Stories in Philanthropy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 
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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>


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>


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 heath 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.
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Communities Foundations in COVID-19

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


The secret behind the Wyatt Trust

There is one memory, a moment from history, that has stayed with Paul Madden after seven years running The Wyatt Trust. More>


Centralising granting data with Foundation Maps: Australia! dashboard

Next week PA will launch the FMA dashboard, a publicly accessible infographic that will display the granting data on FMA in a dynamic and easily consumed format. More>


Changing the rules to change a life

Last month, Max Elliott started work experience at the Ruggers restaurant attached to the Brothers Rugby Union club in Brisbane He knows the club pretty well: it’s down the hill from his home and he’s played a lot of rugby there. But it’s not rugby as many players know it and Max is not your average teenager.  More>


Philanthropy, Systems & Change: stories and tools for the future

At a recent global fundraisers’ retreat in Australia, there was a moment when the participants came to the agreed realisation that philanthropy’s moment for boldness had arrived. More>


Data reveals a mixed picture of Australia’s givers

How do you explain why some of Australia’s wealthiest people don’t appear to donate to a tax-deductible cause? What does it say about the nation’s well-off? And perhaps most compelling of all, what is the relationship between wealth and giving? More>


Grantmaking lessons put staff development at heart of NFPs

Four years ago, Australian Executor Trustees Limited (AET) embarked on a different approach to grantmaking by directing funds that would help not-for-profit organisations change and strengthen through a focus on staff learning and development. More>


What leadership looks like beyond the nation's cities and suburbs

“From a leadership perspective in remote, regional and rural Australia, the first point of reference for us is to stop talking about ourselves in deficit. That doesn’t mean ignoring what’s going on but not to start conversations that talk about that we lag behind the rest of Australia and we’re so far behind.’’ More>


Radical generosity and the art of the possible

How an act of ‘radical generosity’ is bringing the stories of one of the world’s most remote communities to the wider world and showcasing the art of the possible. More>


The fundamental things still apply after 40 years of giving

In celebration of 40 years of the Besen Family Foundation, the three themes are brought together in a special grants program that not only looks back to Eva and Marc’s early years but celebrates the on-going engagement of three generations of the Besen family. More>


Finding the memories behind a new generation of girls’ sport

Professor Clare Hanlon, the Susan Alberti Women in Sport Chair at Victoria University, is drawn back to her childhood memories on the family farm as she contemplates the next stages of engaging more young girls in physical activity. More>


What it takes to make documentaries that drive social change

In 2012, advertising executive Neil Lawrence approached documentary filmmaker Mitzi Goldman about a film project that was intended to reveal the full social impact of poker machines on the poorest people in Australia. More>


What we learnt at #PASummit2019: Sarah Davies

The 2019 Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit - hosted by Philanthropy Australia at Parliament House and Hotel Realm in Canberra last week - examined the myriad of questions surrounding philanthropy in the service of democracy. More>


Preserving the riches of a unique part of the Queensland coast

To Moreton Bay’s north is the glamourous tourism destination of the Sunshine Coast. To its south is the glittering Gold Coast, and to the east is the sprawl of Brisbane city. The bay is a distinctive coastal curve that is rich in biodiversity, Indigenous history and unique species. More>


Caring for vulnerable hearts in the nation’s remote communities

Maningrida is 500km east of Darwin, a small indigenous community in Arnhem Land, where the rich red soil clings to the sole of your shoes. It is hot and hard country. It is also a community dealing with a preventable disease that has caused illness and death across a generation. More>


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