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Pro Bono Australia’s Founder in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

8 June 2015 at 9:20 am
Lina Caneva
Pro Bono Australia Founder Karen Mahlab has been recognised for her work in the Not for Profit sector in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

Lina Caneva | 8 June 2015 at 9:20 am


Pro Bono Australia’s Founder in Queen’s Birthday Honours List
8 June 2015 at 9:20 am

Pro Bono Australia Founder Karen Mahlab has been recognised for her work in the Not for Profit sector in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

Karen Mahlab has been awarded an AM in the Order of Australia honours list for her significant  service to the community through support for the Not for Profit sector and  contributions to philanthropic initiatives.

The Queen’s Birthday 2015 Honours List recognises a diverse range of contributions and service across all fields, including professional endeavours, community service, Defence and Emergency Services personnel, and acts of bravery.

Included in The Queen’s Birthday 2015 Honours List are 519 recipients of awards in the general division of the Order of Australia (including 138 AM recipients) who have been recognised for contributions and service to fellow citizens in Australia and internationally.  

Chair of the Council of the Order of Australia, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Retd) said the awards recognise service across a broad range of fields.

“They are public recognition of people who provide outstanding community service and whose achievements enhance national identity," Sir Angus said.

“I'm delighted and honoured to be acknowledged in this way,” Mahlab said at the weekend announcement.

“Connection and community is at the core of who we are as human beings and to have been involved in the fostering of that in Australia has been a rewarding journey. I feel very lucky to have had my work as my passion”.

“I have also been lucky to have met and worked with similarly passionate and committed people along the way who give me great optimism about what the future holds for us all.

Karen Mahlab founded Pro Bono Australia in 1999 as an online hub for the Not for Profit sector. Her own philanthropy has seen her on the board of a number of organisations including being a board member of the Australian Communities Foundation where she has a philanthropic sub-fund.

As part of her committee work with ACF she was instrumental in establishing  one of Australian Communities Foundation’s major strategic initiatives called MacroMelbourne which was designed to ensure that Melbourne continues to be a liveable city for all citizens as it faces the challenges of growth over the next 25 years.

The initiative aimed to identify areas where philanthropic investment would contribute to creating a more equitable, sustainable and liveable Melbourne.  

“MacroMelbourne was about a vision for Melbourne, looking a generation ahead and recognising that decisions taken at a particular point in time have an effect and impact not only on the current generation, but also future generations,” Mahlab said

The MacroMelbourne process involved; producing a solid research and evidence base about disadvantage and inequity in greater Melbourne in partnership with several universities; supporting 27 projects across Melbourne raising more than $2 million in funding and establishing deep and lasting partnerships and collaborations between philanthropy, business, government and community sector organisations.

Simon McKeon AO, philanthropist, Executive Chairman of the Macquarie Group and Australian of the Year in 2011 described Karen Mahlab as one of those rare individuals who brings commercial success to the Not for Profit sector and in doing so, has a profound effect on the lives of many.

He said Pro Bono Australia is an example of a long established and successful social business.

“(Karen) has a deep interest in the welfare of others. She could have easily devoted her life to purely commercial success. But not only has she gone about actively supporting the Not for Profit sector but has done it in a pioneering way which has shown  Australia that it is possible to create a strong and sustainable social business.”

The full 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List can be found HERE

To contact Pro Bono Australia email 


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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