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Philanthropy centre announced to tackle Australia’s freshwater crisis


1 October 2019 at 8:20 am
Maggie Coggan
Two Australian philanthropy giants have joined forces, pumping millions of dollars into a project to protect the country’s freshwater resources.


Maggie Coggan | 1 October 2019 at 8:20 am


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Philanthropy centre announced to tackle Australia’s freshwater crisis
1 October 2019 at 8:20 am

Two Australian philanthropy giants have joined forces, pumping millions of dollars into a project to protect the country’s freshwater resources.

The Ian Potter Foundation (IPF) and The Myer Foundation (TMF) announced joint funding of a new organisation that aims to be an independent source of water and catchment policy advice, leading to improved management of Australia’s land and water management. 

It comes off the back of a report co-funded by the two foundations, exploring the issues affecting Australia’s freshwater systems to understand what role philanthropy can play in the management and protection of the resource.

The report’s key recommendation was setting up the new organisation.   

Leonard Vary, the TMF CEO, told Pro Bono News that population growth teamed with the impacts of climate change meant the time was right to act. 

“The research suggests that a trusted, independent, community-led and evidence-based organisation is needed to catalyse change and help frame future water and catchment policy to serve the interests of all Australians for generations to come,” Vary said.

Both foundations have committed to invest $5 million in the project over the next decade, on the basis they are able to raise a further $25 million from external parties. 

Craig Connelly, the IPF CEO, said the national centre would convene experts, policymakers, industry, and communities to assist government to deliver policy settings to achieve improved and sustainable management of Australia’s freshwater resources. 

“It is envisaged that the centre will utilise a unique approach that prioritises decision-making processes and uses models of collaborative policy co-design to identify solutions,” Connelly said. 

He said philanthropy was perfectly placed to deal with such “significant, challenging and socially important issues”.  

“This is a compelling opportunity for Australian philanthropy to establish an organisation that is intended to have a meaningful and lasting impact of the management of Australia’s most precious resource: freshwater,” he said.  

Representatives from both foundations will search for partners to help fund the project in the coming weeks and months.


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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