Reconciliation Action Plan

Philanthropy Australia and Reconciliation

In 2021, Philanthropy Australia made the decision to embark on its first Reconciliation Action Plan, beginning with a Reflect RAP to further develop our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples partners, deciding on a vision for reconciliation and exploring our sphere of influence.

Our journey began in 1999 with the convening of our first Indigenous Infinity Group, and we have since worked with our members to acknowledge and address the unique challenges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations encounter when engaging with the philanthropic sector. As the peak body for philanthropy, Philanthropy Australia facilitates discussions, convenes members, encourages collaboration, celebrates good practice and provides information to its members to ensure they are aware of issues that concern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as relates to Philanthropy.

We hope you will take the time to read our RAP, and explore the timeline of how engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has developed both in the philanthropic sector and at Philanthropy Australia. The work is still evolving and there is much to be done, so we invite you to follow and participate in our journey, with the hope that what we learn along the way can assist you with your own reflection and practice.

Our Vision for Reconciliation

Philanthropy Australia acknowledges and respects the special connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with the lands and waters on which we live and work. We acknowledge this connection extends back more than 65,000 years and carries with it a special contribution by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which renders this place we call Australia unique and distinct among all lands.

As the peak national organisation for philanthropy with a quest to inspire more and better philanthropy, we have an opportunity and responsibility to influence and promote a philanthropy that:

  • delivers practical, positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities;
  • supports constitutional recognition and a Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
  • leads to self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a movement of the Australian people for a better future – unless we walk together, we believe there can be no better future.

Philanthropy Australia draws upon the connection and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a source of national pride, identity and strength. We also acknowledge the material wealth, privilege and power which philanthropy holds and the opportunities this provides.

As we go about our work, we seek to build and nurture deep, authentic relationships which require an enhanced internal cultural understanding within Philanthropy Australia. We see our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as a critical element in this process.

From these relationships and through the RAP, we will seek to foster and broaden the cultural competency of the wider philanthropic sector in a way which builds deep and genuine partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and philanthropies for mutual benefit.

In particular, Philanthropy Australia will:

  • provide thought leadership and case studies with our members which encourage values-based, ethical and informed practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples philanthropy;
  • encourage our members to collaborate with one another, with the aim of providing sustainable, long term funding support for communities in greatest need; and
  • convene our members and the wider sector to learn from one another by providing safe, high-trust settings in which people can have open and honest conversations about their challenges and learnings.

We will implement our RAP consistent with our value of humility – we know we don’t have all the answers and we look to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Elders, leaders and communities. We will grow from our mistakes and vulnerabilities, and we will carve out time to be still and listen deeply.

We enthusiastically embrace this RAP as an important stepping stone to a better future for all Australians.

Jack Heath, CEO, Philanthropy Australia

Philanthropy Australia Reflect RAP

Our RAP Artwork

Artwork Name: Gobata Kinkinbil (Take Care of People)

“This artwork is a celebration of community and connection, as we all come together as one. Our ancestors and Elders travelled these same lands sharing their culture, sharing their stories and ideas, and it is now our responsibility to take care of and nurture our Country home.

The top right-hand corner of the artwork illustrates our beautiful sun rising high in the sky, providing the land and its people with a vital source of life. The sun is connected all the other elements of the artwork, illustrating how we all rely on the sun for warmth, healing and light. The pink, golden sun rising high above the land holds the spirits, knowledge and stories of our past and present Elders, whilst below is our home land. The colours depict the Ochre that comes from our land Country.

Running through the centre of the artwork is the blue of our water Country, including our coastal Country, rivers and wetlands. The flowing water is also symbolic of our journey together as we all travel on Country as one in unity.

In the top left-hand corner of the artwork is the symbol for meeting place, a place where we can all gather together to yarn and share stories. Within the centre of the meeting place is the symbol for ‘people/person’, recognising the significance of all the people within our community, and those that have shaped who we are. The central meeting place is connected to all other elements through journey lines – symbolising our connection to not only one another, but also our land Country, the community, our culture, and our heritage.

The traditional ‘∩’ shapes represent people on Wadawurrung Country, as they move around the tracks weaving back and forth across the land sharing their stories, history and culture. The eucalyptus leaves symbolise our land Country and all our beautiful native Australian fauna.

Surrounding the eucalyptus leaves, is the symbol for ‘stars’, a representation of our Elders and their spirits surrounding us, providing guidance, wisdom and strength.

Near the centre of the artwork is the symbol for meeting place/yarn circle representing our community coming together as one in unity. The connected journey lines are also symbolic of our cultural, spiritual and community continuity – how we must continue to look after one another and our land, in order for the land and community to continue to provide and care for us.

As we have cared for this land for thousands of years, the Country has reciprocated and cared for us providing healthy and nourished land and water, allowing us to create new life and spirit.

Nyatne (Thank You)”

Executive RAP Working Group

The development of Philanthropy Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was supported by an Executive RAP Working Group comprised of leading voices in First Nations Philanthropy in Australia, members of our board, our CEO and staff. We are honoured and humbled to have the expertise of such an experienced and esteemed group of First Nations leaders and we thank them sincerely for their time and energy.

  • Adrian Appo OAM, Gureng Gureng man
  • Leah Armstrong, Torres Strait Islander woman, Managing Director, First Australians Capital
  • Mundanara Bayles, Wonnarua and Bundjalung woman, Managing Director, BlackCard
  • Rob Brittain, Ballardong Noongar man, Trustee, Noongar Charitable Trust
  • Anthony Cavanagh, Taungurung man, PA board member and CEO, Ganbina
  • Traci Williams, Wakka Wakka woman, PhD Candidate
  • Amanda Miller, PA Board Co-Chair and Co-Founder, Impact Generation Partners
  • Jon Cheung, PA Board Member and Partner, Prolegis Lawyers
  • Stacey Thomas, PA Board Member and CEO, Wyatt Trust
  • Jack Heath, CEO, Philanthropy Australia
  • Adam Ognall, Executive Director of Engagement, Philanthropy Australia
  • Vicki Norton, Director, Strategic Projects, Philanthropy Australia


If you have any questions regarding Philanthropy Australia’s Vision for Reconciliation or our First Nations Funders Peer Network, please contact us at [email protected]