Stories in Philanthropy

Reflections on our best-case philanthropy

At the end of the week that we announced and celebrated some of the best examples of Australian philanthropy, there’s time to consider what made the Australian Philanthropy Award recipients stand out. We spoke to all the recipients and during the interviews, various common themes started to emerge. More>

Published 19 November 2021


The humble figure behind a generation of giving

Australian philanthropy’s highest honour, the Leading Philanthropist Award, was awarded to Tim Fairfax AC for his significant and enduring contributions to rural and regional Australia, as well as his passionate support and advocacy for organisations involved in education, arts and culture. 

Tim cheerfully admits that philanthropy is in his “DNA’’. His parents, Sir Vincent Fairfax and Lady Nancy Fairfax, were philanthropists in an era when the activity was still an emerging practice in Australia. It was, Tim admits, probably groundbreaking in its way. More>

Published 17 November 2021


It takes time to make a difference


Tourists passing through Cummins and its hinterland on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula see a charming township with a strong sense of its history, surrounded by rich farming land and a handy proximity to some stunning beaches. What tourists see, however, is not always the reality. Like every town, every Australian community, there are issues, particularly around mental health.

Thanks to a unique approach that recasts the philanthropic model to provide a long-term and place-based approach to empower communities to resolve their own mental health challenges, Cummins is working on its own solutions. It’s a program called Our Town, and it’s delivered across 10 years with the Fay Fuller Foundation to Cummins and several other small South Australian towns. More>

Published 17 November 2021


In on the ground floor


It now seems a simple idea – using an app to help children, families, and teachers with a resource to improve kids’ well-being and to develop their resilience. But back in 2012, when co-founders of Smiling Mind, Jane Martino, and James Tutton, devised an app that brought a mental health solution to a kid’s phone, it was ground-breaking.

It was not far removed from funding a start-up: speculative and risky perhaps. Except the Gandel Foundation had no qualms: it had funded mental health initiatives in the past and it came in on the ground floor with Smiling Mind. More>

Published 17 November 2021


Small grants but big wins


It’s a simple observation that a crisis creates opportunities – for change and reform. The status quo is upended. Needs become greater, and solutions more urgent. For advocates working in community-led grassroots organisations, the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 instantly posed challenges but also gave them opportunities to work in the cracks the pandemic had created, to shift policy and drive outcomes.

In March 2020, Australian Progress joined with the Australian Council of Social Service and Australian Communities Foundation to establish a Rapid Advocacy Fund that would help support some of those grassroots advocacy campaigns that could make a difference. More>

Published 17 November 2021


How to build community belief in time of crisis


When the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived in Victoria in autumn last year, the Inner North Community Foundation that covers three local council areas in Melbourne responded by tapping into its experience, network, and profile to deliver rapid response grants.

To help, the Foundation applied – and received within two days from the ATO – a temporary Disaster Relief Fund DGR1 status that meant it could receive contributions from PAFs while broadening its capacity to support local groups. More>

Published 17 November 2021


Revealing many of our inconvenient truths


In an era when information about the state of the environment is so complex, diverse, and frequently contested, trusted and reliable sources have great value. But allowing those sources the time to identify, develop and check that information can be a fraught process. It needs patience and perseverance. And a belief that the commitment will be worth it.

In 2019, the Limb Family Foundation started funding Guardian Australia's environmental investigative reporting. The funding was to help give Guardian Australia journalists the time to dig deeper and peel back the layers on a range of highly important environmental issues. More>

Published 17 November 2021


A new path to changing our politics


In only five years, the Pathways to Politics Program has built an important place in the on-going discussions about gender equality and increased participation of women at all levels of politics. The program was catalyzed by the Trawalla Foundation in 2016 with the University of Melbourne and the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia. And since it started, 45 program alumni have run for election or stood for pre-selection. Thirteen of them have been elected across local, state, or federal government. More>

Published 17 November 2021


Trusting community vision for better outcomes


Maari Ma, an Aboriginal-controlled community controlled regional health organisation in far west NSW, had a goal to establish a playgroup for Aboriginal children as part of a strategic framework document around Aboriginal child development and well-being.

The playgroup for Aboriginal children would be led by an early childhood trained teacher and supported by clinic-based staff. And that’s where the CAGES Foundation came in, taking the first step in a partnership with Maari Ma. And it’s been a partnership that has been distinguished by respect, autonomy, trust, and longevity. More>

Published 17 November 2021


Developing the best health protection in emergency response


The devastation in Vanuatu that followed in the wake of Cyclone Harold last year left Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) confronting challenges about the islands’ sanitation and public health response. EWB realised it needed help to find a solution and turned to one of its partners, engineering firm Arup Australasia, to work with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health on what became guidelines that could change lives. More>

Published 17 November 2021


Gallery inspiration puts Fringe at centre of collaboration


In May this year, after so many arts organisations were exhausted from trying to survive a year of pandemic-induced challenges, the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation in Adelaide hatched a plan to provide some respite and inspiration for some local arts organisations.

In those moments of candour and vulnerability some new relationships were forged, and the result is an initiative that places the Adelaide Fringe and the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation at the centre of a new South Australian arts collaboration. More>

Published 12 November 2021


When the music makes magic


In some parts of the country, it’s called Moorambilla Magic. It’s the kind of description that is instantly understandable to those children and parents who have gone through the Moorambilla experience – and felt the power and connection that comes from learning, singing, and performing together. Others will perhaps remember it as the subject of a documentary simply called Outback Choir.

