Lazy money! How long can Australia afford it?

By: Chris Wootton (Philanthropy Australia) and Dan Madhavan (Impact Investing Australia)

Once upon a time... there was a benevolent King who was regarded as the best in the land for making money from his pot of gold (corpus). The earnings which he generated from his pot of gold – which were truly dazzling - he distributed wisely to his people.

Every month he would check on his pot of gold and was always pleased to see that it too was growing well – so that it could earn even more money that he would then be able give to help his people.

However over time he was becoming increasingly concerned by what he saw when he walked around his Kingdom. He saw increasing numbers of his subjects sleeping rough on the streets, children running wild when they should be in school, youth roaming the streets because they were unemployed, long queues for food and other assistance and people who previously were doing okay, now were showing obvious signs of struggling financially. When walking into schools and other service buildings – he could see that they were looking tired and run down and were not very welcoming for both clients and/or staff.

What’s going wrong? - The King said to himself. 

The next day he called in all of his trusty advisers, ‘Things are not good in my Kingdom – what are we doing wrong? We provide funds - but it seems that it is just not making enough of a difference. In some areas it is getting worse! What can we do?’

It took what seemed like an eternity before the King could restore order as everyone was shouting all at once and blaming each other, the people, the new economy and even the weather!

The King sighed, ‘ We just don’t have enough money!’

‘Ah excuse me Sire, but we really do have enough money.’

Everyone including the King- turned to see who would dare question the King!

‘Well - we could make better use of your pot of gold and not only use the earnings for good – but also use pot to invest in bigger projects that will really make a difference to our people.’

You know the ending to this story – they all lived happily ever after!

It’s time that we too wake up and explore how we can make use of this lazy money in corpuses and investment portfolios – whilst they may earn nice returns – they could work harder by being  invested in projects, businesses and services that will make a positive impact to the Australian community. How long will it take before we really go down the road of impact investing – how bad do things need to get before we act?

Philanthropy Australia and Impact Investing Australia are attacking this issue head-on - we need funders to unlock their corpuses for impact investing and we need a vibrant NFP Sector identifying and creating compelling impact investing proposals to make this difference – that is why we created the Impact Investing  Ready Growth and Discovery Grants. 

Let’s begin to create the fairy tale ending before it is too late!

Impact Investment Ready >

Feb. 21, 2017

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In conversation with Daniel Lee of the Levi Strauss Foundation

In conversation with Nicole Richards at the Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit, Daniel Lee shared his insights on topics including the role of philanthropy as a driver of systems change which addresses root causes of social challenges, the relationship between philanthropy and government and what the new political environment in the United States means for philanthropy.

Watch video