Reluctant Philanthropist Says Yes
22 March 2007 at 11:42 am
Once reluctant philanthropist, Bill Paine has accepted the National FIA Philanthropist of the Year Award at the recent International Conference in Melbourne.
Bill Paine knocked back the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s Chapter One award before Christmas after being nominated by the Australian Conservation Foundation saying he was not the ‘real deal’.
Back then, Paine described himself as an environmental fundamentalist. He donated his home to the Australian Conservation Foundation and corporate supporters paid to have it transformed into an energy and water efficient showcase.
He also donated $200,000 from his mother’s estate in a matched funding program aimed at encouraging other donors to take up the ACF cause. In all it’s estimated that he donated around $800-thousand. The donation received a lot of media attention at the time.
But Paine declined the FIA Chapter One Philanthropy award saying he was not a ‘lover of mankind’ as the definition of a philanthropist suggested and he was horrified at what mankind was doing to the environment.
At the National Awards night ceremony he told the audience that he had since thought about the award carefully because back then he believed the definition of philanthropist didn’t fit.
Now he says he has found a definition that he can accept – that philanthropy involves the donation of grants of money to worthy charitable causes and that it is seen as a way to organise effective change in society without recourse to bureaucratic mechanisms of government.
Paine also asked the audience if he should accept the award.
FIA CEO, Sue-Anne Wallace says the audience overwhelmingly said he should!
Wallace says the FIA appreciates the thoughtfulness with which Bill Paine considered the role of philanthropy in society and the leadership he has shown in accepting the National Award.
Wallace says his actions should inspire others to change the world.