Leading Philanthropist Award

The nation's highest philanthropic honour, 'Leading Philanthropist' is awarded to an individual whose work is visionary, high impact and transformative.

Nomination Closed

The Leading Philanthropist Award honours recent significant philanthropic contributions and achievements of an individual philanthropist. The award focuses on personal philanthropy that is outstanding in its generosity, effectiveness, vision, impact and transformative quality.

The recipient of the Leading Philanthropist Award will be a public ambassador and leader of philanthropy in the community. This involves:

  • doing media interviews
  • speaking at Philanthropy Australia member events
  • sharing their experiences
  • promoting philanthropy more broadly.

Use our online form to nominate someone for the Leading Philanthropist Award.

Nominations are welcomed from Philanthropy Australia members, non-members, supporters and friends of our partner organisations.

You can nominate an individual from the Australian philanthropic and broader social change community. This doesn’t include organisations or paid professionals. An individual may not nominate themselves.

Current staff and council of Philanthropy Australia and members of the selection panel are not eligible for nomination.

Nominations are assessed by the selection panel on the following criteria:

  1. Achievements of an individual philanthropist (not an organisation or a paid professional).
  2. Clear vision for change and ability to impact change.
  3. Leadership and courage to engineer giving with impact, with clear examples of good practice.
  4. Scale of financial contribution and approach to generating additional funds.
  5. Activity occurring in the last 5 years – this may include design, funding, program outcomes or delivery of impact.

Nominees remain confidential and only finalists and successful recipients are announced.

To complete our nomination form, you will need to:

  • Address the selection criteria and give reasons why your nominee should be considered for this award (250 words).
  • Describe your nominee’s role in Australian philanthropy (300 words).
  • Give evidence of tangible delivery outcomes and impact (300 words).
  • Upload at least 2 photos (maximum 5), including a headshot, that can be used for promotional purposes if your nominee is successful.
  • Estimate their amount of philanthropic investment – financial and non-financial.
  • Provide at least 3 letters of support (maximum 5) from referees who can verify the nominee’s service, accomplishments and character.

Nominations for the Leading Philanthropist Award:

  • open [Day Date Month Year]
  • close [Day Date Month Year] at 5pm.

Submissions are reviewed by the selection panel for announcement at the Australian Philanthropy Awards celebration. This event is held on [Day Date Month Year] at [Venue].

You will be notified of the outcome of your nomination. If successful, we will be in touch with exciting details before the awards event.

Thank you for supporting the Australian Philanthropy Awards through this nomination. To receive updates, you can sign up to our newsletter  or follow us on social media.

If you have any questions or would like more information about this year’s Australian Philanthropy Awards, contact us at [email protected]


The 2022 Leading Philanthropist Award is presented in partnership with:

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Award stories and events

Awards case study: Leading Philanthropist Award 2020

Past recipients

YearWinnerRelated article
2021Tim Fairfax AC
2020Carol Schwartz AO
2019Philip Bacon AM
2018Andrew and Nicola Forrest
2017Ian Darling
2016Audette Exel AO

Anyone who donates their time, money or talent to create a better world is a philanthropist, and I like to believe that most people would like to do that – create a better world.

Carol Schwartz AO Leading Philanthropist 2020