Close Search
News  |  Philanthropy

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


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.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at or download our contributor guidelines.


2022 Salary Survey

Get more stories like this


Your email address will not be published.


Philanthropists explore global and local trends to help humanity


Thursday, 7th July 2022 at 7:00 am

Philanthropy and the abortion postcode lottery

Bonney Corbin

Monday, 4th July 2022 at 1:03 pm

The importance of giving circles in contemporary philanthropy

Christine Darcas

Thursday, 23rd June 2022 at 11:15 am

Milestone birthday for transformative giving structure

Danielle Kutchel

Wednesday, 22nd June 2022 at 4:16 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

News for those with purpose.

Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Thank you - you have successfully subscribed.

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!