Day 3 & 4 Workshops Program - 5 & 6 May

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Please note: the full schedule, including times and dates, will be updated soon.



Five foundation executives reveal the keys to collaboration

Collaborating with other organisations can significantly increase the impact of funding, extend scarce financial resources and strengthen grantees’ organisational development.

In this session five foundation executives will share their experiences and recommendations for partnering, using ‘The four contributions of philanthropy to systems’ typology formulated by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI).

These funders will illustrate directions that collaboration can take while simultaneously sharing case study evidence of what has and what hasn’t worked.

This is an excellent opportunity for funders to hear about some of the hard lessons borne by experience.  For fund seekers, this discussion provides unique opportunity to learn and develop more effective funding strategies.

Craig Connelly
CEO, The Ian Potter Foundation

Dr Jeannette Pritchard
Executive Officer, Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation

Tom Snow
Chair, Snow Medical Research Foundation

Jo Taylor
Chief Capabilities Officer, Paul Ramsay Foundation

Peter Winneke
CEO, Yajilarra Trust

From crisis to opportunity: how philanthropy can drive system change in the age of disruption

With bushfires raging over Australia’s summer to the rapid global spread of the COVID 19, crisis has become the new normal. Moments of societal upheaval can also be moments of rapid transformation, bringing about systems change at a faster pace and scale.

Using two case studies, this session will discuss how communities and organisations are turning crisis into opportunity to drive systems change. It will also highlight what direction philanthropy should take in this time of crisis and share evidence of how a systems lens can drive change on the ground.

This session will challenge thinking on how we can do things differently, putting woman and communities at the centre of change efforts and building powerful coalitions for change. Delegates will gain practical insights and they will also interact with Pacific women who are challenging a narrative of being the most vulnerable to one that maximises their agency and collective power.

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls
Board Co-Chair, Global Fund for Women

Kristina Stefanova
Co-Founder at Bundaleer Sustainable Investments

Tracey Spicer AM
Author, journalist, broadcaster

New power: donor organising and activism

Last conference, New Power author Jeremy Heimans inspired us to critically analyse old power philanthropy and to adopt the emergent, new power approaches that see philanthropy and civil society organising as active collaborators for sustained, large-scale change.

Since then, the need for significant reimagining and restructuring to tackle the interconnected issues of climate change, economic and social inequalities, health and First Nations justice has been amplified.

To be a key actor in this change, we need to embrace new power ways of doing philanthropy.  Funders must work more effectively with one another and with the rest of civil society, bringing all of the sector’s power and resources to bear and recasting ourselves from ‘funders’ to ‘organisers’.

A panel committed to new power philanthropy will share experiences and learnings in shifting to a practice that is future thinking, striving for structural change and truly collaborative – as an equal partner with civil society.

Georgia Mathews
Philanthropy and Engagement Manager, Australian Communities Foundation

Solome Lemma
Co-founder of Africa Responds

Deanne Weir
Weir Anderson Foundation and Chair, Mannifera

On the Right side of History: Unpacking the journey towards 100% Responsible Investing

As holders of significant capital, Foundations play a unique role in the social ecosystem.  Globally, Trusts and Foundations are being held to account for how they invest their capital.

Making a commitment to have 100% of the corpus responsibly invested seems like a daunting and impossible dream for majority of funders.  

In this session you will hear different funders speak candidly about their Foundation’s ambition to be 100% responsibly invested, why they set that target and how they got there. This involves thinking holistically about capital and its potential to achieve change, creating a future focused vision, aligning the different arms of the foundation, managing stakeholders, finding the right partners, pushing the boundaries and being prepared to make some tough calls.  

This session looks specifically at the leadership role Trusts and Foundations can play as responsible investors, but more importantly it offers a candid perspective on ‘what to do and how to get there’.


Amanda Miller
Co founder, Impact Generation Partners


Adam Milgrom
Venture Partner, Giant Lead Fund

Maree Sidey
CEO, Australian Communities Foundation

Leonard Vary
CEO, The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund

Litigating for Change: The New Frontier for Australian Philanthropy

Future generations depend on us holding those in power accountable now. But, how do we hold decision makers and those in power accountable when the existing methods in our toolbox are no longer yielding the outcomes they have in the past?

