Conversations in Changing Philanthropy
Philanthropy in Australia is undergoing significant change. A new philanthropic culture is starting to emerge, one that is embracing change and dynamism, and encouraging giving in different ways, shapes and forms.
If you are part of the philanthropic community, then the Generosity Forum is a great place to learn and network. Whether you’re a donor, funder, advisor, social entrepreneur, impact investor, administrator of a trust/foundation, nonprofit/charity executive, or connected to philanthropy in some other way, the forum will help you understand how the giving landscape is shifting and the implications.
Program highlights include:
Speakers and panellists include some of Australia’s leading donors, funders, industry experts, advisors and specialists in philanthropy.
So, please, come and join in, let’s expand the giving conversation!
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Topics and Presenters
What does it mean to be a leader in philanthropy?
Philanthropy has come of age in Australia with both established and emerging philanthropic leaders exploring new avenues and opportunities in order to amplify the impact of their giving.
As the philanthropic landscape continues to evolve, this session will explore the leadership visions, practices and insights of four notable leaders in the sector: Craig Connelly from The Ian Potter Foundation; Seri Renkin from ten20 Foundation; philanthropist, entrepreneur and fund manager Geoff Wilson; and co-founder of Australia’s first group giving platform, Good Mob, Sarah Wickham.
By drawing on their own personal experiences and expectations as leaders, the panel will take a deep dive into the topic of leadership to uncover what it means to be a leader in philanthropy.
Panellist: Craig Connelly, Chief Executive Officer, The Ian Potter Foundation
Before joining The Ian Potter Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in 2015, Craig Connelly spent 25 years working in the financial services sector, initially with Price Waterhouse, followed by 11 years as a leading Australian equities analyst and partner with JB Were.
In 2004, Craig successfully established his own Australian Equities long/short fund before selling his interest in the fund in late 2011. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.
Over the past 15 years, Craig has also supported personal philanthropic pursuits, most notably his Swim for Life campaign in 2005 and 2006, raising funds for the Royal Melbourne Hospital; and more recently devoting his efforts to the advancement of a large community club in Melbourne’s north-west.
Panellist: Seri Renkin, Managing Director, ten20 Foundation
Seri is Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation, a catalytic philanthropy organisation which brings inspiration and innovation to early childhood social investment in Australia.
The ten20 Foundation catalyses, convenes and supports community led collective impact efforts focused on vulnerable children between the ages of 0-8, working alongside system partners to reduce Australia’s child vulnerability.
Seri has over 24 years’ experience working in the corporate, nonprofit, philanthropic and government sectors, including holding senior advisory and non-executive board roles. Seri was the founding Director of the Melbourne office of Social Ventures Australia.
In more recent years, she has advised social entrepreneurs, assisting them with start-up social enterprises or transitioning their early stage proof-of-concept to sustainable organisations. Seri brings a unique perspective in understanding how diverse sectors operate and how to build cross sector collaborations focussed on social impact.
Panellist: Sarah Wickham, Philanthropy Manager, Equity Trustees
Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in public policy development, communications, fundraising and philanthropy. She is currently Philanthropy Manager at Equity Trustees, where she is responsible for advising philanthropy and nonprofit clients on making meaningful, effective and long-lasting impact.
After receiving the Nexus Innovator of the Year Award in February 2015, Sarah co-founded Good Mob to support her mission of growing giving in Australia. Good Mob is Australia’s first online platform that provides digital tools to amplify collective giving in Australia.
Previously, Sarah helped raise millions of philanthropic dollars for RMIT University where she worked as a major gift fundraising manager.
She has also served as a policy and communications advisor to a number of federal members of parliament and a Victorian state government department. Her policy experience spans across foreign affairs, higher education, industrial relations, women’s affairs and employment and workplace relations.
Sarah has a Masters in Social Investment and Philanthropy and has completed a Nonprofit Leadership Program with the Harvard Club of Australia.
Sarah is currently on the board of fortyfivedownstairs, a Melbourne-based nonprofit theatre and gallery.
