Day One of the 2014 Philanthropy Australia Conference has seen two innovative givers celebrated as leaders in their field.

Queensland entrepreneur and corporate philanthropist Allan English tonight received the 2014 Philanthropy Leader of the Year award, while dynamic newcomer Michael Gonski, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills law firm, was honoured with the award for Emerging Philanthropy Leader.

The selection panel for the awards, chaired by Tim Fairfax, Philanthropy Australia Council member and Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, recognised the award-winners for their standout achievements in building giving in Australia over the past 12 months.

Other panellists included Sylvia Admans (RE Ross Trust), Sean Barrett (Origin Foundation) and Emily Massey-Greene (Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation of Giving program).

Newly appointed president of Philanthropy Australia, Alan Schwartz said the awards were created to recognise those who stand at the forefront of innovation in the philanthropic sector.

“Both recipients have shown a commitment to creating exciting initiatives to inspire other organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to the growth of giving in Australia,” Schwartz said.

“Through his entrepreneurial and social leadership of corporate enterprise Silver Chef Ltd, and his creation of the English Family Foundation, Allan English has become an inspiration in the sector and embodies the qualities that define philanthropic excellence including creativity, innovation, commitment and courage.”


“Meanwhile, relative newcomer Michael Gonski has achieved significant early success through his exemplary work with Sydney Story Factory and is making a critical difference as an emerging leader in the sector”.

Thanks to the Origin Foundation, each winner will receive $5,000 in microfinance to donate to their favourite social enterprise.

The inaugural Philanthropy Leader Awards were presented at Philanthropy Australia’s Delegate Drinks, made possible through the generous support of the Bennelong Foundation and Bennelong Wealth Partners.

Earlier this year, Allan English spoke about his giving in this Queensland Community Foundation video: