Olympian Ron Clarke ‘Encouraging Philanthropy’
Monday, 23rd July 2001 at 1:07 pm
Australian Olympic runner Ron Clarke won a defamation case against the ABC recently and in a footnote to all the publicity, the man who lit the flame at the Melbourne 1956 games, said he would donate the money to charity!
But Clarke isn’t making a one-off donation. He’s begun his own marathon campaign to encourage philanthropy among big business and Australians in general.
It’s called the Council for Encouragement of Philanthropy in Australia or CEPA – a fledgling fund raising and disbursing body that looks for representation from business. It will have its official launch in September but already is considering a first round of funding!
Clarke says he’s been frustrated by the amount of money highly profitable companies are not making available to Australian charities.
Clarke may be regarded as a newcomer to philanthropy but he has been quietly working for the last two years with one of the world’s largest private charitable funds based in the US called the Atlantic Philanthropies.
In that time, the Philanthropies have donated more than $160 million anonymously to Australian projects ranging from medical research to disability support groups.
Clarke says CEPA is a completely separate organisation, quite unique to the Australian scene- although it will be initially reliant upon Atlantic Philanthropies to meet the operating expenses for money raised in this country, money he hopes to get from a network of large and small companies, as well as private citizens. And there is a continuing overseas subscription for funds.
CEPA he says will look at special projects and send out a research group at CEPA’s expense to investigate, and then put it to its donors, members and, finally, the Advisory Council. Each Advisory Council member has 100 votes and are asked to list these in such a way as to weight their decision on priority.
At 64 Clarke says his own philanthropic bent came after he was asked use his “sportsman” profile to help raise funds for disability groups including vision-impairment groups when his own father went blind.
Now his organisation has a wide spread of interest from a particularly personal interest in early intervention into children with autism, teaching school age children to be philanthropic and then to the field of biological farming exchange projects with the US and conservation projects.
The platform of Clarke’s CEPA organisation is that companies have a responsibility to put back into the community.
He says he’s even considering preparing a directory of corporate giving listing those generous organisations and how much they give.
He agreed that this may been seen as shaming some companies into giving but so be it!
He says yes, he is into the triple bottom line and companies need to know that customers are just as important if not more important than shareholders.
For more information Ron Clarke can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to comment on this new organisation why not join our Forum at probonoaustralia.com.au.