Panellist: Geoff Wilson, Chairman, Wilson Asset Management
Geoff Wilson is well-known for his achievements in business, and this has flowed into a strong interest in philanthropy.
Geoff has over 35 years’ experience in investment markets having held a variety of senior investment roles in Australia, the UK and the US. In 1997 he founded and remains Chairman of Wilson Asset Management, a leading boutique investment management firm.
His interest in philanthropy has found expression in a variety of ways. Together with wife Karen, the couple have a private ancillary fund called the Wilson Foundation which provides support to causes such as disadvantaged children and young people.
At a corporate level Geoff was the inspiration and innovator behind the launch of both the Future Generation Investment Company and Future Generation Global Investment Company in the last couple of years. These are listed investment companies with the philanthropic aim of giving away 1% of assets each year. In 2016 the companies announced a combined donation of $4.71 million to Australian charities.
Geoff is a Director of Odyssey House, the McGrath Foundation, and the Australian Children’s Music Foundation
It’s all in the family – The Morris Family Foundation – an interview with Hayley Morris
When Chris Morris founded Computershare in Melbourne in 1978, he couldn’t have anticipated that the tiny start-up technology business would go on to become the world’s leading share registry business with a market capitalisation in the billions of dollars.
With substantial wealth came a desire to take the plunge into philanthropy, and in 2009 the Morris Family Foundation was created. The foundation gives away $2 – $2.5 million a year, and in this session Hayley Morris (daughter of Chris) will share the Morris family’s giving journey, including the highs, the lows, the challenges and the dynamics of a family foundation.
The evolution of the family’s giving is intertwined with Hayley’s own personal story. Early in her career Hayley was headed down the path of taking a leading role in the family’s business, Computershare. However, a trip to Africa proved to be an epiphany where Hayley questioned many aspects of her life as a “consumer”. She left the family business to set out on a new path to learn what it means to live and create a sustainable future, and is doing just that.
This session will explore the role of philanthropy in a family, the sometimes tricky relationships to be negotiated, and the successes and bonding that can come through philanthropy.
About Hayley Morris
As Executive Director of her Family Office, the Morris Group, Hayley plays a leading role in the Group’s businesses and investments which span hospitality, tourism, aviation, technology, food and agriculture.
Hayley also leads her family’s philanthropy by heading up the Morris Family Foundation, which supports organisations working in the areas of international development, environment, health and social welfare. Her interest in philanthropy and passion for the environment have resulted in Hayley previously holding a board position with the Australian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network.
In 2011, Hayley founded Impact Sustainability which provides technology solutions to allow businesses to manage their impact on the environment and the community.
Hayley is also a co-founder and current Director of Sustainable Table, a young, innovative nonprofit organisation that empowers people to use their shopping dollar to vote for a food system that is fair, humane, healthy and good for the environment.
Hayley has a Bachelor of International Business from RMIT University in Melbourne, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and a Diploma in Natural Health.
Impact investing: The good, the bad and the ugly
With impact investing becoming an increasingly popular option in the contemporary philanthropic toolkit, more and more funders are keen to better understand the opportunities, risks and real-world experience of impact investing.
In this session, Daniel Madhavan from Impact Investing Australia will facilitate a frank and fearless conversation with Paul Steele from donkey wheel Foundation and The Difference Incubator, and Sylvia Admans from the R. E. Ross Trust, about their experiences as impact investors.
Speakers will share their honest experience of what worked, what failed and what advice they’d give to others interested in impact investing, as well as responding to questions from the audience.
Panellist: Daniel Madhavan, Chief Executive Officer, Impact Investing Australia
Daniel Madhavan has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Impact Investing Australia, since 2014. He is also Executive Chair of the Impact Investment Readiness Fund and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Impact Entrepreneurship Program, Compass.
He also holds Non-Executive Director roles with Impact Capital Australia, Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation and Y Generation Against Poverty (YGAP).
