Brave Philanthropy: taking risks and testing solutions is the theme of our latest issue of Australian Philanthropy, Issue 82, Spring 2012.
Lisa Jordan, executive director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation wrote in Alliance magazine, (March 2012) “...taking risks is an inherent responsibility of organised philanthropy ... to use private money to try to solve intractable problems ... The question is, do we?” While foundations often explore and plan for financial risk in their investment management, there is little understanding of risk on the program side. “We have no forums where risk can be discussed ... and we rarely use the tools we have such as evaluation to help us understand the degree to which we have succeeded or failed.”
The question of failure is a tricky one – it assumes we have identified a measure of achievement to be aimed for, and fallen short of that bar. But how many foundations have actually identified the impact they want to make in a given place or field, let alone measured success against those aims? If, on the other hand, the only true failure is a grant that nothing is learned from, why do many foundations inhibit the extent of their successes by not sharing the learnings? Issue 82 investigates whether Australian philanthropy does indeed take risks in its grant-making and learn from both its successes and failures.
By Brenton Caffin, CEO, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
The Australian Centre for Social Innovation works with people to create and spread new ways to lead better lives. We heard the call from the child protection system and in response we undertook a project to explore ways of preventing families fromb spiralling into crisis and to enable more families to thrive. The result was Family by Family.
Interview: Eda Ritchie (PDF)
The R. E. Ross Trust, funding across Victoria, is one of the most innovative and respected foundations in the country, showing leadership across grant-making, communications and transparency. Eda Ritchie joined the Trust as trustee in 1997 and Louise Arkles asked her about the importance of risk-taking in philanthropy.
Interview: Dr Sam Prince (PDF)
Picture this: a Scottish-born Australian doctor with Sri Lankan heritage running a chain of Mexican restaurants alongside his work in emergency medicine and doing aid work in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and now in remote communities in the Northern Territory. Phew!
Dr Sam Prince lives this life – he’s a medical doctor, a business entrepreneur, and the founder of the charities Emagine Foundation and One Disease at a Time, and to top it off he’s not yet 30. Louise Arkles, editor of Australian Philanthropy, asked Sam Prince about his philanthropy and his approach to taking risks and testing solutions.
Members of Philanthropy Australia can download the full PDF version of issue 82 here (requires Member login)
Oct. 01, 2012
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