The spark for the ‘Magic’ dates to 2006, in western NSW, where a couple of old friends hatched a plan to create a unique program that identifies primary school and high school voices and then helps transform them into performers at an annual concert that celebrates local First Nation’s stories. Even describing it in such prosaic terms doesn’t quite capture how and why it all works. More>

Published 5 November 2021


10 Questions with Amanda Martin OAM


This week, in 10 Questions, on the eve of the COP26 summit in Glasgow we speak to Amanda Martin OAM, CEO of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, about how every dollar spent on climate action today, means less harm to address in the future. More>

Published 29 October 2021


Breaking new ground in treating women’s mental health


The idea for Australia’s first women’s-only mental health facility didn’t emerge in a lightbulb moment – it’s a concept that has been widely recognised within clinical circles as having intrinsic benefits by providing a safer, potentially more supportive environment for women. But making it happen? Well, that’s a bit harder. More>

Published 29 October 2021


Behind First Nation's scholarships


A quick scan of the Balnaves Foundation’s history of supporting First Nations people reveals a long-standing commitment to help shape positive outcomes: 12 years ago, it started funding Indigenous Medicine Scholarships at the University of NSW, recognising that financial disadvantage was a challenge for some Indigenous students.

Now, the Foundation is supporting the National Institute of Dramatic Art with a scholarship for First Nations students: from medicine to the arts, all through the prism of supporting talented First Nations students to find and build a career. More>

Published 15 October 2021


When it comes to medicine, one size doesn’t fit all


Professor Anna DeFazio has been a cancer researcher for more than a generation. She spent a long time researching breast cancer and for the past 20 years, ovarian cancer. She knows only too well that there are 1300 Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Progress on reducing that figure has been slow.

At the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in western Sydney, precision medicine has become an integral part of their approach to researching a range of diseases and radically changing patient care. And Anna is part of that new approach. More>

Published 8 October 2021


10 Questions - 
“Like the Beatles, getting by with a little help from our friends…’’


This week in 10 Questions, Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies’ Director Associate Professor Wendy Scaife reflects on the Centre's 20-year journey and discusses donor stagnation, an open role for more high net worth Australians and trying to understand why people give - and don't give. And what does Wendy think about growing giving?  More>

Published 1 October 2021


A milestone built on stories to inspire us​


Such milestones are always worthy of celebration, but also an opportunity to pause, draw a breath or two and reflect on where we’ve come from, and importantly, the stories that we’ve told across those editions.

This edition picks out 10 stories from across the Philanthropy Weekly journey, capturing a range of responses, innovations, advocacy and thinking across the landscape of philanthropic activity during the lifetime of our weekly newsletter.  More>

Published 24 September 2021


Social impact forecast: expect winds of change


What do tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, basketballer Matthew Dellavedova, cricketers Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc and footballer Nat Fyfe have in common with a ‘loo roll?

It’s not a trick question – the answer is the eco-friendly toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap, which recently announced a $41.5 million funding round on the back of a diverse set of investors including Cannon-Brookes, a list of corporate supporters, and a group of sportsmen and women. More>

Published 24 September 2021


Local legacy to build community strength


The story behind the Bakers Dozen Social Justice Fund is about generosity and building a more equitable community in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs. 
Thanks to the bequest of Dr Christopher Baker and Ms Kerri Hall, the Inner North Community Foundation’s new flagship fund - the Bakers Dozen Social Justice Fund - will announce its first grant recipients next week. More>

Published 10 September 2021


Turning to tech for mobility solution


A few years ago Melissa Fuller and Johan du Plessis started AbilityMade, and began a journey that brought technology, philanthropy and innovation together to create a medical device that has changed lives. More>

Published 10 September 2021


10 Questions - "We aren’t the ones with the expertise"


The Barlow Impact Group recently launched its new vision, including an annual $1 million grant through its B.I.G. Change Program to address inequality in our region. Deborah Barlow, CEO, the Barlow Impact Group, answered 10 Questions from Philanthropy Weekly about what’s behind the vision and what it means to reimagine philanthropy. More>

Published 3 September 2021


Taking philanthropy “to dream’’


John Harding was living in Sydney, plying his trade as an actor, director and playwright, when he returned to Melbourne, looking for a new challenge. He wasn’t particularly interested in full-time work until he saw an advertisement at the Koori Heritage Trust for a philanthropic intern.
As John remembers it, that was the first time he became aware of a role for an Indigenous person to become involved in philanthropy. More>

Published 27 August 2021

Changing women’s sport, from playing field to board room

 Applying a modern prism to the great global sportsfest that is the Olympic Games can lead you down many paths. One of them will be questions about diversity. Another will be about how that diversity applies to women in sports’ leadership roles. 

If the Olympics reveals anything, it is how much progress we have made on these issues during the usual four-year cycle between the Games. This time, because of the pandemic, we have five years to reflect on. And thanks to research from Victoria University, we also have a notion of what progress Australia has made and how much further it needs to go. More>

Published 20 August 2021


Community shows the way to sharing culture

At the heart of the Sharing Stories Foundation’s work is the protection, maintenance, and growth of First Nation’s cultural knowledge. Executive Officer, Dr Liz Thompson, explains how the Foundation's community-led approach embraces participatory grantmaking for cultural continuity, production and distribution of rich outcomes. More>

Published 13 August 2021

Exploring data’s role in shaping post-pandemic giving


During the past 18 months, we have been able to access a combination of new and established data to give us a clearer picture about how philanthropy and the for-purpose sector has coped with the bushfire and COVID crisis. But what does this data tell us about the challenges the sector faces? What does it say about how we can plot our way forward? And how can we use the data to help shape policy?