Prior to joining Impact Investing Australia, Daniel spent 12 years in various roles at JB Were, including Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer. Daniel is interested in how capital can help individuals and organisations translate energy into positive outcomes in the social enterprise sector.
Panellist: Paul Steele, Chief Executive Officer, donkey wheel Charitable Trust
Paul Steele is Chief Executive Officer of donkey wheel Charitable Trust, where he strives to develop a community of social innovation at donkey wheel house, in Melbourne. He is also co-founder, Executive Chair and Director of The Difference Incubator. He was Deputy-Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Australia; founder of numerous technology companies; and loves to consult on strategy and leadership development.
Paul is a thought leader and practitioner in the emerging market of impact investment in Australia. This unique mix of thought leadership and practitioner-based experience enables him to leverage philanthropic capital for greatest impact.
Paul is a ‘parallel entrepreneur’ with executive level experience across a broad range of industries. He has worked extensively in the philanthropic and social enterprise sectors in Australia and overseas. He is passionate about being “invested in” the organisations he partners with, and has a remarkable talent for combining human, intellectual and financial capital to bring about true blended value.
Panellist: Sylvia Admans, Chief Executive Officer, R E Ross Trust
Sylvia joined the R E Ross Trust in 2011 and has led a transformation process building on organisational strengths to enhance the trust’s capability and reputation.
Prior to this she spent more than nine years as Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) – which she helped establish in Bendigo, Victoria.
In other roles Sylvia worked in the philanthropic sector as Manager Charitable Services for ANZ Trustees and as an Advisor to Philanthropy Australia. Sylvia was a senior manager with the Australian Public Service for many years across a number of programs.
She is a qualified librarian, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Churchill Fellow and holds a Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Fundamentals of an effective giving evaluation program
Knowing whether your giving is actually having an impact can often be difficult to determine for a variety of reasons.
In this presentation you’ll learn the fundamental steps and key elements of how to go about creating a giving evaluation program that’s right for you.
Regina Hill will discuss how to structure an evaluation program that aligns with your grant making strategy, the different factors to take into account and how to tailor a program that evaluates the changes you are trying to support through your giving.
Some of the key learnings you’ll come away with are:
- How to articulate the theory of change underlying your grant making activity
- Options for assessing the impact of your grant making
- What to consider when designing an evaluation framework
Presenter: Regina Hill, Regina Hill Effective Consulting Pty Ltd and Effective Philanthropy
Regina works in the philanthropic, nonprofit and government sectors providing support at board and executive management level in relation to organisational strategy, operational planning and sustainability, organisational structure, process (re)design, capability development and policy and program design, implementation and evaluation.
Regina has worked extensively with a range of philanthropic individuals and organisations to set up programs that measure the impact of giving. Clients have included the Ian Potter Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Australian Communities Foundation and the Future Generation Global Investment Company.
Regina is a Director of consulting firm Effective Philanthropy which she co-founded in 2006. Her consulting career spans 15 years including four years with leading global firm AT Kearney.
Regina has served as a member of several nonprofit boards including Women’s Circus and Victorian Relief and Foodbank. She has an MBA and a Masters of International Laws amongst other degrees.
Advisors and philanthropy – a window into the advisor/client relationship
Advisors can play an important role in helping their clients move into philanthropy and in navigating the different paths that philanthropy can take. But what are some of the challenges faced by advisors in assisting their clients, and what are the opportunities for advisors to deepen client relationships and play a role in growing philanthropy? What factors will drive the philanthropic advice model in the future?
In this session a panel of respected advisors will share their perspectives and experiences on areas and issues such as:
- How do advisors successfully introduce the idea of philanthropy as an important area for clients to consider?
- What are the barriers preventing clients from engaging with philanthropy?
- Philanthropy and the provision of ‘values’ based advice – what are the sector trends and how are advisors aligning philanthropy with their clients’ wealth strategies?
- Exploring the role advisors play in supporting their clients with structured giving.
