Philanthropists and Advocates Receive Top 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours
12 June 2017 at 12:01 am
A number of established philanthropists, not-for-profit sector advocates and sector advisers have received top honours in the 2017 Queen’s birthday awards.
The governor-general and chancellor of the Order of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), has approved 891 awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List released on Monday.
Included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List are 673 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia who have been recognised for contributions and service in Australia and internationally. The awards have been presented to 467 men and 206 women.
The highest award, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) has been bestowed on 15 Australians including two long standing philanthropists.
Philanthropist and businessman John (Aaron) Gandel AO, was awarded an AC for his eminent service to the community as a benefactor and supporter of a range of visual arts and cultural institutions, youth education, medical and biotechnology innovation programs, business and the advancement of philanthropic giving.
Gandel is chairman of Gandel Philanthropy, chairman of the board of governors of the Jewish Museum of Australia, life governor of Alfred Health, since 2002, chair of the Alfred Hospital Cancer Centre, foundation member of the Victorian Arts Centre, since 1991, life governor of Vision Australia Foundation and the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.
Gandel is seen as the driving force behind one of the most successful retail properties in Australia – the development of the Chadstone Shopping Centre, the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere.
He told Pro Bono News that receiving the Companion of the Order of Australia award was “indeed a surprise”, but that he was “at the same time incredibly grateful for this honour”.
“My family is everything to me, and I am indebted in particular to my wife for always being there for me. I dedicate this award to my children and my grandchildren,” Gandel said.
“My parents came from humble beginnings, but they were given a chance at a better life here in Australia and they embraced it. All of my family is grateful for all that this country has given us, and we are committed to giving back.”
Philanthropist Michael Crouch AO, the chairman of Australian private equity company Midgeon Holdings, has also been honoured with the top award of an AC.
Previously Crouch was executive chairman of Zip Industries, an instant boiling water manufacturing company which he started in 1962.
The award was made for “eminent service to the community through philanthropic contributions to youth, cultural, medical research and health-care organisations, to business in the areas of manufacturing and international trade, and as a supporter of innovation and higher education”.
Crouch told Pro Bono News he was “thrilled and honoured” by the award and attributed his success to his “life at Zip.”
“I was there for over 52 years and with all those people who built it from a tiny little company into a company that can export around the world. It’s those people who I feel are being directly honoured because they allowed me and my family to do whatever we have done in the community,” Crouch said.
“I have worked with some wonderful people.”
In 2016 Crouch joined with the Grant Family Trust to donate $1 million towards a new Centre for Family Based Mental Health Care at St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney.
Described as a pioneering family-based mental health initiative, the St Vincent’s Centre for Family Based Mental Health Care, is set to develop models of mental health care, which involve families.
“I think mental health is an important segment of the community so many children now suffer some form of mental health illness that I think it is an extremely important part of the community. But all health care is,” Crouch said on the eve of the Queen’s birthday announcement.
“It’s just that I have had some affinity with St Vincent’s and I was thrilled to be able to support them.”
He said he would be celebrating “quietly” with his family over the long weekend.
Others who received AC awards include actress Cate Blanchett, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, economist Professor Ross Garnaut AO and human rights and pro bono lawyer, Julian McMahon.
In other significant awards, Christopher Cuffe, the founder and chairman of Australian Philanthropic Services (APS), an Australian not-for-profit organisation helping to increase the impact of giving and build the sustainability of those within the sector, was honoured with an AO.
The award was for “distinguished service to the community as an advocate for philanthropy, as a supporter of improved financial efficiencies in charitable organisations, and to the funds management industry”.
Cuffe told Pro Bono News the award was “very unexpected”.
“I never think you do any of this for [the awards] but by the same token I can say it’s humbling that the country recognises you like this. It was an enormous thrill to receive the notification,” Cuffe said.
“The two areas I have had most involvement is in starting Australian Philanthropic Services and continue to be involved as chairman and support the organisation financially.
