Day 1: Wednesday 5 September 


This year’s conference program was a dynamic mix of pre-conference masterclasses, keynote presentations, panels, in-conversation sessions, smaller concurrent working sessions and networking drinks across the two days.

Delegate Drinks

Friends and sector colleagues caught up after an extensive day one program at this exclusive networking opportunity. Delegates were invited to wind down after a full day of learning and inspiration and enjoy some drinks and canapes with peers.







Sarah Davies
CEO, Philanthropy Australia


Welcome to Country

Uncle Stan Yarramunua of the Djadjawurrung people


Opening of Day 1



Purpose: Is It Enough?

As the President of one of the leading philanthropic foundations in the United States, Larry Kramer has unique insights about the vital role philanthropy plays in our community. Setting the tone for the conference, Larry will make the case for why philanthropy must be fearless – it’s not enough to just make grants to good organisations, because that alone won’t be enough to address the global challenges that confront us. Larry will emphasise philanthropy’s role as change agent, presenting two case studies from the Hewlett Foundation’s work:

  • Addressing political polarisation in the US, including the problem of digital disinformation; and
  • Solving the problem of climate change.

Larry Kramer
President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA)  


David Gonski and Arun Abey in conversation: How Much is Enough?

David Gonski and Arun Abey need no introduction the philanthropic sector. In this intimate discussion,they will explore and expose their deeper sense of meaning and purpose, beyond their well-known business faces and the transformative effect that philanthropy has had on their lives.  In conversation with Arun, David will share his journey from childhood, his love for his father, the challenge in following a career path against his father’s values, and how these experiences and other family factors led him into philanthropy; how his values have led him to support specific causes and above all, how a driven, ambitious, successful, powerful person answers the questions of ‘Why’ and ‘How Much’ is ‘Enough’? 

David Gonski AC

Chairman of the Australia and New Zealand

Banking Group Ltd.

Arun Abey
Chairman and co-founder Walsh Bay Partners

and Chairman, Advisory Board,

ANU College of Business and Economics

11.15am Morning Tea


Purpose and the Crisis of Trust

Trust is a vital ingredient that ties the fabric of our community together. It is essential for supporting social cohesion and building consensus around how we respond to social, environmental and economic challenges.

But in Australia and around the world, people are becoming increasingly distrustful of government, business, the media and the not-for-profit sector. What are the implications of this for philanthropy and social change agents more broadly?


Lenore Taylor
Editor, The Guardian


Steve Spurr
CEO, Edelman Australia

Lisa George
Global Head, Macquarie Group Foundation

The Hon Jeffrey Kennett AC
Chairman, Equity Trustees

Joy Anderson
Founder and president of Criterion Institute


The State of the Sector

Philanthropy and the broader not-for-profit sector has been going through an exciting period of change in recent years. John McLeod is one of Australia’s leading interpreters of what the data is telling us about the current shape and profile of the sector. In this session, he will present his most recent research findings.

Following John’s presentation, there will be three responses providing a business and impact investing perspective, a not-for-profit perspective and a philanthropic perspective. The discussion will help us not only understand where we are right now, but what this means for where we’re going.


Prof. Kristy Muir
CEO, Centre for Social Impact,

The University of New South Wales


John McLeod
Senior Consultant, JBWere Philanthropic Services and Council Member, Philanthropy Australia

Amanda Miller
Founder, Impact Generation Partners and

Council Member, Philanthropy Australia

Paul Ronalds
CEO, Save the Children Australia and Board Member, Community Council for Australia

Catherine Brown
CEO, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

1.30pm Lunch
Breakout Sessions 



Is the impact investing market distracting philanthropy from achieving its purpose?

"Splash in the Shallows..." (experiential grant making)
Have I got a tool for you! (Sustainable Development Goals)
The role of risk in achieving impact

Using strategic partnership to embed systemic change at global scale

3.50pm Afternoon tea
Breakout Sessions



Gender and equality… Democracy in action
Every cent in the dollar goes to the beneficiaries

Reframing failure: lessons from the field

On maximising impact – measurement and evaluation

Fundamental to our purpose: Australian philanthropy’s role and potential in advocacy


Delegate drinks


Environmental Philanthropy Award 2020 recipients

Funders: The Pace Foundation, with The NR Peace & Justice Fund, Lenko Family Foundation, Melliodora Fund, (a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation), Sarah Brenan, (Hamer Family Fund), The Mullum Trust, Vicki Olsson.

For-purpose: Beyond Zero Foundation

Award partner: Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network