Panellist: Farren Williams, Advisor and Partner, Koda Capital
Farren has over 15 years’ experience providing tailored financial solutions to clients. She has a passion for helping charitable organisations and families with their wealth management needs and has extensive experience in investment policy development, governance, bespoke portfolio design, succession planning, superannuation and philanthropic issues.
For individuals and families, this has included helping them integrate their philanthropic goals into their wealth framework, facilitating conversations between different generations about family philanthropy and having a mindful approach to investing in line with ethical values.
For philanthropic foundations and charitable organisations, this has involved working with boards, committees and executive teams on governance frameworks, defining the strategic purpose of the corpus, developing tailored investment policies, designing and managing bespoke portfolios including value alignment, and impact investing where appropriate.
Farren is currently an Advisor and Partner with Koda Capital, and prior to this she worked at MFCo as a Client Director, meeting the diverse needs of wealthy families and large nonprofits, and building the private wealth business.
Panellist: Ben Clark, Head of Philanthropy, Australian Executor Trustees (AET)
Ben Clark is Head of Philanthropy for Australian Executor Trustees Ltd (AET) where he oversees a team working with advisors and their clients on effective giving. Ben chairs AET’s discretionary grants program and is a member of AET’s investment committee.
Prior to transitioning to the philanthropic sector, Ben was a fine art auctioneer and paintings specialist with Christies and Sotheby’s and has worked in the fine arts in London, Venice, Tel Aviv and Melbourne. In 2007 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate philanthropic stabilization funds in the USA and Canada.
Ben has also held a number of board positions and worked in executive fundraising roles in the nonprofit sector and was a founding board member of Impact 100 Melbourne.
Panellist: Caitriona Fay, National Manager – Philanthropy and Nonprofit Services, Perpetual Ltd
Caitriona Fay joined Perpetual’s Philanthropy team in 2013 and is the National Manager – Philanthropy and Nonprofit Services, a senior role leading Perpetual’s commitment to growing philanthropy and building the effectiveness of the for-impact sector in Australia.
With nearly fifteen years of philanthropic and grant making experience in Australia and Europe, Caitriona has an extensive understanding of national and international funding approaches and mechanisms.
Prior to joining Perpetual, Caitriona worked with the Heritage Lottery Fund in the UK and more recently led The Ian Potter Foundation’s granting team. She is currently a director of The Channel, a giving circle for and supporting LGBTQI young people.
Caitriona was an inaugural member of the Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) research project and former Chair of Philanthropy Australia’s Education Affinity Group. In 2012 she was named the Australian Institute of Grant Management’s inaugural Grantmaker of The Year.
Social Enterprise from both sides of the fence
Social enterprise is a rising force in Australia that brings together business strategy with social mission as a means of effecting positive and sustainable change.
The growing interest in social enterprise by philanthropic funders seeking maximum impact from their giving, and nonprofits looking to develop new income streams, has often been accompanied by a lack of clarity about what is (or isn’t) a social enterprise and the opportunities or limitations of funding such an enterprise.
In this session, social enterprise expert, Libby Ward-Christie from Social Traders, will explore the opportunities and challenges from the perspectives of both funders and social enterprises. Natalie Elliott, from Equity Trustees will provide insights into her ongoing experience with social enterprise as Program Manager for the William Buckland Foundation, while Jeanette Large from Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) will explain how the support of funders like the William Buckland Foundation has contributed to WPI’s success and impact.
Panellist: Libby Ward-Christie, Head of Investment and Advisory, Social Traders
Libby Ward-Christie is Head of Investment and Advisory at Social Traders and specialises in social enterprise business strategy, implementation and investment.
She was the original architect of Social Traders’ Crunch program, which has grown to be Australia’s pre-eminent social enterprise accelerator.
Libby manages Social Traders’ consulting services and Social Investment Portfolio, the only offering to social enterprises in Australia that provides a combination of business advice and demand-led, hybrid, grant/loan capital.
