Categories: government, education, news, general
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Amended legislation to enable the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) passed the Senate yesterday, was referred back for the Lower House to consider the amendments, and passed through the Lower House this morning. The ACNC is now able to commence operations, and is expected to do so in December 2012.
This means that registration and regulation of charities in Australia will pass from the Australian Taxation Office to an independent, specialised entity in the form of the ACNC.
For more information:
Categories: education, environment, advocacy, research & information, events, general
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By Louise Arkles, Director Knowledge & Communications, Philanthropy Australia
A colleague once said to me: “No one ever goes to conferences to learn things, it’s all about the networking.” I attended the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN) conference this week, and was delighted that it proved this attitude wrong.
I want three things from a conference to make it worth my while:
- to take away new understanding that sticks - sticky facts
- to be inspired enough for the time to fly by, and
- to hear views that challenge me out of my comfort zone, no matter if the speaker is holding a microphone or a cup of coffee.
This Conference was worked on every level. I was riveted.
Here are my top ten sticky facts:
- We need to shift the frame of the debate – from ‘the need to act’ to ‘strategically managing the problem now’ - in order to accelerate change.
- The energy industry is turning on its head. Demand is collapsing from too much supply. Australians are learning to do more with less energy. There will soon be wholesale disruption in the energy industry and a strong fight from threatened fossil fuel industries.
- Technology costs are coming down fast – the big cost is not the generation of electricity but the distribution - but regulation and vested interests are inhibiting change. Solar costs came down 75% in 2010/11, and will come down a further 30% this year. We are already down 15% on forward expectations. We therefore need the renewable energy target to be firm and robust.
- Funding the environment is funding social justice, and disadvantage, and health, and research - our imposed silos are a furphy.
- Once the finance sector cottons on that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels then the markets will shift, as we are already seeing, and finally government policy will follow.
- It’s hard for people to picture the real impact of climate change, and lack of understanding fuels disempowerment, leading to an absence of personal responsibility. More understanding will lead to more support.
- No one ever identifies as ‘a member of the public’, so pitching a message to ‘the public’ won’t work.
- Focusing on facts is not going to work. People have their own beliefs and get stuck in being right. Value sets are important, and control people’s actions.
- Wind farms pose no threat to human, plant or animal health, but the debate has been hijacked by a climate of fear in Australia.
- More heat now going into the earth than is going out, so the earth is warming at a staggering rate.
Simon Holmes a Court took a group of delegates to visit the Hepburn Community Wind Farm, of which he is Chair, prior to the conference, presenting a powerful case study (forgive the pun). Hepburn Springs is a small town in central Victoria. Seven years ago 200 people turned up to a community meeting to defeat a developer planning a wind farm. Now a community-owned wind farm in Hepburn has 2000 members, and generates about substantial percentage of the community’s power needs, with the two turbines powering approximately one thousand local homes each. Also a grant maker, the Hepburn Community Wind Farm is on track to donate $50,000 to the local area in the coming year.
Eleven NFPs working in the environmental space were invited to give a 2 minute pitch to the delegates. Lunch was beckoning, but these voices were louder than my stomach, their message imperative, for they deliver the change we want to see in the world. This first-hand account from grant recipients and NFP partners was a valuable connection, linking theory to practice for delegates.
Implementation is always a hard ask at the end of a conference - how can I put this new-found knowledge to work? Here are my top 7 opportunities for the philanthropic to-do list:
- Support the experts to develop and drive a collective strategic view, understood and owned by the community, so we can recognise the gaps and act to address them.
- Harness the appetite for behaviour change around climate that is already out there, by disseminating a clear message about renewable energy, coming simultaneously from a range of credible sources. Fund communication campaigns: work with the almost 1 million Australians who have solar panels on their roofs.
- Act on the strategic goal to sequence the green energy concept, shifting from being a radical idea to becoming the social norm. Philanthropy can take the risks needed to drive this shift.
- Stop focusing on countering denial, rather focus on getting the killer arguments and key questions ready for when the backlash comes.
- Reframe the debate from fear to strategy, from reacting to irrelevant questions to answering strategic ones. Identify the pertinent questions - How can we minimise the employment dislocation in the energy industry? How can we protect the disadvantaged through this transition? Prepare sound answers and get them into a variety of media.
