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Calls to honour even more philanthropic and social sector leaders

January 30th, 2018

Philanthropy Australia congratulates our many members, for-purpose leaders and changemakers whose tireless efforts to achieve social change were recognised in the Australia Day Honours List.

Philanthropists including our 2017 Philanthropy Leader of the Year, Ian Darling, along with Ulrike Klein, Geoff Wilson and David Bardas each received an AO, while Kerry Gardner, Andrew Myer, Karen Loblay and Vicki Clitheroe were among the recipients of an AM.

Queensland’s Roy Thompson was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his extensive philanthropic support in the areas of medical research, emergency rescue, educational, sporting and cultural organisations

“We’re thrilled to see so many of our leading philanthropists honoured in the 2018 Australia Day Awards,” says Philanthropy Australia CEO, Sarah Davies.

“Each of these leaders has been committed to growing philanthropy in this country for many years and while their game-changing work has been applauded many times within the sector, it’s critically important that their leadership is recognised in the wider community if we truly want to see more and better philanthropy.”

Ian Darling, whose advocacy efforts were instrumental in the success of the Marriage Equality campaign has previously stressed the importance of philanthropy using advocacy to make communities stronger. The Caledonia Foundation, of which he is Chair, is a philanthropic foundation for Ian and Min Darling, Mark and Louise Nelson and Will and Jane Vicars.  The Caledonia Foundation is an inaugural member of Philanthropy Australia’s Philanthropy Champions program.

“There can be great leverage in advocacy and at the end of day, philanthropy is still only a tiny part of the overall equation,” Darling says. “We’ve got to be strategically smart about what we’re doing and that’s not only about giving, but trying to change the system.

“Advocacy is important not just for large-scale philanthropy but for smaller foundations or individual donors too. The flow-on effects from advocacy can be very significant – the support of philanthropy for an issue can have magnified and lasting benefits.”

For-purpose leaders including Dr Helen Szoke (Oxfam Australia), Joanna Hayter (formerly International Women’s Development Agency), Marg Barry (Bali Children Foundation), Mark Watt (Whitelion) Professor Donald Henry (formerly Australian Conservation Foundation), Walter Mikac and Judith Slocombe (formerly Alannah and Madeline Foundation) and Janine O’Brien (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse) were also honoured for their incredible work in the non-profit sector, as was Social Ventures Australia Chairperson, Paul Robertson.

While extending her congratulations to each of the very worthy honourees, Philanthropy Australia’s Sarah Davies would like to see more of the work of social sector leaders recognised and celebrated.

“The social sector is a major economic driver as well as community-builder for Australia. We are the second largest employer in Australia (employing over 10 per cent of Australia’s workforce) with over $142 billion in annual revenue, of which 50 per cent is self-generated. This is not our usual framing of the sector – but it should be. There is so much talent, inspiration and outstanding leadership, and so many unsung heroes whose work isn’t rewarded with an honorific title,” Davies says.

“Wouldn’t it be terrific to see the contributions these extraordinary leaders make to our society valued and recognised every day of the year?”

View the complete list of Australia Day 2018 Honours List here.  

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