Libby has an MBA with Dean’s Honours from Melbourne Business School and undergraduate degrees in Arts (Geography) and Science (Zoology). She is also a Non-Executive Director of a large, Melbourne-based social enterprise.
Panellist: Natalie Elliott, Manager, William Buckland Foundation, and Children & Young People Domain Lead, Equity Trustees
Having had a varied career spanning nursing, public health and children’s services, Natalie transitioned into the world of philanthropy 16 years ago.
Commencing as the National Grants and Marketing Manager at the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), Natalie was instrumental in creating both the brand and a number of flagship programs at FRRR.
Natalie went on to be inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Bendigo and Adelaide Banks ‘Community Enterprise Foundation’. In this role she successfully married the concept of community philanthropy and corporate giving via the community banking network, leaving a significant footprint in Australia’s corporate foundation landscape.
Natalie is currently the William Buckland Foundation Manager and recently led the redevelopment of the granting strategy for this iconic Victorian Foundation. In addition Natalie contributed to shaping the new look Equity Trustees #Empowering Change Philanthropy Programs, post the acquisition of ANZ Trustees. Natalie plays a significant role in Equity Trustees’ granting of over $70 million annually to the social sector.
Panellist: Jeanette Large, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Property Initiatives
Jeanette’s early career was as a teacher at the Victorian University of Technology where she taught community development and services. She then built a long and successful career in helping disadvantaged women and children with housing options through managerial roles and policy development at organisations such as WHOSS (Women’s Housing Outreach Support Service) and WISHIN (Women’s Information, Support and Housing in the North).
She is now the Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Property Initiatives, a nonprofit organisation that provides affordable, long-term homes for low-income women and children facing homelessness.
Her abilities have been recognised through being named a 2016 finalist in the Telstra Business Awards (Charity Category), and as a 2015 finalist in the Telstra Women’s Business Awards.
Jeanette has a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management.
Innovation in philanthropy
Is ‘innovation’ one of the most over-used words in philanthropy? Undoubtedly. But beyond the rhetoric, what does it take to be innovative as a funder and why is it so important? How do you strike the right balance between innovation and risk taking? What’s the best way to reconcile new directions with the legacy of the past?
In this session, Maree Sidey from the Australian Communities Foundation and the English Family Foundation’s Belinda Morrissey will unpack their own experiences of innovation and the pursuit of bold agendas in order to achieve greater impact.
At the Australian Communities Foundation, Maree is leading the organisation through a significant pivot to become a community foundation with an issue-based, rather than geographic focus, while at the English Family Foundation, Belinda has orchestrated the Foundation’s involvement in ground breaking initiatives such as the Social Enterprise Design Challenge that nurture the next generation of change makers.
Panellist: Belinda Morrissey, Executive Officer, English Family Foundation
Belinda is the Executive Officer of the English Family Foundation, a private family foundation with a vision to support transformational change in our world through the growth and development of social entrepreneurs and social businesses.
Belinda is also a Grantmaking Consultant with Australian Philanthropic Services and is on the Strategic Council of The Climate Institute. Within her philanthropic roles she has managed both private and public ancillary funds and has held a range of leadership roles with nonprofit organisations.
In her earlier career Belinda worked in funds management, both within Australia and internationally, for businesses such as BNP Paribas and Schroders. Belinda holds a Bachelor of Economics, is a Certified Practising Accountant, and studied Philanthropy and Social Investment at Swinburne University.
Panellist: Maree Sidey, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Communities Foundation
Maree Sidey is Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Communities Foundation which helps philanthropic individuals and organisations support grass-roots causes.
She was previously General Manager of Australia’s largest health and sports initiative, Good Sports. Prior to that, Maree was Head of Communications and Public Relations at Headspace and was a member of the executive team that worked with member organisations to create the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.
In 2014, Maree was awarded the Nonprofit Leadership Fellowship through the Harvard Club of Australia, and in 2012 she was awarded a scholarship through Chief Executive Women.