“That to me has been an enormous success because it’s still early days only going five years and we now help nearly 300 families. I established it to try to simplify philanthropy in Australia and to make it an easy process and advice from a one stop shop because I know when we set up our family PAFF it was complicated and expensive and no-one knew much about it, and that was when the light went on back in 2007.”
Cuffe said that as a result of those efforts there was now a pool of capital by those 300 families of around $400 million.
“There’s $30 to $40 million a year given away and I have no doubt that that will significantly increase. I think this year alone, we are probably setting up close to 50 per cent of all PAFFS in the market and we have a strongly growing ancillary funds,” he said.
“And to think you did something from scratch that really made the whole process simpler it has been very satisfying. It is also satisfying to know that I set it up as a charity so that people didn’t have any doubt about what the motivation of the whole thing was and as a charity we needed ongoing funding and whilst we charge for our service we are not break even yet.
“We are probably two years away from break even and once that reaches break even it will be a fantastic thing because it is ‘for ever’ then and it is not reliant on anyone person.”
He said it had also been “fantastic” to be involved in a fund he put together called Third Link Growth Fund.
“I have been managing for nine years,” he said.
“Its an Australian equities fund with about $140 million of investors funds in it and it now gives away $150,000 a month which is good.
“When you join the dots on both of those things it has really been about trying to increase philanthropy in a Australia. That’s the side I’m on. I don’t work with NFPs so much but try to raise the awareness of philanthropy.”
Cuffe said that entering into the social sector had been an “eye-opener” for him.
“In 2006 when I joined Social Ventures Australia with Michael Trail AM and Jan Owen AM, who were fantastic mentors of mine, they really opened my eyes up to this sector and gave me ideas of how I might be able to do things myself that have eventuated… The ride was really interesting.”
Cuffe said he would be celebrating the Queen’s birthday holiday “quietly”.
Refugee and asylum seeker advocate Paris Aristotle AM, received an AO for distinguished service through executive and advisory roles with a range of state and national organisations, and as an advocate for improved social welfare programs. He is also 2017 Victorian Australian of the Year.
In 1988, Aristotle set up the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, also known as Foundation House. Now leading a team of more than 200 staff, he has helped refugees recover from trauma, through a range of mental health, health, advocacy, educational and community services.
He has worked closely with the United Nations high commissioner for refugees in the field of refugee resettlement and has been instrumental in building a national network of torture and trauma services.
Disability advocate and regular Pro Bono News contributor Patricia (Tricia) Malowney has received a medal in the general division (OAM) for service to people with a disability through her advocacy roles.
Malowney is the immediate past president of the Victorian Disability Services Board and has roles on a range of boards and committees including chair of Independent Disability Services Board, a member of Australian Orthotics and Prosthetics Association and a director at Scope. She is a member of the Coroner’s Systemic Review of Family Violence Deaths Reference Group, deputy chair of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and chair of Women With Disabilities Victoria.
Malowney contracted polio at age four months and used callipers until she was 16. At age 36, she developed post polio syndrome, was retired from a middle management position with Victoria Police at age 46 and now uses a range of mobility aids to get around.
LGBTQI advocate and author Peter de Waal has received an OAM for significant service to the community and through a range of volunteer roles.
He was the organiser and participant in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978. He is also a foundation member of the Phone-a-Friend Program, (now Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service NSW).
For the Queen’s birthday 2017 honours list, women made up 29.1 per cent of all Order of Australia General Division nominations, and 30.6 per cent of all recipients.
The governor-general offered his “deepest congratulations, admiration and respect” for the recipients.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian honours system,” Cosgrove said.
“Since 1975 these awards have helped to define, encourage and reinforce Australian goals and values. They identify role models who give without thought of recognition or personal gain.
“Today’s recipients now join the company of almost 50,000 women and men whose meritorious and brave actions have enriched our community and our lives. Their qualities – compassion, dedication, generosity, selflessness, tolerance, and energetic ambition – inspire and motivate us.
“For over 40 years these honours have helped to define, encourage and reinforce our national aspirations and ideals by acknowledging exceptional Australians. Today, we add a new group of names to those we should all admire.
“On behalf of all Australians, I thank them for their contributions.”
Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at www.gg.gov.au.