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Philanthropy Australia Strategy to Embrace Change

19 April 2012 at 10:51 am
Staff Reporter
Philanthropy Australia says it needs to embrace change and play a greater leadership role within the sector if it is to become a catalyst for greater giving at all wealth levels in the future.

Staff Reporter | 19 April 2012 at 10:51 am


Philanthropy Australia Strategy to Embrace Change
19 April 2012 at 10:51 am

Philanthropy Australia's President Bruce Bonyhady. Photo courtesy Philanthropy Australia

Philanthropy Australia says it needs to embrace change and play a greater leadership role within the sector if it is to become a catalyst for greater giving at all wealth levels in the future.

Details of Philanthropy Australia’s strategic plans were unveiled at the philanthropic peak body’s Annual General Meeting in Melbourne.

PA President Bruce Bonyhady says the organisation has developed new core goals to lead, grow and strengthen the sector.

Bonyhady told the AGM that a much more diverse philanthropic sector had emerged in Australia in the past decade, with traditional trusts being joined by 1000 PAFs, a significant number of individual and family foundations with living donors, community foundation, corporates with community investment programs and many organisations that promote work-place giving, in-kind giving and volunteering.

He says there are important segments of the sector, both inside and outside Philanthropy Australia’s membership with ‘unmet needs’ and where the boundaries between grant-makers and grant-seekers and service providers are often blurred.

He told the meeting that PA’s lack of Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status is a major inhibitor to the organisation’s ability to source income to broaden the activities of public benefit.

He said while PA is unique amongst peak organisations that while it can accept membership fees from both grant-makers and grant-seekers it cannot seek grants or donations from the vast majority of foundations because they can only give to DGRs.

To progress towards DGR status PA must obtain consensus amongst members as to whether the primary purpose of the organisation is for the benefit of the Not for Profit sector across Australia or for the benefit of members. Bonyhady said a change of the organisation’s constitution may be required to achieve this.

Bonyhady told the meeting that it was also time to review the branding and the name Philanthropy Australia as the name may not be seen as relevant to all stakeholders and the next generation of givers.

He said while many people feel comfortable with the term philanthropy, others find it too exclusive.

He said if a name change is adopted it would be a matter of wide discussion and members would need to vote at a future AGM or Extraordinary General Meeting.


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  • Dear Mr Bonyhady,

    Given the extremely limited resources for the Arts sector (government funding is cut and cut ad infinitum), and the magnitude of benefits of Arts engagement, is there a strategy for increasing the numbers of PAFs for supporting the Arts? As Artistic Director of a community arts organisation here in the Adelaide Hills I see the tremendous impact the personal growth of participants has on quality of life as well as enhancing community building. Perhaps people are surprised when one comments that Arts is for well-being? Shifting the lense will bring many rewards.

    Jo-anne Sarre

    Artistic Director

  • Jackie Hanafie says:

    Hi Jo-anne

    Thanks for your comment. It has been passed on to Philanthropy Australia for a response. 

    – the Pro Bono Australia News team

  • PhilanthropyAustralia says:

    Hi Jo-anne,

    Philanthropy Australia doesn't have a specific strategy for increasing PAF donations to the Arts, for a number of reasons. Philanthropy Australia's purpose is to advance philanthropy – in all its forms and in all sectors. The field in which PAFs and individual donors choose to give is a personal choice and while we provide information to assist people in working out a giving strategy, it isn't our place to influence that decision by advocating one cause over another.  There are other organisations out there which conduct activities devoted to facilitating donations to the arts, including arts peak bodies and others such as AbaF and Artsupport Australia. And of course the Harold Mitchell report on  Private Sector Support for the Arts has also come up with some good strategies.

    Fortunately the arts stands well with PAFs – according to the latest ATO statistics, cultural organisations (including the arts) is the third largest sector supported by PAFs. 

    Kind Regards,

    The team at Philanthropy Australia

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