Carrillo Gantner, Chairman of Sidney Myer Fund, delivered a rousing speech at Philanthropy Australia’s Trustees Dinner on 12 May, reflecting on his personal and family philanthropy.
Here’s an excerpt:
I was once told that the Japanese start every speech with an apology whereas Westerners start theirs with a joke. I am going to show my hybrid origins tonight by choosing a third course: I choose to start with a confession. I don’t want to go up the blind alley of semantics tonight, and I know this is a Philanthropy Australia dinner, but I hereby confess that I don’t much like the word “philanthropy”. While we all know it comes from two Greek words that taken together mean “love of mankind” which is a very broad concept, its usage has come to be almost exclusively associated with wealth, with large dollops of money contributed by rich people to various good causes. Please don’t get me wrong: I think this is a really wonderful thing. God bless so many people for giving very large sums of money to good causes. What worries me, however, is the perception that philanthropy is the exclusive preserve of the wealthy and, two corollaries that follow this: first, that it is not something that ordinary people engage in and second, that through philanthropy, the wealthy earn some kind of moral superiority. To use the vernacular, I suspect many ordinary Australians equate the word “philanthropist” with “wanker”.
May. 19, 2011
Sign up to our weekly e-newsletter for sector news, expert opinion and resources.