- We must be proactive and assertive in getting our message out to the public, but not anti-corporate. Find leaders from inside successful corporates locally and internationally who have embraced renewables to talk to lagging corporates, instead of relying on NFPs to try to push a green message.
- Fund research: eg. benchmark policy in Australia, produce report cards on government action.
Congratulations to Amanda and her team at the AEGN for hosting a very worthwhile event.
Categories: guest post, environment, indigenous, arts, education, topical issues, general
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This post written by Vedran Drakulic, Chief Executive Officer, Gandel Philanthropy.
Over the recent months Gandel Philanthropy has undertaken a process of reviewing its strategic direction, its granting philosophy and the nature of its grant-making. The reasons for this include Gandel Philanthropy’s wish to expand its community involvement and influence, create stronger links and develop its relationships, as well as the fact that the Board aims to increase grant distributions in the coming years.
The new strategy addresses matters such as the areas of interest that we wish to support; outlines the three levels of grants in terms of their financial size; the distinction between grants that are open for application and those that are by invitation; and it outlines the time-frames for grants in relation to the application periods and the frequency of granting.
In terms of the actual structure of giving, Gandel Philanthropy developed three levels - categories of grants that are aimed at providing support for both Jewish and Australian causes and organisations:
1. communityassist grants
These grants are allocated up to a maximum amount of $40,000. They are generally envisaged as one-off grants aimed at providing support for a defined program or part of a program. They are geared towards smaller community organisations, however any eligible organisation can apply. These grants are open for application to anyone that is eligible, and that delivers programs or services within one of the specified areas of interest (see below). This is a rolling program of applications throughout the year and there are no closing dates for these grants. Decisions will be made around four times a year.
Gandel Philanthropy believes that all types of grants are needed to enable us to provide support for the benefit of those in need in the community, and to achieve our vision of “creating a positive and lasting difference in people’s lives.” We believe that, strategically, we can support both the ongoing, immediate, as well as emerging needs in the society through allocations from our communityassist grants. As Chet Tchozewski, of Global Greengrants Fund, pointed out in Alliance magazine, “too often foundation leaders incorrectly assume that small grants are not strategic”. We believe they are and can be, and our strategy reflects that belief.
In addition, we will provide grants in both the traditional, as well as some new, areas of interest, reflecting our wish to explore and learn about the needs in a range of sectors in the community. These areas of interest may continue to evolve as part of our learning.
Currently Gandel Philanthropy communityassist grants are allocated towards eight specific Areas of Interest:
- Arts & Culture;
- Health & Medical Research;
- Community Development;
- Social Cohesion & Inclusion;
- Poverty & Disadvantage;
- Environment; and
- Emergency Response & Recovery.
Additional details related to eligibility, Areas of Interest, the application process, exclusions and other relevant information are contained in the communityassist Grant Guidelines document. Potential applicants need to contact Gandel Philanthropy on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (03) 8564 1288, to obtain the communityassist Grant Guidelines and the communityassist Application Form. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their project proposal with us before submitting an application.
2. communitybuild grants
The communitybuild category of grants reflects Gandel Philanthropy’s wish to provide significant support to community organisations to achieve stronger and longer-term positive social impact within the specified areas of interest. These grants can be allocated as single, one-off contribution or multi-year support, depending on the nature of the need and the proposal. As a rule, the aim is to support programs that are evidence-based, that deliver defined positive outcomes in the community, that may provide long-term benefit to the target audience, that have the potential to be ‘transferrable’ and broadly implemented.
New issue of Australian Philanthropy journal - Brave Philanthropy: taking risks and testing solutionsOn October 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm by Joanna Fulton - Permanent Link
Categories: PhilanthropyWiki, What's New, arts, indigenous, environment, members only, topical issues, stories, news, research & information, philanthropy australia website, recommended reading, education, general
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Brave Philanthropy: taking risks and testing solutions is the theme of our latest issue of Australian Philanthropy, Issue 82, Spring 2012.
Lisa Jordan, executive director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation wrote in Alliance magazine, (March 2012) “…taking risks is an inherent responsibility of organised philanthropy … to use private money to try to solve intractable problems … The question is, do we?” While foundations often explore and plan for financial risk in their investment management, there is little understanding of risk on the program side. “We have no forums where risk can be discussed … and we rarely use the tools we have such as evaluation to help us understand the degree to which we have succeeded or failed.”
