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Australian philanthropy responds to COVID-19 crisis


9 April 2020 at 3:48 pm
Luke Michael
A new public statement offers a robust framework for funders to help the NFP sector


Luke Michael | 9 April 2020 at 3:48 pm


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Australian philanthropy responds to COVID-19 crisis
9 April 2020 at 3:48 pm

A new public statement offers a robust framework for funders to help the NFP sector

As Australian charities struggle to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the philanthropy sector has vowed to step up its support of not for profits and the broader community throughout the crisis.             

Several prominent philanthropic funders – including The Snow Foundation, The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, and Macquarie Group Foundation – have signed a new public statement from Philanthropy Australia.

The statement compels Australian philanthropic funders to adapt 11 key principles within their own funding context to help grantees and partners through the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Philanthropy Australia CEO Sarah Davies said the statement reflected philanthropy’s critical role in supporting the charity sector and broader community.

She said the economic realities of COVID-19 threatened the existence of charities and NFPs from all corners of the sector.

“The not-for-profit sector provides fundamental support and services to millions of Australians, and the work they do is essential to our collective health and wellbeing,” Davies said.

“There has never been a more significant time for the philanthropic sector to step up and forward together, to support our grantees and our partners to continue to operate, deliver services and sustain our communities as we work through these challenges together.”

Philanthropists already stepping up

There have been some sizeable philanthropic donations announced during the crisis:

  • Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has said he will donate US$1 billion towards fighting coronavirus – which represents more than a quarter of his wealth.
  • Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation has pledged $160 million to fly in specialist medical supplies from China.
  • Macquarie Group has allocated $20 million to the Macquarie Group Foundation to build a fund to help organisations working to combat COVID-19.
  • Sony is establishing a global relief fund for COVID-19 worth US$100 million.

Some of the key principles include reducing or removing restrictions on current grants, adopting more flexible reporting arrangements, maintaining or increasing grant funding, and offering funding loans and impact investments.

The sector has also vowed to offer support in addition to funding and to amplify community voices throughout the crisis.


Read more: COVID-19⁠ – Five things philanthropists can do

Philanthropy Australia co-chairs Amanda Miller and Ann Johnson said the public statement offered a robust framework for funders.

 “Philanthropy finds itself confronting an unprecedented challenge during this health crisis. It demands a compassionate and strategic response that enables the organisations we support to continue their vital work,” Miller and Johnson said.

“This statement provides a framework for action and a clear direction that we believe responds to the urgency of the situation we all face.  

“There has never been a more important time for philanthropy to unite in a collective response that gives certainty and flexibility to organisations who are struggling to deal with the crisis.”

The full statement can be seen here.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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