Talking Philanthropy with Government
8 September 2010 at 3:30 pm
The Victorian government has embarked on a series of discussions with philanthropists to help better understand how each other works.
The discussions are being coordinated through the Office for the Community Sector in the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Director of the Office for the Community Sector, Lynne Wannan says the aim is to build a better relationship between government and philanthropy and to help philanthropists understand the government workings around budget strategies and policy frameworks.
Wannan says the first discussions have been basically about how governments make decisions and how new initiatives are turned into policy with input from the Departments of Treasury and Finance, Premier and Cabinet, Education and Early Childhood Development and Human Services.
In some cases, she says philanthropists have put their money into programs that have run their course or have gone nowhere and they have looked to government to continue funding.
Wannan says in some cases philanthropists are asking for funding that is outside the government's policy or budgetary framework.
At other times she says philanthropists are putting their money into the same or similar projects as government but they don't often know.
While there is no suggestion that philanthropists should be letting governments know what they are funding, as each person or foundation has different priorities, Wannan says it can be useful and may result in them working together on some projects.
She says it's about understanding how each other works.
The incentive for discussions with philanthropists came out of the devastating events of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in January 2009.
Wannan says many philanthropists wanted to do something and there was an enormous amount happening on the ground before the Bushfire Authority was set up and the Office for the Community Sector together with Philanthropy Australia, was able to coordinate a way for the philanthropists to get involved.
A third round of discussions with philanthropists is planned for November this year when philanthropists will present on how philanthropy works and highlight examples of philanthropy and government sharing approaches to support community endeavours. This will provide an opportunity for key public servants and philanthropists to consider how they might work better.
Anyone wanting to take part in the November discussions can contact Lynne Wannan on 03 9658 4667