In our podcast this week, we hear from JBWere’s John McLeod, Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre for Social Impact, Strive Philanthropy co-founder Jarrod Miles and Seer Data & Analytics CEO Kristi Mansfield, who offer their perspectives on what the data shows and where we go from here. More>

Published 13 August 2021


Plotting the path out of the pandemic

For someone who has helped to improve the future of many young Australians through his social enterprise’s focus on youth unemployment, Luke Terry, CEO of White Box Enterprises, feels the urgency to address the pandemic’s economic fall-out.

Luke believes the question of how philanthropy can support the economic recovery goes directly to the deep impact COVID-19 has had – and continues to have – on the most vulnerable in the nation. And Luke has spent 15 years trying to ensure those vulnerable young Australians can enjoy the dignity that goes with having a job, as well as the economic benefit that accompanies it. More>

Published 6 August 2021

Sharing digital tools to bridge the divide

The Good Things Foundation is a digital inclusion NFP that works with a network of on-ground partners to help those struggling to connect to the digital world because now, more than ever, not being part of the digital environment can have profound economic, social and health consequences.  

The Digital Nation Australia 2021 report released this week reveals that although there has been significant improvement in some areas, there remains concerns about some vulnerable Australians who are at risk of digital exclusion. More>

Published 6 August 2021

Cities at the centre of knowledge collaboration


Back in the day, when the research-based news and analysis website The Conversation was building its impressive audience across Australia and New Zealand, there was little discussion about philanthropy’s potential for funding journalism.
The Conversation Australia and New Zealand and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation came together over an idea that worked so well that it has continued for six years. And the data shows just how powerful the collaboration between funders and public interest journalism can be. More>

Published 23 July 2021

Shifting the granting balance to change outcomes​

The catchcry to shift the power balance in grantmaking is simple: “Nothing about us without us.’’ But how far have we come in Australia with grantmaking that seeks to devolve philanthropy and enable new voices to be heard?
We focus on participatory grantmaking, as we explore the Australian scene to provide some compelling case studies where the principles behind the practice have provided some new ways of tackling old problems. More>

Published 16 July 2021

The peer review program tackling disadvantage

The Paul Ramsay Foundation’s Peer to Peer Program, which is run in partnership with Philanthropy Australia, brought together 10 Australian NFPs to use problem-solving methodology to reduce disadvantage. The process, more fundamentally, also delivered some important insights into how this form of participatory grantmaking can shift the conventional dynamics of funding. More>

Published 16 July 2021

How a new grantmaking approach works

It might have been a conversational and unconventional approach to grantmaking, but it worked for Cool Australia when it engaged with AET to secure funding for a special project. More>

Published 16 July 2021

How racism impacts Indigenous health

Australian researchers revealed the toxic link between racism and the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. The landmark national study involved more than 8000 participants from the national Indigenous-led Mayi Kuwayu Study, which includes support from philanthropic partners Gandel Philanthropy and The Ian Potter Foundation. More>

Published 9 July 2021

Answering the big questions for rural youth

Beyond our cities, in the regions and rural Australia, the challenges confronting young people often devolves to the single thought:
what happens next?
The Rural Youth Network initiative, developed by Youthrive Victoria, offers the promise of giving young people the benefit of the experience of those who have already confronted this question of what happens next and can help others find their own answer. It has a simple goal: to blend the best of local rural and regional communities with the best of online opportunities. More>

Published 2 July 2021

Australian women donors search for impact

New research on what drives Australian women’s giving points to opportunities for many smaller charities and organisations to benefit from establishing a strong connection with potential female donors. More>

Published 18 June 2021

Mission complete: time to go

Last month, an email was sent around to supporters and funders of the organisation, One Disease, to let them know of a recent development. More>

Published 11 June 2021

Taking the lead on sustainability

The message is a simple one – living for the future – and it’s the title of property group Stockland’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy that aims to “…regenerate the environment, ignite inclusive prosperity, and inspire people to thrive.’’ The Strategy is the result of eight years’ work, reflecting Stockland’s engagement with sustainability through the design, delivery and operations of its assets and its communities. Critical to that work – and the new vision – is Stockland’s CARE Foundation. More>

Published 11 June 2021

Awards case studies 2020

Last year’s Australian Philanthropy Awards recognised achievements in extraordinary philanthropy for work that is visionary, high impact and transformative. They also celebrate partnerships between philanthropy and for-purpose organisations and honour those who are working to create lasting, positive change. Watch how the recipients of the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards have made a difference in the communities in which they have served. 

