Thanks to everyone that helped make the 2018 National Conference such an outstanding event, with special thanks to all our supporting partners.

Philanthropy Australia National Conference 2018 
'Purpose: Is it enough?'

Philanthropy Australia’s biennial National Conference is the premier event on the Australasian philanthropy calendar, bringing together the world’s best philanthropic minds with local practitioners at all levels, with the 2018 Conference held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne on 5-6 September.  

Themed 'Purpose: Is it enough?' this year's program debated the options and choices within philanthropy as well as the tensions and challenges. The conference was designed to challenge, inspire and provoke thinking on how we can best work towards a just society; philanthropy’s role in our evolving democracy; maximising impact; and working across sectors to achieve sustainable systemic change.

More than 740 members of Australia’s philanthropic community came together for these two days. Though countless provocations and calls to action were issued, debated and dissected during the conference, two themed reigned supreme: the first was purpose and the need for even bigger philanthropic ambitions; the second was power – specifically, how you shape it and how you share it.

There were 122 speakers (9 international) who presented 30 sessions across the two days.

Three global leaders shared their philanthropic journeys, challenges and hard-won insights: Larry Kramer (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA), Fred Blackwell (The San Francisco Foundation, USA) and Danielle Walker Palmour (Friends Provident Foundation, UK), as will visionary Australian Philanthropy Leaders, Allan English, Audette Exel AO, Ian Darling AO and many more.

Larry Kramer's keynote (1 hr)


Feedback from some sector leaders (5 mins)


Day One

Day one was a thoroughly engaging experience for all delegates. Highlights included the principal keynote from Larry Kramer (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA) 'Purpose. Is it Enough?', which started the day’s events, along with the robust panel session 'Purpose and the Crisis of Trust', moderate by The Guardian's Lenore Taylor with a panel featuring 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 day was also punctuation by several other incisive plenary sessions, along with 10 interactive break-out sessions and plenty of opportunity to network and socialise. Find out more here


Day Two

On a jam-packed day two, delegates were treated to an additional session - included only two weeks earlier - as co-founder and CEO of Purpose, Jeremy Heimans, kicked off the day with his reflections on new power and the shifting dynamics of philanthropy. 

Following that, Fred Blackwell (CEO, The San Francisco Foundation) shard the story of how TSFF reshaped its strategic direction under his leadership, strengthening its 70-year history as a social justice organisation with a deliberate focus on equity. 

Danielle Walker Palmour (Director, Friends Provident Foundation) then closed out the conference with her session that focused on disruption of the status quo a vital challenge for all foundations and philanthropists no matter their size or mission. Find out more here.

Leading philanthropists panel (54 mins)

Reflections from Lalatuai Grogan (9 mins)

Event format

When: Wednesday & Thursday, 5-6 September 2018 (two days) 

Venue: Grand Hyatt Melbourne

With a dynamic mix of keynote presentations, panels, in-conversation sessions, smaller concurrent working sessions and networking drinks, there were more opportunities than ever to learn from leaders in the field, share experiences with peers and build philanthropic networks.

There was also an array of Pre-conference Masterclasses and workshops on the day prior to the conference – Tuesday 4 September at the Grand Hyatt.

See full program – Masterclasses, Day 1, Day 2.


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