The question of failure is a tricky one – it assumes we have identified a measure of achievement to be aimed for, and fallen short of that bar. But how many foundations have actually identified the impact they want to make in a given place or field, let alone measured success against those aims? If, on the other hand, the only true failure is a grant that nothing is learned from, why do many foundations inhibit the extent of their successes by not sharing the learnings? Issue 82 investigates whether Australian philanthropy does indeed take risks in its grant-making and learn from both its successes and failures.
By Brenton Caffin, CEO, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
The Australian Centre for Social Innovation works with people to create and spread new ways to lead better lives. We heard the call from the child protection system and in response we undertook a project to explore ways of preventing families fromb spiralling into crisis and to enable more families to thrive. The result was Family by Family.
Interview: Eda Ritchie (PDF)
The R. E. Ross Trust, funding across Victoria, is one of the most innovative and respected foundations in the country, showing leadership across grant-making, communications and transparency. Eda Ritchie joined the Trust as trustee in 1997 and Louise Arkles asked her about the importance of risk-taking in philanthropy.
Interview: Dr Sam Prince (PDF)
Picture this: a Scottish-born Australian doctor with Sri Lankan heritage running a chain of Mexican restaurants alongside his work in emergency medicine and doing aid work in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and now in remote communities in the Northern Territory. Phew!
Dr Sam Prince lives this life – he’s a medical doctor, a business entrepreneur, and the founder of the charities Emagine Foundation and One Disease at a Time, and to top it off he’s not yet 30. Louise Arkles, editor of Australian Philanthropy, asked Sam Prince about his philanthropy and his approach to taking risks and testing solutions.
Members of Philanthropy Australia can download the full PDF version of issue 82 here (requires Member login)
Categories: government, education, advocacy, research & information, general
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When the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) commences on 1 October 2012, part of its function will be to improve public understanding of the work of the sector. An important part of this function will be to work closely with the existing research community, including both academic researchers and researchers within not-for-profits, to facilitate and support research into not-for-profits and charities.
The ACNC Taskforce is developing its research strategy and is keen to hear from researchers about how it can best support their work. One option under consideration is establishing a regular forum for engaging people with an interest in research relating to charities and not-for-profits. This could take the form of a mailing list, regular meetings, or the establishment of an online community.
Another would be to bring together some of the existing databases of resources and promote the work of the research community through the Commission’s website.
Other possibilities include:
- Collaborating on or supporting research projects in various ways
- Assisting to identify areas of research need, such as challenges faced by the sector or knowledge gaps
- Building stronger links between NFP researchers and Commonwealth government agencies
The ACNC Taskforce is seeking the input of researchers about the best ways to develop close and productive working relationships. To offer feedback or just to get in touch, please contact Dr Fiona Tweedie, researcher, (Fiona.Tweedie@ato.gov.au) or Dr Joyce Chia, senior policy officer, (Joyce.Chia@ato.gov.au). You can also join the conversation on the Aussie Charities and NFPs forum on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/groups/Aussie-Charities-NFPs-4541894
Categories: education, news, workshops, events, general
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Philanthropy Australia is delighted to announce the first in a new series of seminars, How Australia Gives, in which we draw together leading examples of philanthropic endeavour. We will highlight the many and varied examples of How Australia Gives to inspire donors and encourage not-for-profits.
The first seminar is Granting By Trustee Companies - Traditionalists And Trailblazers.
Trustee companies have been a part of the Australian philanthropic landscape since 1878. Traditionally involved with the execution of estates and bequests trustee companies are now more actively involved with living donors particularly through the establishment of private ancillary funds (PAFs) and public ancillary funds (PuAFs).
This seminar will bring together presenters from four of Australia’s leading trustee companies to discuss the philosophy and processes behind their grant-making strategies.
Charitable trusts provide a vital and perpetual source of funding for NFPs. Between them ANZ Trustees, Equity Trustees, Perpetual Trustees and The Trust Company manage almost 1300 charitable trusts consisting of $3 billion in funds under management and distributing over $160 million in discretionary funds each year.