Published 11 June 2021

New report reveals charities burdened by fundraising red tape

An independent survey of more than 600 charities and NFPs reveals a significant number of Australian charities are caught up in fundraising red tape that limits their capacity to pursue essential fundraising activities and philanthropic support. The Fundraising Survey 2021 report highlights that 40 percent of Australian charities find current fundraising rules are “an unnecessary financial burden” while 1 in 5 charities believe the current rules and regulations have become an impediment to fundraising. More>

Published 4 June 2021

Funders key role in global mental health advocacy

Elisha London, the Australian Founder of the for-purpose organisation United for Global Mental Health, believes philanthropy has an opportunity to support advocacy that can help drive revolutionary changes to mental health programs. More>

Published 4 June 2021

Thinking differently about the future of "home"

After seven years of research, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) has just released a publication that recognises that more than 45 percent of Australian households live in a way that holds them back. That old notion of the Australian love affair with the quarter acre block may actually be stopping many of us getting ahead. It’s a new way of looking at the notion of “home’’ but it’s central to the approach behind TACSI’s The Future of Home.  As Brugh O’Brien, Principal: Future of Home at TACSI says, there is widespread agreement that “home and the housing system’’ in Australia is broken. More>

Published 21 May 2021

Data and collaboration to solve rough sleeping

Street sleeping is all too frequent in modern cities and increasingly regional towns. A new approach built on the belief that street sleeping can be solved is being rolled out as part of a NSW-wide collaboration involving government, philanthropy and not-for-profits. The approach features the combination of collaboration and data to enable rough sleepers’ personal stories to become the fundamental step towards changing their circumstance and ultimately ending the problem. More>

Published 21 May 2021

Still work to do to improve women’s economic security

The much-anticipated Women's Budget Statement released this week has generally been welcomed but for some funders working in the gender space, there is still plenty of scope for structural change and sustainable, multi-year funding to improve women’s health, safety and economic security. Last week, the Ecstra Foundation announced $2.1 million in new funding to several organisations boosting women’s employment opportunities and economic security. More>

Published 14 May 2021

No budget relief for challenged charity sector

A financially vulnerable charity sector has found few major Budget initiatives to ameliorate the twin pressures of increased demand and diminished revenue driven by the combined bushfire, floods and pandemic crises of last year. In the lead-up to the federal budget, a new report found that more than half of the nation’s charities faced some form of temporary closure last year, and three-quarters reported that recent events had put a strain on their financial operations. More>

Published 14 May 2021

Blueprint: a deeper dive

At the 2021 Philanthropy Australia National Conference, we released A Blueprint to Grow Structured Giving, with the goal of doubling Australia’s giving from $2.5 billion to $5 billion annually in the next decade. This week, we kickstart the discussion with a deeper look at three of the Blueprint’s elements. More>

Published 29 April 2021

Plan to double Australian giving starts with new blueprint​

Philanthropy Australia’s new roadmap to double Australian structured giving to $5 billion by 2030 has been unveiled, with a focus on 10 initiatives that aim to reduce regulation, develop research and boost place-based giving. The document, entitled 'A Blueprint to Grow Structured Giving', was launched on the first day of Philanthropy Australia’s conference by PA CEO Jack Heath. More>

Published 22 April 2021

New community foundation for South Australia

South Australia’s new statewide community foundation, Foundation SA will launch next week, providing a new giving opportunity for many donors and increasing support for a range of local communities. Foundation SA was established with seed-funding from South Australia’s own Wyatt Trust, and aims to grow to $10 million within 10 years. More>

Published 22 April 2021

‘Philanthropy’ is a word for our times​

"I want to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of so many philanthropists – especially those I have had the privilege to meet these past few months. Your generosity, over many decades, has woven the rich tapestry that is Philanthropy Australia today. And there has never been a more important time for Australian philanthropy." 

Our CEO, Jack Heath, introduces the Philanthropy Australia National Conference 2021. More>

Published 22 April 2021

Philanthropy leader honoured at conference

One of Australia’s best-known philanthropists, David Gonski AC, has been made a life member of Philanthropy Australia. David’s addition to the list of PA life members coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs), of which he was a key instigator, working with the Howard government on the much-lauded innovation. More>

Published 22 April 2021

Anniversary of reform that ushered in new era of giving

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction of private ancillary funds in Australia. Twenty years ago, a small group of business people, community leaders and philanthropists convened by then Prime Minister John Howard, put the finishing touches on an initiative that was designed to encourage greater corporate and personal philanthropy in Australia. 
The group he convened was called the Prime Minister’s Business Community Partnership. It included Sydney businessman David Gonski and Philanthropy Australia’s then CEO Elizabeth Cham. Twenty years on, Mr Howard urged Australians to build on what had been achieved. More>

Published 22 April 2021

New way to support regional needs

Last November the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission gave charitable registration status to Give2Asia Australia, the local arm of the US organization that has been a conduit for overseas giving for 20 years. The ACNC’s decision means that Australian-based corporations, foundations and individuals will be able to give to qualified overseas non-profits using the Give2Asia network. Next week, Give2Asia Australia will formally launch with high hopes that it will be able to work closely with our Asian neighbours by offering tax deductions to stimulate Australians’ individual and corporate giving. More>

Published 14 April 2021

Tackling cervical cancer in the Western Pacific​

A collaboration between philanthropy and health researchers is poised to leverage Australia’s international leadership on the elimination of cervical cancer to reduce the incidence of the disease in the Western Pacific.
The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cervical Cancer Control (C4) has joined with the Minderoo Foundation to establish the cervical cancer program that will be rolled out in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. More>

Published 31 March 2021

Leaving a legacy that helps regions grow

When it comes to growing giving in regional and rural Australia, there are not many new ways to explore how best to tap into the generosity of the nation’s regions. But shimmering in the distance is the notion of a bequest campaign that could potentially unlock millions of dollars in the passing of wealth between generations.

For Sarah Thompson, Executive Director of the Into Our Hands Community Foundation in north-east Victoria, the transfer of wealth in her region offered significant potential but also its share of difficulties. More>

Published 31 March 2021

Creativity key to adapting

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the Kids Plus Foundation had to change how it delivered its services. The challenges were significant – not just from a service delivery perspective but also the practical burden on families. But in the aftermath, some of those innovations have been built into the Foundation’s operations.

