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Time to look outward for our collective future

April 21st, 2021

The CEO of Philanthropy Australia, Jack Heath, has described “the project of our times’’ to re-orient ourselves to others for now and for the long term.

In his opening remarks today at the Philanthropy Australia national conference, Jack said: “Philanthropy calls us to look outward to others and to our collective future rather than inwards to our individualistic and present self.’’   

“This is the project of our times – to reorient ourselves to others for, and over, the long term.’’ 

 He said it was an impulse that Australians saw repeatedly in the self-less responses to the Black Summer Bushfires, to the floods earlier this year and to the COVID-19 response.  

 “If we go looking for the self-less response, we will surely find it, each and every day across our communities, across our nation,’’ Jack said. 

Jack said philanthropy needed to be deeply personal but in a “self-less way.’’ 

“A philanthropy that starts with a big heart that holds a compassion for those experiencing suffering and distress and then acts on that compassion, a big heart that holds a deep desire for people to reach their full potential irrespective of their postcode, history or upbringing, and a big heart that soars on the wings of our artists and story-tellers,’’ he said.  

“To give due honour to this big heart, we need to bring to it our clear head.  It is the clear head that leads us to harness our innate generosity in a way that leads to greater impact in the lives of those we love within, and across, the world.  

“The clear head asks prescient questions.  It probes, tests, learns and strives to find a better way.  It never assumes, it innovates, looks to prevent and takes calculated risks. It seeks out a more strategic, more effective philanthropy,’’ Jack said. 

“And what I’ve come to know is that if you can hold together a big heart and a clear head over a sustained period of time –  when you can marry a constant heart with a constant head – then joy most surely starts to emerge.’’   

Jack said that “joy’’ was not a word that came easily to Australians but joy did exist. 

“Over the years, so many philanthropists have shared with me the deep joy they experience from their giving.  It is a joy which is infectious,’’ he said. 

The two-day virtual conference, which started today, includes a range of international and national speakers addressing the theme of Future Needs Now?   

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