In this How Australia Gives seminar, four major trends in philanthropy will form the backdrop:
- Exploring new models of financing for not-for-profits: how will charitable foundations participate, and how will this change the charitable sector?
- Increased giving trends measured over the long term, including structured giving, are leading to the emergence of a larger, more fragmented and complex philanthropic sector: what does this mean for not-for-profits and advisors?
- How is the trend toward ‘giving while living’ changing the relationships between donors and charities, and donors with their foundations and advisors?
- The increasing demands in philanthropic governance: transparency; the emergence of social return on investment and social impact measures; and calls for accountability in philanthropy.
- Teresa Zolnierkiewicz, ANZ Trustees
- Andrew Thomas, Perpetual
- Tabitha Lovett, Equity Trustees
- Simon Lewis, The Trust Company
- Dr Deborah Seifert, Philanthropy Australia
- Rikki Andrews, Philanthropy Australia
For more information including a schedule for the session and speaker bios, see How Australia Gives on our website.
Categories: awards, education, news, general
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Last Thursday The Business/Higher Education Round Table (B-HERT) 2011 Award winners were announced, recognising outstanding achievement in collaboration between business and higher education in the fields of research & development and education & training.
We’d like to congratulate all the winners, with a special congratulations to the winner of the award for Outstanding Philanthropic Support for Higher Education 2011, The Sidney Myer Fund and the Myer Foundation and Family. This award recognises Myer’s ongoing and long-term support of the University of Melbourne and Monash University.
“The Myer family has been one of the longest-standing and most important benefactors of higher education in Australia. The pattern of giving began with Sidney Myer, it continued through his estate (in the form of the Sidney Myer Fund), and has expanded over the following decades with his descendants, both individually and through the Myer Foundation.
“Collectively, the family has been one of the largest and most important philanthropic supporters for the University of Melbourne and Monash University in their history. The Myer gifts to the University of Melbourne and Monash University alone are so numerous that it would be an impossible feat to mention all of them. The gifts have embraced all of the Myers’ well–‐known philanthropic interests – The Arts and Humanities; Australia as part of the Asia–‐Pacific region; Education; Poverty and Disadvantage; and Sustainability and the Environment.”
Special mention went to Macquarie Group Foundation for various initiatives at the University of NSW including the Centre for Social Impact and Macquarie Group Foundation Chair, and Olga Tennison for the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University.
Philanthropy Australia’s Bruce Argyle was honoured to be included on the judging panel for the philanthropy award.
Categories: government, arts, indigenous, environment, What's New, topical issues, advocacy, news, education, general
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Bruce Argyle attended the CHOGM People’s Forum on behalf of Philanthropy Australia last week.
As part of the various meetings and fora held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of government Meetings in Perth, the CHOGM Peoples Forum (CPF) brought together 250 civil society representatives from across the Commonwealth to share ideas and to respond to issues under the theme ‘Driving Change for a Dynamic Commonwealth’.
The program included eight themed workshops;
- Governance and Democracy
- Gender and Women’s Rights
- Indigenous People
- Education, Technology and Innovation
- Culture, Identity and Peace
- Economic Development, Trade and Finance
- Climate Change, Environment and Disaster Management
- Human Rights
The People’s Forum was opened by the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard who spoke about the CPF being a place for promoting democracy and civil society, representing over 2 billion people from 54 countries. She encouraged those present to ensure that civil society brings commonwealth values to life on a daily basis.
Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah (‘Danny’), Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, highlighted that, in order to remain relevant, the Commonwealth needed to return to focusing on both values and on value-adding in terms of adding value to people’s lives. Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth highlighted these values as including tolerance, respect and understanding and cited the Commonwealth as being the original worldwide web.
Phiroshaw Camay, Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, spoke about the Statement on Civil Society that has been developed and highlighted the importance of education as a fundamental human right. Ingrid Srinath, Secretary CIVICUS, The Global Society for Civil Society, took the assembled group on a journey of civil society … through the heady optimism of the 1990’s to the war on terror and increasing levels of disparity around the world. This has been mirrored by an increase in criminalisation of dissent in many countries.
There was a strong focus on civil society throughout the Forum sessions and an encouragement to ‘join the dots’ through partnerships and collaboration. Interestingly, Facebook was cited as the largest example of civil society on the planet. Commonwealth connect was launched as a new platform for building closer connections between people in the Commonwealth.