Strategic litigation is an advocacy tool with a hard edge that creates enormous impact. It has the power to hold decision-makers accountable in court by invalidating bad laws and policies and developing legal protection of vulnerable communities and groups.

Just as crucial are the campaigns run alongside litigation, outside the courts. They can leverage the legal process to mobilise communities for broader social change as well as leveraging losses and protecting wins in court from Governments legislating around them.

In this session you’ll hear form Grata Fund and some of its Australian and global partners who are working to build Australian civil society’s capacity for strategic litigation.

A different way to use philanthropy to generate social impact: philanthropic guarantees and lessons from the Journey to Social Inclusion case study

For almost a decade, Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion Program (J2SI) has supported people to break the cycle of homelessness. The program works on the premise that self-sustained, long-term housing provides a solid foundation to improve people’s lives.

Using the J2SI case study, this session will explore opportunities, challenges and future considerations for philanthropic guarantees in the context of the Australian social impact investment market.  It will focus on innovative and evidence-based solutions as well as lessons learned and opportunities presented by this mechanism, providing insights for future transactions of this nature.

This session is relevant to trustees, grant makers and investment managers who seek increased understanding of philanthropic guarantees (contingent grants) as an effective mechanism to extend social impact capital, that:

brings together government funding through impact bond-type structures, social impact investment and grants; and
addresses the issue of scale and impact, including lowering the cost of funding.

Land Futures – pathways to a sustainable food and land use system

Food, agriculture and land use systems must change if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.  These systems are critical to meeting the challenge of providing healthy, nutritious food for a growing global population, while also halting and reversing the rapid decline of natural systems and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change by reducing emissions and sequestering carbon.

Today’s investments will shape food, agriculture and land use systems for decades to come and we need to act now to avoid being locked into unsustainable pathways.  The Land Use Futures program is developing long-term pathways for transforming food, agriculture and land-use systems in Australia.

A panel of global and local leaders in food, agriculture and land use will discuss the global outlook for these issues, including the critical role of philanthropic investment to support Australia’s leadership in food, agriculture and land use transitions.

Philanthropy and Government working together

Wicked policy problems such as entrenched intergenerational disadvantage are huge challenges for governments. When systems, which are designed to be stable, are not delivering optimum outcomes, it takes disruption from the outside to catalyse positive change. 

Philanthropy can be the disrupter, the risk taker, the venture capital for social change – but this is only effective if it is backed in by government policy that maintains that change.

Two Foundations, Mornington Peninsula Foundation and Colman Foundation, have taken on this challenge.  While there has been a lot of rhetoric about government partnering with philanthropy, there are few models working at scale or demonstrating sustainable co-operation. 

This session explores how two foundations are going about it.

What makes good work, good?

Among OECD countries, Australia has one of the highest shares (13%) of employees working in short part-time jobs.  There’s been increasing demand from both employers and employees for more independent and flexible work – but casualisation and flexibility can have adverse effects on some cohorts, especially young people.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on those working in casual and gig type jobs, with many people unable to supplement their income, stop working or work remotely.

This session will uncover what Good Work is and how philanthropy can protect workers in this age of continuous disruption and ensure that a ‘Good Work Standard’ is available to all.

This session will present insights into flexible work in Australia; lived experience accounts of flexible work from young people; policy solutions for good work standards and civil society’s role in ensuring good work standards.


We are also developing a further range of workshops including:

Corporate philanthropy

​Decolonising wealth – transforming Australian philanthropy

Pay what it takes philanthropy

Place-based, community-led and long-term: community foundations and regional emergency response

Purposefully measuring and improving Australia's social progress

“Splash in the shallows…” (and introduction to grantmaking)

The climate lens in action

Australian Philanthropy Awards – case studies session 1

Australian Philanthropy Awards – case studies session 2

Australian Philanthropy Awards – case studies session 3

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COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

Access the Australian Communities Foundation National Funding Portal for philanthropic funders to connect with the funding opportunities available to tackle COVID-19.

Access Portal here