co-Ground projects. Passionate about building skills within the local team, Paul is a humble mentor to those who work with him.

Gena Wojtal

Community Program Support

Being community-directed, Gena does what she is told. After living on Epi Island for almost 2 years she is a much loved part of the local scene. Peace Corp, relief teacher and island style enthusiast.

Activating spaces

In Australia, we activate spaces, engage and strengthen community cohesion and up-skill young people with hands-on experience within a number of active social enterprises, events and programs.

Looking to collaborate?

Collingwood site activation with PACE Development Group
(cafe, events and community markets)
Co-Ground Prahran: 12 month community activation with Peregrine Projects (cafe, bar, restaurant, coworking and events)

Our Community

​​​​We are building a global community of change-makers and we’re inviting you to join us!​​​​

But who and what makes up this Co-mmunity?​​​​ Currently, we are working yumi olgeta (all together) in Vanuatu, Australia and new projects on the horizon in the Philippines.

​​​​In Australia, we focus on building strong communities and generating funds through social enterprise & vibrant events.

We are volunteers, baristas, artists, musicians, schools, supporters and advisors who believe in profit for purpose.​​​​We operate Co-Ground Coffee, the Brunswick Artist Market, the Brunswick Flea Market and Co-Ground Events.

​​​​In Vanuatu, we are empowered villages made up of students, teachers, parents, school counsellors and local builders. We Co-llaborate with the Vanuatu Department of Education, Department of Fisheries, provincial education offices, local businesses, advisors and aid organisations.​​​​

Our global education, livelihood and capacity-building programs are developed by the communities themselves, ensuring that ownership stays at local level and impact is empowering and sustainable.​​​​

The same can be said for our social enterprises, education partnerships and events in Australia – with leadership development, skills and capacity building being a clear theme for our young people.

A massive thank you our dedicated partners:

​​Boutique roaster Five Senses Coffee donates the delicious specialty coffee beans we serve with pride at Co-Ground Coffee and La Marzocco donates the machines we need to operate. Nova Entertainment has recently joined the team with advertising support to scale our social enterprise and help us reach new audiences.​​​​

And amazing team of sponsors:

​​We’ve also had some generous backers including Scott Pape and Michael Kemp from the Barefoot Investor​​​​.

We’re grateful to have received substantial international coverage thanks to supportive media outlets and our amazing Co-Ground Communications Team.​​​​

​​We would like to especially thank our growing family of talented entertainers and stellar venues who make Co-Ground Events possible.

​​To date we have received support from: Gotye, The Cat Empire, John Butler Trio, Guy Pearce, Tegan Higginbotham, Tripod, The Cactus Channel, Kylie Auldist, That Gold Street Sound, Skyscraper Stan & The Commission Flats, The Eighty 88s, The Essendon Football Club, The Ivory Elephant, The Sugarcanes, The Sweets, The Toff In Town, The Gasometer Hotel, Long Play, Melbourne City Council and many more.​​​​

Co-Ground continues to grow and evolve

and we invite you to join us