In this Q and A, Kelsey Jamieson, Executive General Manager of Therapy Services at Kids Plus Foundation and Kristy Waugh, Social Worker and Senior Support Coordinator at the Foundation, reflect on what changed during the pandemic. More>

Published 31 March 2021

“How often can you get a half a billion-dollar return on a $100,000 grant?​"

It started with a grant of $100,000 and just over six months later, there was a half billion dollar outcome and a significant re-direction in government education policy. By any measure, the collaboration between The Origin Foundation and the Grattan Institute to help shift governments’ policy for disadvantaged school children who were at risk of losing contact with their peers through the COVID-19-imposed remote schooling, was a remarkable feat. And it's a compelling example of how systems change is triggered and driven. More>

Published 31 March 2021


Securing a future for youth at risk

Consider this: your agency has been active in the community sector for 31 years, providing a vital service that makes a difference. You present to a state government committee inquiry, outlining the scale of the problem you are trying to help. Later, when the inquiry report is handed down, your agency is name-checked as an example of the innovative response to the problem that needs to be applied more often. What happens next? What do you and your organisation do? How do you take that endorsement and build momentum for change?

Jo Swift, the CEO of Kids Under Cover, is living that dilemma. The Victorian Government has six months to respond to the report, and everyone trying to grapple with youth homelessness knows that time is a luxury. Where does that leave Kids Under Cover? More>

Published 17 March 2021 

The view from our next generation of advocates

What do young advocates want from philanthropy? Where is philanthropy’s place in helping to prioritise the national needs? How can philanthropy be part of building a sustainable and inclusive future for Australia? In a two-part series, we publish a diverse range of views from young advocates addressing Philanthropy Australia’s conference theme – Future Needs Now? More>

Published 11 March 2021

After the Royal Commission- next steps to a better future for aged care

After two years of often harrowing evidence, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety last week released its final report, providing 148 recommendations for a sector that requires significant change to cope with the demands of an ageing population.

Kerry Jones, Director, Systems Initiative, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, outlines in a special Q & A the importance of research and innovation in the aged care sector and the role philanthropy can play in supporting the report’s recommendations. More>

Published 11 March 2021

Exhibiting a life-long passion for museum education

No one at the Australian Museum really had any idea just how big a legacy their former colleague Patricia McDonald was going to leave the institution. Now they know and the story behind the McDonald bequest has become a heartwarming source of inspiration for those considering a similar legacy. More>

Published 4 March 2021

Putting “how" at the centre of climate debate

Let’s start the discussion on what to do about climate change at a different point. More>

Published 25 February 2021

Corporates dig deep in time of crisis

In the mosaic of national generosity that was driven by bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, the contribution of corporate philanthropy reached record heights in 2020. More>

Published 17 February 2021

Finding the data to drive diversity

By the middle of the month, Canadian senator Ratna Omidvar will have the first part of what could be a step towards what she calls “nation building of another kind.’’ More>

Published 4 February 2021

Now we’re talking - about race, power, equity and justice


Edgar Villanueva says you would never have heard the words “white supremacy’’ or “decolonization’ at a philanthropy conference three years ago. Yet in two months’ time, the philanthropic activist and author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to heal Divides and Restore Balance, will be a keynote speaker at Philanthropy Australia’s conference asking what’s changed? Is it a worried world that’s turned or is it philanthropy itself? More>

Published 10 February 2021

When there is no better time than now

After a tumultuous global 12 months, the thoughts of planning for a future made more complex by a pandemic’s deep economic impact can lead to an urgent alternative - to act now. Naina Subberwal Batra, chairperson and CEO Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, certainly thinks that there are opportunities to make a difference right now. More>

Published 28 January 2021

The compelling questions for philanthropy’s future

International guest speaker Phil Buchanan, President of The Center for Effective Philanthropy in Massachusetts, joins us for Philanthropy Australia's National Conference 2021 to delve into the question of what philanthropy needs to do for the future in order to rebuild society. More>

Published 26 November 2020

Campaigning for equal access to new vaccines

As the world waits for the arrival of a vaccine that may end the spread of COVID-19, an urgent advocacy campaign has kicked off in Australia to ensure poor countries have fair access to the vaccines. More>

Published 2 December 2020

Criminal record reform to provide more opportunities for rehabilitation

After years of consultation, lobbying, research and engagement, Victoria is about to become the last state in Australia to have its own spent convictions’ legislation. More>

Published 16 December 2020

Making connections to help build social capital

“Living in a more connected way isn’t just pleasurable, it enables us to tackle larger challenges. Problems such as climate change, inequality, inactivity and loneliness threaten our future. Solving them will require collective action. In all of human history, there’s few instances in which a crisis was resolved by one person acting alone.’’ Andrew Leigh and Nick Terrell, Reconnected: A community builder’s handbook. More>

Published 16 December 2020

The nurturing power of Philanthropy 

Esteemed philanthropist, business leader, advocate and commentator Carol Schwartz AO has been recognised as this year's Leading Philanthropist. More>

Leveraging a grant to create affordable housing

Three years ago, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation in Melbourne embarked on the Affordable Housing Challenge as a means of addressing the shortage of affordable housing across the city. The Foundation had for many years supported people experiencing homelessness with a range of initiatives: this time, the thinking was different. What if the Foundation became a key player in using philanthropy’s risk capital to devise a new model of affordable housing? More>

