Author: Charlotte Francis


Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending Philanthropy Australia’s AGM and celebrating the achievements of some of the most inspiring individuals and organisations across the sector at the 2016 Philanthropy Awards.

President Alan Schwartz opened the AGM by reflecting on some of the key milestones of Philanthropy Australia in 2015, one of which was the inaugural Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit held at Parliament House in Canberra in September. The forum brought together funders, government and policy makers and offered opportunities to deepen engagement, understanding and collaboration. Since then, Philanthropy Australia has set up a Parliamentary Friends of Philanthropy Group to continue the momentum, and the intention is to make the summit a biennial event.

Other exciting initiatives from 2015 include:

The Partnership with the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership and the launch of a new initiative, the Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week (CPPW). Philanthropy Australia managed CPPW in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and the first CPPW was held in December 2015.

The New Gen UK Study Tour which saw a new generation of philanthropists travel overseas on a learning mission to foster collaboration, shared value and best practice globally. The group met with innovative and leading philanthropic foundations in the UK including the Virgin Foundation and the Cadbury Foundation.

Moving into 2016…

Philanthropy Australia in partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the Foundation Center in New York have just published a report on the grant-making priorities of US foundations in Australia. Some of the key findings of the report were:

• Health is the top funded category with $40.5 million granted from US Foundations to Australian organisations between 2011 and 2013, with universities representing a high proportion of grantees.

• Environment and animals were the next highest funding area with $11.3 million granted between 2011 and 2013.

• The majority of funding was directed to the economically disadvantaged, and to children and youth.

• Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Tides Foundation, and Give2Asia were some of the largest US public charities to provide funding to Australia

• US funders highlighted the need for capacity building in Australia around outcome and impact reporting, as well as the sustainability of programs.

What the report demonstrated is that we have more information about the giving patterns of US philanthropic foundations than on their Australian counterparts. This is largely because, unlike in America, there are no mandatory reporting requirements for trusts and foundations in Australia. Testing new ways to address this data deficit and creating greater transparency is a key strategic priority for Philanthropy Australia.

“If we don’t know what philanthropy is doing, it’s hard to show the role it plays,” said Sarah Davies, CEO of Philanthropy Australia, explaining that members set a new purpose of ‘more and better philanthropy’ at the end of 2015. With this purpose as their guiding ‘North Star’, Sarah outlined some of Philanthropy Australia’s future strategic directions: building on the rich heritage of giving in Australia; embracing innovative and new approaches through new technologies; responding to global challenges; building peak body partnerships around the world and through policy and advocacy initiatives, to create an environment in which philanthropy can thrive.

This year’s Philanthropy Australia National Conference – Evolution or revolution: Is philanthropy future ready – will be held in Sydney on 21st September.

The afternoon culminated with the 2016 Philanthropy Award, recognising the contribution of individuals and organisations for their achievements in five categories:

Leading Philanthropist Award
Emerging Philanthropist Award
Best Large Grant of the Year
Best Small Grant of the Year
Gender-wise Philanthropy Award

Take a look at the 2016 Philanthropy Award winners over at Generosity Magazine.

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