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Inaugural Philanthropy Leaders Named


Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 at 8:45 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
High-profile Queensland entrepreneur and corporate philanthropist Alan English has won the 2014 inaugural Philanthropy Leader of the Year award, while newcomer Michael Gonski, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills law firm, has been award Emerging Philanthropy Leader at the Philanthropy Australia Conference.

Tuesday, 2nd September 2014
at 8:45 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Inaugural Philanthropy Leaders Named
Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 at 8:45 pm

High-profile Queensland entrepreneur and corporate philanthropist Alan English has won the 2014 inaugural Philanthropy Leader of the Year award, while newcomer Michael Gonski, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills law firm, has been award Emerging Philanthropy Leader at the Philanthropy Australia Conference.

The selection panel, chaired by Tim Fairfax, Philanthropy Australia Council member and Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, said the award-winners were recognised for their stand-out achievements in building giving in Australia over the past 12 months.

Other panelists included Sylvia Admans (RE Ross Trust), Sean Barrett (Origin Foundation) and Emily Massey-Greene (Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation of Giving program).

Newly appointed President of Philanthropy Australia, Alan Schwartz said the awards were created to recognise those who stand at the forefront of innovation in the philanthropic sector.

“Both recipients have shown a commitment to creating exciting initiatives to inspire other organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to the growth of giving in Australia,” Schwartz said.

“Through his entrepreneurial and social leadership of corporate enterprise Silver Chef Ltd, and his creation of the English Family Foundation, Alan English has become an inspiration in the sector and embodies the qualities that define philanthropic excellence including creativity, innovation, commitment and courage”.

“Meanwhile, relative newcomer Michael Gonski has achieved significant early success through his exemplary work with Sydney Story Factory and is making a critical difference as an emerging leader in the sector.” Schwartz said.

The inaugural Philanthropy Leader Awards were presented at Philanthropy Australia’s Delegate Drinks, supportted by the Bennelong Foundation and Bennelong Wealth Partners.

‘The Delegate Drinks was a perfect chance for delegates to catch up and network after a big day, we’re fortunate to have had the support of The Bennelong Foundation for the drinks event,’ Schwartz said.

Each winner will receive $5,000 in microfinance to donate to their favourite social enterprise.

Philanthropy Australia’s biennial national conference is being held in Melbourne on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 September 2014 bringing together more than 700 delegates including leading philanthropists, trendsetters and visionaries from Australia and overseas, and aims to raise the awareness and importance of giving in Australia, and help inspire funders, potential funders and grant seekers.

About the Winners

Philanthropy Leader of the Year – Allan English

Allan English has been described as a rare example of a truly visionary and inspiring leader who uses his experience, knowledge, financial wealth and networks to develop leaders and organisations to drive social change within their communities.

English is a Brisbane-based entrepreneur who founded ASX listed Silver Chef Limited in 1986. Silver Chef is Australia’s only hospitality equipment funding business. Silver Chef’s unique Rent-Try-Buy Solution allows businesses to free up their working capital by providing flexibility and preserving their cash flow.

In 2010 Allan stepped down as CEO of Silver Chef and transferred 50% of his shares to form the capital base of the English Family Foundation.

The English Family Foundation supports local and overseas social entrepreneurs tackling some of the more challenging issues facing our society. The Foundation is also involved in supporting local projects both through their Southeast Queensland Matters and Social Innovation giving programs.

In 2001, as a volunteer, English established the Queensland office for Opportunity International Australia, and is now both an Opportunity Ambassador and a member of their Council.

English was awarded Queensland Community Philanthropist of the Year in 2012 and is often sought after as a keynote speaker on philanthropy.

In March 2014 English toured New Zealand with Philanthropy New Zealand inspiring budding and experienced philanthropists and grantmakers.

English is Chair of The Funding Network (founded in 2013) and serves on the board of the School of Social Entrepreneurs and Karuna Hospice and on the advisory board for QUT's The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non Profit Studies.

English is a former recipient of the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

English is currently Executive Chairman of Silver Chef Ltd.

English has become a regular speaker on the merits of philanthropy and inspiring others to join him, particularly 2013 and 2014

Emerging Philanthropy Leader – Michael Gonski

At 29 years old, Michael Gonski is described as having a deep understanding of philanthropy and has already committed to making it an integral part of his life.

Gonski joined law firm Herbert Smith Freehills as a paralegal in 2004 and is now a partner in the employee relations practice area. He provides pro bono legal work through Herbert Smith Freehillls and has successfully encouraged corporate clients to take positions on Not for Profit boards.

Gonski joined the board of the Sydney Story Factory in 2011 and was appointed as Chair in the same year. Co-founded by journalists Catherine Keenan and Tim Dick, The Sydney Story Factory is a Not for Profit creative writing centre for young people in Redfern, Sydney.

For 7 years, Gonski was on the Sydney Community Committee of the Freehills Foundation, and as part of that he was involved with Platform 70, a United Way Initiative getting 70 homeless people into permanent housing. Michael became chairman of the NSW chapter of Next Generation of Giving at Philanthropy Australia in 2013 where he has provided leadership and grown membership significantly.

Gonski is also chair of the young executives committee for the Greater Western Sydney AFL team; a strong supporter of Variety; and helped start 10 x 10, an innovative funding platform for small Not for Profit organisations.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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