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The Benevolent Society Steps Back From Social Leadership


27 June 2017 at 8:29 am
Wendy Williams
A social enterprise, which was launched in 1999 by Australia’s first charity, The Benevolent Society, to create better leadership for a better Australia, is set to close after almost two decades.


Wendy Williams | 27 June 2017 at 8:29 am


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The Benevolent Society Steps Back From Social Leadership
27 June 2017 at 8:29 am

A social enterprise, which was launched in 1999 by Australia’s first charity, The Benevolent Society, to create better leadership for a better Australia, is set to close after almost two decades.

Social Leadership Australia (SLA) will shut its doors on 29 September 2017 after the decision was taken by the board, CEO and executives to “concentrate all energies” on the organisation’s three areas of focus: child and family, older Australians and people with disability.

The Benevolent Society CEO Jo Toohey said the organisation recognised the importance of social leadership and how much SLA had done in developing the capacity for social impact, however it was time to close SLA.

“I am proud of our role in creating and establishing SLA and its work in developing social leadership capacity across the NGO, government and corporate sectors over the past 18 years,” Toohey told Pro Bono News.

“We acknowledge the fantastic work The Benevolent Society staff who worked on SLA, consultants who delivered the programs, alumni, and funders have done to execute the curriculum to help people lead through social impact and justice.

“But, it is time for us to close SLA. Perhaps it will emerge and evolve into a new entity.”

SLA was launched in 1999 by The Benevolent Society as an innovative program to educate government, not-for-profit and corporate principals about leading their organisations and departments through a lens of social impact and justice.

Toohey said the market for social leadership had evolved and it was time for The Benevolent Society “to step back”.

“We have decided that our clear focus is on directly working with older people, people with disabilities, and children and families to help them live their best lives, as well as advocating for social justice through our campaigns,” she said.

“Our organisation has been an advocate for social change for over 200 years and this will continue through our advocacy campaigns.

“We are halfway through our three year strategy and this strategy clearly outlines our commitment in achieving social change, with two of our four goals focused on achieving impact through our work and our voice.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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