Three recommendations forwarded to the Heads of Government were:
- To see civil society as a resource and as allies of government
- To instruct public servants to work more closely with civil society
- To instruct the Commonwealth Foundation to take on a facilitator role to make the above happen.
Sir Ronald Sanders spoke on behalf of the EPG (Eminent Persons Group) that was set up in 2009 to frame a report for the Heads of Government on reforms for the Commonwealth. This report includes 206 recommendations but has yet to be made public (much to the consternation of delegates present). It is said to include recommendations for a Human Rights Charter, the establishment of a Commissioner for democracy and human rights and an expert group to look at the impacts of climate change for member countries.
On Wednesday evening a panel of human rights advocates included the Hon Michael Kirby who spoke to the topic ‘Silence is not an option’. Participants were strongly encouraged to speak up for human rights as part of civil society. In terms of Commonwealth priorities this included speaking up on:
- Early and forced marriages
- Rights of women and girls
- Impacts of climate change
Climate change was highlighted as an area that the Commonwealth needs to adopt a much stronger position on, given the huge impact likely to be seen on small Pacific islands and low lying countries. Speakers included Daisy Cooper, Director of the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau who gave clues to how increased efforts could be achieved; Nicholas Watt of the Commonwealth Ecology Council spoke about the need to establish marine parks and sustainable fisheries (‘If we don’t have fisheries on the agenda then by 2050 we won’t have fish on the menu’).
On the final afternoon participants were delighted to have two special guests speak about the need to finish the task of totally eradicating Polio. It was noted that there are now only four countries and 1% of the world still have Polio (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria) but speakers highlighted that we cannot afford to rest before total eradication. The first guest was Ramesh Ferris, a polio survivor from India, now living in Canada. He talked of his own experience and how he was provided rehabilitative support and corrective surgery. The second was Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Poverty Project (previously Oaktree Foundation) who talked about the need to raise funds to remove the final traces of Polio. Without this a further 10 million children will get polio over the next 40 years. A special concert is being held for Polio in Perth during CHOGM and Julia Gillard announced that Australia will commit to providing $50M of additional funds to address polio. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also contributing $40M.
The Commonwealth People’s Forum provided an opportunity to see firsthand how civil society can engage around shared values to address global issues and to be a part of framing future directions. Against a backdrop of needing to ensure relevance it was great to network and be a part of a worldwide web of very diverse peoples.
Categories: scholarships-fellowships, education, news, general
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The Australian Scholarships Foundation has announced that 325 scholarships, valued at over $1000 each, are available for board members of not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) to attend the Australian Institute of Company Directors Not-for-Profit Board Directors Course.
Funded by the Perpetual Foundation in partnership with the JS Love Trust, the scholarships will enable NFP board members to attend a one-day course, designed specifically for board directors of charitable organisations looking to develop a deeper knowledge of directorship, governance and performance issues relating to not-for-profit organisations.
Courses will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra in October and November 2011.
For more details see the Australian Scholarships Foundation page.
Categories: awards, education, events
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The School for Social Entrepreneurs – an Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the development and increased capacity of social entrepreneurs – has been awarded the inaugural Macquarie Social Innovation Award for 2010. The $100,000 grant is designed to recognise and reward an Australian organisation or program aimed at meeting local social needs by offering inventive solutions. The Award is presented bi-annually.
The finalists include –
· CuriousWorks – a media arts organisation using digital technology to reflect the lives of people living in marginalised communities
· Fair Business – a not-for-profit that provides training, support and employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed or disadvantaged
· KidsXpress – an expressive therapy program to help resolve traumatic childhood experiences
· Many Rivers Opportunities – a not-for-profit microenterprise organisation providing finance to marginalised, regional Australians to help them build a sustainable business
· Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Brisbane – through its Centre for Online Health, the hospital is now one of the largest providers of paediatric telemedicine in the world
· Summer Foundation – a community organisation dedicated to resolving the issue of young people living in nursing homes
Macquarie’s Australian Social Innovation Award judging panel comprised David Clarke - Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation; Geoff Mulgan - Director of the Young Foundation UK and Chair, Involve UK; Peter Shergold - CEO, Centre For Social Impact, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor and Julie White - Head, Macquarie Group Foundation.
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