Learning and sharing how to "never forget"

The seeds of what would become a national initiative to transform Holocaust studies in Australia began 11 years ago with a small group of Victorian teachers who were sent to the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for a week-long seminar. Gandel Philanthropy saw the potential of the small teacher education program then funded by the B’nai B’rith organisation, particularly its connection with Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, the global benchmark for Holocaust education. More>

Breaking the drought, step by step

It takes something special to arrest the decline of a community struggling to survive the impacts of drought, business closures and a population decline. And sometimes that something special is a grant program that gives locals a hand-up. And that’s where the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together drought-relief grant program comes in. More>

"I thought I had to be older to do this"

On the official scale of social disadvantage in Australia, the Geelong suburbs of Norlane and Corio fare badly. Life for families, and especially kids, in those suburbs is not easy. Along with many other challenges, there is one recurring issue – how do local schools keep the kids engaged? Geelong Kids as Catalysts - a place-based program designed to give primary school children the opportunity to drive community change - is addressing these very questions. More>

A vision for the Northern Territory's renewable future

Developed in partnership with the Environment Centre Northern Territory, the 10 Gigawatt Vision is a comprehensive plan to use abundant sunshine and low-cost solar energy to revolutionise the Northern Territory’s (NT) economy. The Vision shows that by 2030, the NT government could drive investment in 10 gigawatts of renewable energy - 20 times the current renewable energy target. More>

Providing the vital support to boost financial wellbeing

When the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence delivered its report in 2016, it identified financial security as one of the pillars of recovery for women who had been in a violent relationship. Organisations working in the sector already understood the nature and scale of the problem. That's why the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) and the Brian and Virginia McNamee Foundation partnered to establish The Purse Project, a financial capability program devised for family violence victim-survivors. More>

Telling the stories that matter

Philanthropy and journalism are rare collaborators in Australia. It’s also true that mainstream Australian journalism has shown little interest in deep engagement and investigative reporting of Indigenous affairs. Both of those things changed when The Balnaves Foundation funded an Indigenous Affairs reporter for three years at Guardian Australia. More>

A partnership at the heart of tackling poverty

Since 2015, Accenture’s partnership with Good Return has enabled more than 7,500 people in Cambodia and Nepal to complete Good Return’s financial capability training program. The program has demonstrated strong behaviour change outcomes, along with increases in the knowledge and awareness, confidence and financial well-being of participants, the vast majority of whom are women. More>

Philanthropy Australia Podcast

The Philanthropy Australia Podcast is the destination for those interested in the issues, the debates, and the thinking around philanthropy.

In each episode, we'll bring you a short discussion about what's engaging the nation's philanthropists, and those in the 'for purpose' sector. Whether it's a discussion about what it means to be a philanthropist in Australia, guidance to improve your giving practise, or information about PA's signature thought-leading events, this podcast is for you. More>

What it takes to embrace a bold approach to grantmaking

There are several key words that are central to Kathy Reich’s view about grantmaking – they are trust, candour, control and perhaps most important of all, relationships. More>

Ted the AI Avatar

Designed to help improve communication with people living with dementia, Ted gives aged care workers the opportunity, through trial and error, to learn good communication techniques in a safe learning environment, all through the technology of a VR headset.

Ted is a joint initiative between Dementia Australia and Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, but he owes his existence to a range of funders who have helped Dementia Australia on the technology journey for the past seven years. More>

Asking the tough questions about our impact investment choices

A few years ago, Dan Madhavan observed that impact investing was a three-hour film and we were only 10 minutes in. It’s the kind of comment that leads in only one direction – are we further into the movie now? More>

Advocating for those on the frontlines of climate change

Seed Mob is a small but dedicated group of young Indigenous environmental activists who are part of the broader Australian Youth Climate Coalition. More particularly, Seed Mob strives to reconcile its campaigning and advocacy with developing young leaders to drive change in their communities across the country. More>

Innovation drives regeneration

“I think we have seen for the past decade or more, a blurring of the lines between profit and not-for-profit,’’ WWF Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman says. “And that’s not a bad thing. We’re seeing commercial players deliver more purpose-type impacts in their business and we’ve seen NfPs now move more to commercial-type operations.’’ More>

How philanthropy helps support new approach to water resources

After more than two years of research and analysis, The Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation, have established a national and fully independent policy centre focused on helping improve the way decisions are made about water and catchments across Australia. More>

Funders and advocates collaborate to restore what was lost

When Erika Hoyosama watched her colleague Rob Purves rise to speak at the 2017 Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network conference in Melbourne, she had no idea what Rob was about to propose – a plan that would, in a remarkably short time, be leveraged to underpin a multi-million dollar land restoration fund in Queensland. More>

Making the case for biodiversity and impact investing

Nigel Sharp is someone who has the sound of the country in what he says, the way people raised on the land used to speak – unhurried, unfussed, uncomplicated. But Nigel’s message is anything but old-fashioned: it is, in fact, full of the urgency of the environmental challenges confronting the globe and finding new ways to support regenerative agriculture and biodiversity. More>

Economists supporting JobSeeker boost on Budget eve

On the eve of next Tuesday’s Federal Budget, there is a widespread view that last week’s cuts to JobSeeker unemployment benefit will risk a strong recovery by slowing spending and jobs growth. More>

