A Catalyst for Attitudinal Change in Philanthropy
27 February 2018 at 7:30 am
The NEXUS Australian Youth Summit is coming at an important time in Australia’s history, writes Celeste Iuliano.
Later this month a famous actor, a social commentator, a journalist passionate about exposing gender discrimination and a campaigner who is changing lives will come together on a panel in Melbourne at the NEXUS Australian Youth Summit. The topic: the impact of #metoo.
“These four powerhouse women are at the forefront of the growing conversation on women’s rights, so expect this event to be both fast-paced and full on,” said Rachel English, chair of NEXUS Australia, who is organising the summit for 18 to 20 March.
Around 200 people from across the world will attend the event to hear from young visionaries who want to increase the impact of philanthropy and social investing. These visionaries include Tracey Spicer, Jamila Rizvi, Yael Stone, and Renee Carr who’ll be leading the discussion on gender equality and #metoo.
Other speakers include Sara El-Amine, director of advocacy at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Professor Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of modern microfinance and social business, and Grace Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation, which is fighting modern slavery. In the room will also be young philanthropists, artists, public servants and entrepreneurs.
The summit comes at an important time in Australia’s history, as over the last decade the nation has experienced a tremendous growth in absolute wealth, but also one of the fastest rising income inequality rates.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the top 1 per cent of Australians own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent combined. This is the greatest level of income inequality that has been recorded for the country in 20 years.
“Australia can often be too far away from the movers and shakers in philanthropy and social investing to be at the forefront of sector trends,” said Rachel.
“That’s why NEXUS is important; it pulls us in to a movement of more than 3,500 people from over 70 countries. From this position, we can have an impact.”
Although NEXUS members are aged 18 to 39, together with their families they have an estimated combined net worth above US$150 billion. Their generation is also set to witness one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history.
Research conducted by the Boston College Centre on Philanthropy estimates that US$59 trillion will be inherited in the US alone, and that up to US$30 trillion of that wealth may be directed to charitable giving. By engaging young change makers from wealthy communities, the NEXUS summit provides a platform for conversation and collaboration that aims to act as a catalyst for attitudinal change in Australian philanthropy.
“We want to create a space for millennials to engage; to build a common understanding, learn from each other, share ideas and create ways to solve new challenges facing the world today,” Rachel said.
“It’s a safe place to ask questions and learn and really get deep into the social change sector.”
Rachel acknowledges that shifting attitudes could be confronting, but encourages participants to challenge their thinking in order to spark new ideas and collaborations that drive change.
“What we really want to do this year is to hold people accountable to the groupthink that is prevalent in most sectors, ours included,” she said.
“A conference is a dangerous place for people to come together and pat themselves on the back for doing good, leaving with nothing changed. That’s why we’ve got a focus on collaborating and creating ways to solve new problems.”
To learn more about the upcoming NEXUS Australian Youth Summit visit the website.