What I’ve learnt about the practice of philanthropy
There’s no right or wrong way of “doing” philanthropy, but there are better and more effective ways of practicing philanthropy. In this panel session three experienced givers provide their first-hand accounts and experiences of the lessons they’ve learned about how to go about giving.
This session will be full of useful insights, tips, ideas and anecdotes on how to “do” philanthropy. Panellists include: Catherine Brown, who has had over 15 years’ experience working with some of Australia’s leading philanthropic foundations; Peter Wilson, a business leader and strong supporter of the arts and LGBTIQ causes and won the 2016 Emerging Philanthropy Leader Award from Creative Partnerships Australia; and Neil Balnaves AO, who had a stellar corporate career which enabled him to establish the Balnaves Foundation in 2006 which he and his family run together.
Panellist: Catherine Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
Catherine has built a reputation as a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors through a long history of senior executive and board member roles and extensive consulting experience.
As a Director of Catherine Brown and Associates (12 years), she provided strategic, organisational development, governance and legal advice to foundations and nonprofit organisations throughout Australia. It was during this period that Catherine built significant expertise and knowledge about philanthropy through consulting to organisations such as the Myer Foundation, ANZ Trustees, and the Ian Potter Foundation.
Catherine’s interest in philanthropy was sparked in the late 1990’s when she worked with the Myer Foundation to set up the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
In her present role as Chief Executive Officer of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Catherine leads a team making an impact on the community through grant-making and community initiatives, collaborating with other funders and experts, community education and providing philanthropic services.
Catherine is currently undertaking a PhD by practice related research in philanthropy and innovation at Swinburne University of Technology.
Panellist: Neil Balnaves AO
Neil has worked in the media industry for over 45 years and was the founder and Executive Chairman of the Southern Star Group, which produced hit TV dramas such as Police Rescue, Blue Heelers and The Secret Life of Us.
Neil’s business success enabled him to begin a journey in philanthropy, and in 2006 he set up the Balnaves Foundation which gives away around $2.5 million a year to causes including the arts, medicine and education. Neil’s wife and children play a role in the foundation’s operations and granting.
Neil has held and continues to hold numerous leadership positions in the community, education and nonprofit sectors. There are far too many to list, but a sample of current roles includes: Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, Trustee Member of Bond University, Director of the Sydney Orthopaedic Research Institute, and Board member of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
In 2010 Neil was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to business and philanthropy.
Panellist: Peter Wilson, Managing Director, Greenhill
Peter Wilson is Managing Director of Greenhill, where he provides financial and strategic advice to major Australian corporations and governments. Previously he practised corporate and banking law at Mallesons Stephen Jacques after time with the Commonwealth Bank and JPMorgan.
Outside his corporate life, Peter has developed a strong interest in the community sector where he is a significant giver to arts and LGBTIQ organisations. In 2016 he won the Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award from Creative Partnerships Australia.
As well as providing financial support, he likes to take an active leadership role with some of the organisations he supports. He is the Chairman of Playwriting Australia, the peak body supporting new writing for theatre, and a Director of Company B Limited, the production company of Belvoir Street Theatre.
His interest in LGBTIQ issues finds expression through his support of Twenty10 and the Inner City Legal Centre Foundation.
25 years of giving – an interview with Kerry Gardner
Few would have a perspective on giving like documentary filmmaker and philanthropist Kerry Gardner. In this interview Kerry will share a range of insights, learnings and anecdotes about the “how-to” of philanthropy, gleaned over 25 years of giving.
Kerry came from a family of modest means, and she excelled in the business world to build a career in marketing with senior roles with companies like Channel 10 and Fairfax Media.
She transitioned her career to become a documentary film maker and her films have been shown at local and international film festivals including: the New York Art and Design Film Festival; the Canadian Film Festival ‘Female Eye’ in Toronto; the Sonoma Film Festival in California, and the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Kerry’s philanthropy is channelled in three broad ways. Firstly there’s her personal giving which focuses on two passions – the arts and female related causes. Then with husband Andrew Myer, the couple give through their private ancillary fund called the Andyinc Foundation, which supports gender issues, social justice, arts and sustainability. Finally, Kerry has a grant making role as a member of the funding committee for Arts and the Humanities of the Sidney Myer Fund.
