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Showcasing Community and Philanthropy Partnerships

11 June 2015 at 11:39 am
Xavier Smerdon
The recently announced Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week aims to showcase and promote partnerships that are making a difference in communities right across Australia, writes Krystian Seibert, Policy & Research Manager with Philanthropy Australia.

Xavier Smerdon | 11 June 2015 at 11:39 am


Showcasing Community and Philanthropy Partnerships
11 June 2015 at 11:39 am

The recently announced Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week aims to showcase and promote partnerships that are making a difference in communities right across Australia, writes Krystian Seibert, Policy & Research Manager with Philanthropy Australia.

Following the second meeting of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership on 28 May, the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced that the Australian Government will fund a new ‘Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week’ (CPPW) initiative.

CPPW celebrates the ways in which partnerships between community groups and philanthropy build vibrant and resilient communities. It aims to:

  • Promote the benefits and highlight the impact of community and philanthropy partnerships;
  • Profile philanthropic contributions – from individuals, businesses and others – at a community level;
  • Showcase best practice approaches to community philanthropy and partnerships; and
  • Highlight examples of community and philanthropy partnerships that other communities can learn from, possibly leading to more community and philanthropy partnerships and the formation of new Community Foundations.

Philanthropy Australia is proud to be managing CPPW in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and the first CPPW will take place between 7 and 13 December this year. It will run again in 2016 and 2017.

Online resources and a small number of grants will be made available to help groups profile, acknowledge and celebrate what has been achieved across Australia thanks to strong partnerships between community groups and those that support them.

Why is CPPW an important initiative? That’s a good question – it’s important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there are lots examples of fantastic partnerships between community groups and philanthropy.

Right across Australia, people come together to improve and build their local communities and tackle social and environmental challenges at a grassroots level. They don’t do so alone, but work in partnership with philanthropy in all its diverse forms – businesses, trusts and foundations, and individual donors.

Look at the Boundless all abilities playground in Canberra. It’s the first of its kind in Canberra and caters to children of all physical ability levels. Starting out as an initiative driven by a number of local public servants, it quickly attracted support from the construction and professional services sector. Grassroots and workplace fundraising contributed about $450,000 towards the project and pro bono and in-kind support from the construction sector added up to more than $850,000.

Or consider the Red Earth Community Foundation, formed in 2011 in rural Queensland against a backdrop of challenging socio-economic conditions. The Foundation received a one-off donation of $6,000 from an organisation looking to help rural communities affected by natural disaster. This acted as a catalyst, and by leveraging those funds, they were able to raise more than $40,000 – the funds have been used to run two leadership programs in the community, both of which have been very successful.

These are just two examples – but there are many more.

When it comes to discussions about policy initiatives to grow our culture of philanthropy we normally think of new tax incentives or reducing red tape. Don’t get me wrong – these are important, but they represent only part of the picture.

Growing our culture of philanthropy also requires a focus on showcasing what’s already happening in communities across Australia. By doing this, we can promote best practice approaches to partnering with philanthropy and hopefully inspire more such partnerships to develop.

That’s what CPPW aims to do.

Secondly, there is a need to challenge some of the perceptions that exist when it comes to philanthropy.

A common perception is that philanthropy is something for wealthy individuals and big businesses. But philanthropy is not just about the ‘big end of town’, rather it’s something which happens in communities across Australia.

There are so many examples of people contributing their time and talent, as well as their own funds, to build strong and cohesive communities.

Neither of the examples above involved the ‘big end of town’ providing all the funding and making the decisions. They were examples of different people and organisations coming together, making decisions collaboratively and contributing how they can for the good of the community.

We need to emphasise that philanthropy is something everybody can do and every community can engage with – it’s not narrow and exclusive but broad and inclusive.

That’s one message which CPPW hopes to convey.

So while CPPW is a celebration, it’s not just an excuse for a party! It’s an initiative aiming to grow our culture of philanthropy, inspire new partnerships with philanthropy and change our perceptions of philanthropy.

Of course the budget for CPPW is not unlimited and hence I don’t want to oversell its potential reach and scope. It won’t change the nature of philanthropy as we know it, nor is it designed to. It’s just one more step in the journey of growing philanthropy in Australia, and even small steps can make a big difference.

So how can you get involved?

There are so many different ways that groups can get involved in CPPW.

It will really depend on what your group does, who you partner with and what you would like to do. The possibilities are endless, but the CPPW website has a few ideas that might help you decide how best to celebrate a partnership you’re involved with. The ideas cover all sort of different participants and stakeholders including community groups, businesses, philanthropic organisations, individuals and the media.

To help community groups and their philanthropic supporters celebrate their partnerships, $160,000 has also been made available through grants of up to $10,000.

Grant applications close 5pm on 3 July and will be awarded in September, well in advance of CPPW in December. More information about the grants and how to apply is available here.

About the author: Krystian Seibert is a regular columnist for Pro Bono Australia on philanthropy, public policy and research. He is the Policy & Research Manager with Philanthropy Australia and tweets at @KSeibertAu

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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