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Philanthropy Australia CEO announces departure


19 November 2019 at 8:28 am
Maggie Coggan
The leader of Philanthropy Australia says her focus will be delivering the organisation’s big line-up of 2020 programs 


Maggie Coggan | 19 November 2019 at 8:28 am


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Philanthropy Australia CEO announces departure
19 November 2019 at 8:28 am

The leader of Philanthropy Australia says her focus will be delivering the organisation’s big line-up of 2020 programs 

Sarah Davies has announced she will not seek an extension on her contract beyond the end of 2020, winding up a five-year tenure as head of the organisation. 

The Philanthropy Australia board said on Thursday that Davies had given an “unusually long” notice period to avoid disruption to the business and to make sure there was an orderly transition period. 

“It gives us time to find an exceptional leader for the next phase of Philanthropy Australia’s development,” the board said. 

Davies told Pro Bono News that with the organisation’s current strategy running until the end of 2021, bringing in a fresh face at the end of 2020 to oversee the organisation’s next steps was the right move.    

“It means [the new CEO] can concentrate completely on thinking around what do we need next in Australia, and what is Philanthropy Australia’s role,” Davies said. 

“So it was either the current CEO that does that and stays on another four or five years to deliver it or you bring in a CEO who will be part of it from the beginning.”  

She said she hadn’t had time to think about career prospects beyond 2020 due to the number of programs the organisation planned to deliver in the coming year.   

“We have got a lot of our programs still to deliver this year and we have so much planned next year which really excites me,” Davies said. 

The lineup of events and programs for next year includes a national leadership series in partnership with TACSI and Perpetual around systems change, another national leadership series in partnership with the Ramsay Foundation, and the organisation’s national conference, which will be hosted in Sydney in September. 

Davies added that over the next year she wanted to focus on the future of philanthropy in Australia and growing the practice, rather than on the future of the organisation itself.  

“As a peak body we will continue to research policy, carry out advocacy work and service our members, but maybe there’s an emerging third part, which is much more about really growing philanthropy in Australia and really cementing that understanding of its contribution because I really believe it is critical to a flourishing civil society, and I think the work that our members are doing in Australia is stunning.” 

The board did not indicate when the recruitment process would begin.


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

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

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