These three giving channels have enabled Kerry to acquire a host of lessons and experiences about giving and how to do it effectively, which she will share at the Generosity Forum.
Kerry is one of the true leaders of the community and arts sectors, and her abilities have been recognised with a number of board roles. She is currently Chair of The Australian Institute of Art History at University of Melbourne. She has recently become the first Australian board member of the US-based Global Fund for Women, and she is also on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Previous directorships include Deputy Chair of both Heide Museum of Modern Art and The Malthouse Theatre, as well as The Victorian Women’s Trust and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Corporate support – three companies share their approach
The role of business in supporting the community is constantly evolving, and in this session three businesses that are leading the way in this sphere share their stories, ambitions, successes and challenges.
Corporate support for the community can take a multitude of forms, and senior executives from The Sony Foundation, Westpac Foundation and Bennelong Foundation, will outline their various approaches, the strategic intent behind their support, and share their perspective on how corporate support will evolve in the coming months and years.
Each of these foundations has a very different take on supporting the community, and you will get a valuable insight into how some of the leading companies in Australia are making an impact with their dollars, staff, brand, expertise, networks and customer reach.
Panellist: Sophie Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Sony Foundation Australia
Sophie is the Chief Executive Officer of Sony Foundation Australia, the charity arm of the Sony Group of Companies. She has a passion for business and philanthropy and believes the two should be inextricably linked.
Sony Foundation partners with existing charities as well as initiating a number of unique campaigns, all of which aim to help young people face issues such as severe illness, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, disability and displacement. The foundation has given away more than $22 million since its inception in 1999.
Prior to this, Sophie was a practicing lawyer at Allens Linklaters in both litigation and mergers and acquisitions, before moving overseas to work with various United Nations agencies.
Sophie’s UN work included helping with investigations into torture, and relocating to Sudan where she took up the role of International Consultant at a UN Prison Reform Project. It was during this time that Sophie created the ‘Pads4Prisons’ project, a creative solution to the unhygienic conditions in women’s prisons.
In 2013, Sophie was named the winner of the Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Award in the ‘Young Leader’ category.
Panellist: Lisa Waldron, Senior Advisor, Westpac Foundation
Lisa joined Westpac Foundation in 2003 and has supported hundreds of charitable organisations in Australia and the Pacific to receive more than $30 million in funding from the Westpac Foundation.
Lisa has considerable experience in corporate philanthropy and has played a key role in building a strong reputation and profile for the Westpac Foundation as one of Australia’s leading and innovative foundations.
Westpac Foundation invests in social enterprises and grass roots community initiatives and provides more than money through staff engagement, skilled volunteering, and fundraises $1 million per annum from employees, customers and shareholders.
Lisa helps build bridges from Westpac to the community sector, helping develop financial acumen, and bridges from the community sector to Westpac, helping build staff knowledge and involvement in the nonprofit sector.
In 2011, Lisa led the transformation of the Westpac Foundation’s strategy to include a new governance structure; a range of fundraising initiatives; a variety of strategic and local community sector grants; staff engagement through the “More than Money” program; financial hardship grants and partnership grants. This evolution led to a $20 million donation from Westpac Group to extend the work of the foundation.
Panellist: Sandra Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer, Bennelong Foundation
Sandra Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bennelong Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Melbourne-based family office Bangarra Group. As well as managing the Foundation, Sandra’s role includes connecting the staff within Bangarra Group to the foundation and cultivating the blended social and corporate values of the business.
Prior to joining the foundation, Sandra had over twelve years of experience as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley.
In 2011 Sandra co-founded Significant Women’s Network, an organisation designed to build stronger business connections for executive women. In 2013 she co-founded and currently chairs the nonprofit organisation The Nappy Collective.