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NFP Round Table Looks to the Future With New Chair

30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm
Staff Reporter
The fledgling National Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations is about to move into top gear with the appointment of the former CEO of Philanthropy Australia Elizabeth Cham as its new Chair.

Staff Reporter | 30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm


NFP Round Table Looks to the Future With New Chair
30 January 2006 at 12:01 pm

Cham is taking over the role from interim and founding chair Robert Fitzgerald who is now Australia’s Productivity Commissioner. There is the expectation that Fitzgerald will remain involved as founding patron.

The Nonprofit Roundtable was formed two years ago by national peak organisations with a membership of thousands of organisations from many fields of activity identifying regulatory reform as a priority for Australia’s 700,000 Not for Profit organisations.

Elizabeth Cham says she is taking on the job, which she describes as an advocacy and education role, with great relish.

Internationally she says the Not for Profit sector is taking its place in many forums that it has not participated in before whether it be Davos or WTO and many observers believe that the time is now for the sector to evolve and find its place in world affairs.

Cham says that in Australia the Nonprofit Roundtable has allowed the whole sector to come together for the first time.

Cham says she has three things on the immediate agenda. Firstly to try to get the Australian community to better understand the Not for Profit sector, secondly to modernise charity law and thirdly to find a way to finance the sector.

Cham stresses that by financing the sector she doesn’t mean capital raising or fundraising. Rather it’s about looking at sustainable ways to finance the sector.

She says it’s absurd for the sector to take one year’s funding and plan for social change when a long-term approach is needed.

However, she says it will be independent of government funding.

She says this role is different from her previous role at Philanthropy Australia where she dealt with government and one percent of the people who made 90% of the decisions.

Now she wants to engage with individual parliamentarians to help them understand the sector and build from the grass roots level.

Cham describes the Nonprofit Roundtable as operating in a similar way as the Business Council works with corporates and believes it is a vital piece of infrastructure for the sector.

One of her ideas is to bring young philanthropists together and ask them to bring ten of their friends to the table to hear about what the Roundtable does and to ask each one to pledge $10,000 for three years to support its operations.

Cham is also in discussions with Melbourne University to take up a research fellowship in History and Law.

Cham says she needs the opportunity to ‘fill up again’ and absorb the issues that need to be addressed.

Discussions are also being held with a corporate about providing a permanent office for the national Roundtable.

The position of Chair is expected to be formalised by the national Roundtable by February 20th.

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