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David Gonski AC awarded Philanthropy Australia Life Membership

April 21st, 2021

A pioneer and leader of philanthropy in Australia, Mr David Gonski AC, has today been honoured with Philanthropy Australia Life Membership at the Philanthropy Australia National Conference.

In a special presentation by Philanthropy Australia CEO Jack Heath, Mr Gonski was recognised for his outstanding contribution to philanthropy and his key leadership role in the creation of private ancillary funds (PAFs) (formally prescribed private funds) in 2001 which has reshaped philanthropy in Australia.

PAFs were a new initiative by the Australian Government to encourage greater corporate and personal philanthropy in Australia and were developed by the Prime Minister’s Community-Business Partnership under the Howard government.

The introduction of the PAF structure gave Australian businesses, families and individuals greater flexibility to start their own trusts for philanthropic purposes and to properly structure their giving.

Over the past twenty years, the number of PAFs has grown alongside broader philanthropy in Australia. Today, there are over 1,800 PAFs with an estimated $10 billion in assets and annual granting of approximately $450 million.

Mr Gonski has been the Chancellor of UNSW for many years and the Chairman of the UNSW Foundation and President of the Art Gallery Trust.  He’s also a Director of Australian Philanthropic Services; a member of the Adara Partnership; Patron of the Raise Foundation; Patron of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Centre of Social Impact.

Previously, Mr Gonski was a Member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business partnership and Member of the Committee of Inquiry into Charitable and Related Organisations.

Presenting the prestigious honour today on behalf of the Philanthropy Australia board, staff and members, Jack Heath recognised Mr Gonski’s enduring commitment and contribution to philanthropy.

“David has been a true champion of philanthropy for many decades.  He chose to go public with his own philanthropy in the hope his example would inspire others to give, and it has,” Mr Heath said.

“Most importantly, he has advocated for more philanthropy because of the joy that flows from helping others. We need more people to follow David’s lead if we are to deliver on Philanthropy Australia’s aspiration to double structured giving to $5billion per year by 2030.”

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