Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Updates from Philanthropy Australia National Conference 2018


Author: Nancy Vaughan


At the Philanthropy Australia National Conference this week! A few quick updates from the field....

Day 1

Lary Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, urging Australian philanthropists to increase funding for operational support for grantees, and not just project funding. Kramer also declared there are two global-scale priorities that Philanthropy must focus on. 1. The decline of liberal democracy and 2. Climate Change.

Larry Kramer


 The Hon. Jeffrey Kennett AC says there needs to be more advocacy on the benefits of philanthropy to encourage others to give. For all that we're doing - we've got ot be able to do it a bit better and do it collaboratively!


John Bush of Paul Ramsay Foundation reiterated today how crucial it is for him to know what impact their funded programs are having and the importance of evaluation....incidentally, caught up on our Evaluation blog posts yet?

John Bush 


Day 2


What an epic day! Standing room only in many sessions!

Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation was talking grant-making strategy with an emphasis on increasing grant values, increasing grant periods, and increasing grants for operating costs for their grant-seekers! Blackwell said that his organisation started funding operational cost because it enabled the organisations doing good work in their community to keep doing this and provide flexibility to those organisations to use the funds for program delivery as well as the overheads.He said "Effective collaboration requires investment from funders. Great collaboration involves doing a lot of things that are not sexy. But we must invest in it. We call this investing in the backbone of the organisation." He was full of wise words, "Better to make new mistakes than remake old mistakes."

Fred Blackwell

Allan English of the English Family Foundation asked: Where are the conferences that bring together philanthropy and the organisations implementing the funded programs? There needs to be much more interaction at the sector level between these two. 


Audette Excel AO, shared her concerns about social impact investment becoming a brand and the risk of 'impact washing'. She said that Philanthropy in Australia needs to get its act together and start funding operating and administration costs, and provide longer term funding.


Este Darin-Cooper, Dr Andrew Lu OAM and Jon Myer shared thier stories of being 'next-gen' philanthropists, in the Next Generation Philanthropy: Beyond the Stereotypes breakout session. Dr Lu remarked: "We're all interested in outcomes."

 Alistair Ferguson of the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Hub with Teya Dusseldorp spoke about how the project has affected the Bourke community. "This is so much more than a project or proof of a concept to us. This is a survival strategy." What a powerful presentation!