Saving the News

Geoff Wilson is sitting in a small quiet room with a view across a rural idyll in regional NSW. It seems miles away from the ceaseless news cycle that he has bought in to as one of 35 investors who became saviours of the national newswire, APP. More>

From saving sight to changing diets

James Muecke calls it the ‘humanitarian’ spirit – the animating force to help others born from a recognition that we are all in the world together. And for James, that spirit was triggered by a childhood blindness study in Myanmar in 2007. More>

Priorities for the post-pandemic future

Last month, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission’s Not-for-Profit Advisory Group handed over its final report on how to minimise the social and economic impacts of the pandemic on the nation’s vulnerable groups. More>

New ecological threats identified in global analysis

Australia is one of several countries in the Asia-Pacific region that has been identified as having major ecological threats that pose potential risks for the nation in the next 30 years. More>

Swimming with sharks to find new revenue streams

What do you do when you’re a Not-for-profit facing a particularly challenging moment in your existence and a global pandemic comes along that strips away almost 70 per cent of your revenue stream? More>

Calling every Australian to donate a special dollar

What happens when two young creatives at one of Australia’s leading advertising companies devise a plan to give life to the old saying: ‘If only everyone gave a dollar…’’? More>

“Who we are as a nation - Australians know, in their heart of hearts, this is the outstanding question in this country.’’

In this interview, Dean Parkin talks about his story, his mob and his path to his role as the director of From the Heart, an education project to campaign for an Indigenous voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution. More>

How Australian Philanthropy Award for innovative Indigenous program on Country boosts vital work

Almost twelve months after the Warddeken Daluk (Women’s) Ranger Program in West Arnhem Land was recognised at the Australian Philanthropy’s Awards, one of the program’s funding partners has hailed the award’s role in growing its supporter base. More>

Saving Australia’s native oyster reefs

Philanthropy can play a catalysing role in the urgent battle to save the world’s precious ecosystems. More>

Embattled social sector identifies its immediate priorities

Funding, advocacy to government and public relations support have been identified as the most valuable strategic and operational priorities for COVID-effected social sector organisations, according to a new study of the sector. More>

Key issues identified in the RESET2020 study

Leanne Raven, Crohn’s and Colitis Australia’s CEO, has experienced many of the key issues identified in the RESET2020 study, from the hit to the organisation’s revenues and national volunteer numbers, to the valuable help from the Federal government’s JobKeeper package. More>

New research reveals need for heart screening technology

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) sounds like an old-fashioned problem that belongs to the era of our recent ancestors, when school finished at age 14 and the motor car was a novelty. But the disease is still with us, and its pernicious impact is at its most devastating in Australia’s remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. More>

Community sporting clubs in COVID-19 induced crisis

Hundreds of community sporting clubs across Australia are in a COVID-19-induced crisis that will take at least $1.2 billion to ensure they survive, according to an Australian Sports Foundation survey. More>

Changing the prison system for mums and their kids

The situation is bleak and confronting: a woman goes to jail, often for a victimless crime, and leaves a family at home, her children either looked after by a relative or in foster care. Once that step is taken, a whole range of possibilities – only some of them good – can follow, but most of them are about the emotional and even physical distance between the kids and their mum. More>

TFC Response to COVID-19

There is understandable anxiety about the consequences of the Federal government’s JobSeeker and JobKeeper COVID-19 support programs undergoing changes in September or October. The Tasmanian Community Fund has set its sights on what happens when the changes take place, backing its local knowledge to respond to what’s happening on the ground, in its response to the pandemic’s impact. More>

Pandemic's mental health effect

The Black Dog Institute’s research that covers the early intense period of the pandemic shows that 78 per cent of respondents to an online survey reported that their mental health had deteriorated since COVID-19’s outbreak. More>

Our health in lockdown

And as every piece of official advice reminded us, exercise was an excellent way to preserve good mental health. More>

Accelerating innovation in the natural world

In 2011, The Taronga Foundation made its first green grants to support conservation and environmental ideas that had potential for making a difference. The green grants, that put $150,000 into shaping important ideas about the ecosystem, have evolved into something new – an accelerator program called Hatch. More>

“Empower directly impacted communities’’, says US expert

Read a Q and A session with Chloe Cockburn, of Open Philanthropy in the US, in the lead up to her appearance at the Virtual Progress conference. More>

Campaign ramps up to keep JobSeeker rate beyond September

A group of more than 7,000 Australians who support maintaining the permanent increase to the JobSeeker allowance will be mobilised to directly engage Federal MPs to ensure the old Newstart rate of $40 a day will not be revived in three months. More>

New business initiative to help local communities rise from the ashes

Just south of Batemans Bay in NSW is a village called Mogo, with a population of about 300, a private zoo and up until late last year, a charming array of heritage buildings reflecting its gold rush heritage. More>

Crossing the pandemic’s digital divide

In a hospital bed in a regional Australian town, a middle-aged man is watching TV on an iPad. Just days earlier he was confronting the corrosive impact of profound social isolation. More>

Advocating for rapid progress

In the midst of the Federal government’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Parenthood – a national NFP representing parents, carers and supporters – realised that it had to move quickly to insert itself into the childcare debate. More>

Diagnosing the difference between misinformation and the real thing

In a world gripped by a pandemic where anxiety, grief and uncertainty are rife, how can we be sure what’s true? How do we know who to trust? Where do we turn for guidance? More>

The road towards breaking the nation’s cycle of disadvantage

Two weeks ago the Paul Ramsay Foundation revealed its new strategy that aims to break the cycle of disadvantage in Australia. More>

Keeping the science on ice for climate change and krill seekers

It is vast, brutally cold, devoid of humans and seemingly unknowable to those who turn their attention to Antarctica. More>

The Virtues of Curiosity and Commitment

Genevieve Timmons is telling a story against herself. No surprise there. Those who know her will nod knowingly. She starts off on the tale, there’s the occasional giggle, a burst of laughter. If a smile can have a sound, it’s there in her voice. More>

How sharing stories promotes better outcomes for Aboriginal girls

In eight remote and regional schools in Western Australia, a special kind of engagement program starts with sport and finishes with stories. More>

A new approach to tackling the urgent challenges confronting the nation’s water resources

In Australia, our rivers, wetlands, lakes and groundwater systems are facing unprecedented challenges. Despite almost three decades of internationally recognised reform, Australia’s current management of its fresh water resources is unsustainable and good policy-making has become harder. More>

New fund to provide relief for devastated arts sector

The one-off program, developed by Philanthropy Australia’s Arts Funder Network, will provide emergency relief to potentially hundreds of artists across the country.

Communities Foundations in COVID-19

The power of local funds to ease the impact of national health crisis.

Saving the word on the local street

Philanthropy has announced a package of measures to help sustain Australian media businesses as they do their vital work of keeping the community informed during COVID-19. 

What did we learn from the GFC that can help us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) more than a decade ago, dozens of not for profit organisations, charities and foundations confronted challenging questions about their future. Now, those same organisations are once again asking similar questions, grappling with a global health emergency that has such widespread and profound impacts that it makes the GFC seem like only a mild shock in comparison. More>

Australia's most vulnerable COVID-19 communities

Knowing where to direct help on the ground. More>

Understanding the Impact: COVID-19

As the COVID-19 health crisis unfolds in unpredictable ways, there is an urgency to know more and try to keep ahead of the virus and its impact. More>

Finding purpose and kindness amid the crisis 

CEO of the GiveWhereYouLive Foundation, Bill Mithen, was wondering about how to respond to the COVID-19 challenge that could celebrate random acts of kindness. This idea became known as GPAK. More>

The nation’s arts in a time of pandemic

On the basic figures alone, the nation’s already vulnerable cultural sector has been brought to its knees by the advent of the coronavirus. More>

The possibilities of psychedelic medicine treatments for mental illness

Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) was launched in February 2019 by Peter Hunt and Tania de Jong to explore a new approach that could offer a bold therapy option for some people battling mental illness, particularly long-standing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions. More>

Behind the bank that has a social heart is a woman who wants to make a difference

When it comes to social disadvantage, there are many ways you can try to measure it but occasionally, the data unmistakeably leads in one direction. In 2018, Grameen Australia undertook an analysis of three areas of socioeconomic disadvantage – Fairfield in Sydney, Broadmeadows in Melbourne and Grafton in regional NSW – to work out where best to pilot its first Australian microfinancing project. More>

Turning vacant property into transitional accommodation

In the complex, confronting and challenging aftermath of women and children escaping family violence, there is one part of the jigsaw that remains stubbornly elusive – transitional housing, that critical link between immediate relief at a shelter and a long-term solution. More>

Inspiring others to cope with genetics’ lottery

Krystal Barter describes her body as “a lemon’’. If it were a car, she’d ask for a trade-in. But here’s the thing – for all its faults and failings, Krystal Barter has managed to make something extraordinary out of her lemon that has helped change attitudes among hundreds of thousands of Australians. More>

Turning a hand to better school outcomes

It’s just over 20 years since Russell Kerr saw an opportunity to help school children at risk of losing their way by providing a practical solution that became Hands on Learning. More>

Taking a different route to bold granting outcomes

What’s the best career path to follow to ensure you end up in philanthropy? How does rest-of-the-world experience inform an understanding of how best to grow philanthropy? Whatever the route others have taken, it’s a fair bet that Niall Fay’s journey to CEO of the Fay Fuller Foundation is as distinct as it is intriguing. More>

Reflections from 2019 Philanthropist of the Year

Our 2019 Philanthropist of The Year, Philip Bacon AM, reflects on the importance of the arts and philanthropy in a year of debate about funding and support for the nation’s cultural industries. More>

2019 top five stories in philanthropy 

Here are our top five Philanthropy Australia stories that we believe captured the spirit and mood of the nation’s approach to giving in 2019. More>

Spinning wheels to break cycle of disadvantage

Down among Melbourne’s legal precinct, where lawyers in sharp suits go about their business, is a small and bustling bicycle shop. It looks like any other bike shop, but hides a unique approach to for purpose work More>

The passion for giving behind the nation’s biggest cultural gift

The evidence of a life-long philanthropic commitment to the arts is contained in James Ramsay’s elegant handwritten notes that were sent to the companies he and his wife Diana supported. More>

Good is gold when it comes to the new standard for impact investing

In an age of tarnished corporate reputations, royal commissions into financial services, and deep mistrust about our banks, it is a telling moment when a new fund manager emerges with an impact investing focus on companies that have their priorities fixed on doing good. More>

High-level picture of philanthropic giving in Australia

A new opportunity to collaborate, reduce duplication of effort and build a shared learning resource across philanthropy has arrived with the launch of the Foundation Maps: Australia (FMA) Dashboard. More>

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Check out our Story Archives

Story Archives

Didn't find what you were
looking for?

Check out the Stories in Philanthropy archives.