Sector efforts recognised in philanthropy awards

Posted on 16 Apr 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia


Initiatives designed to support members of the LGBTIQ+ community, help disadvantaged people become doctors and alleviate mental health issues in young Australians were among the winners of the 2024 Australian Philanthropy Awards.

The winners of the awards, which recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements in contemporary philanthropy, were announced at a ceremony at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney last night hosted by Philanthropy Australia.

Climate change advocacy group Climate 200 picked up awards in two categories – the Environmental and Climate Philanthropy Award and the Innovation Award.

The organisation emerged as a major force during the 2022 federal election, raising $13.5 million from 11,200 donors which helped fund the election of the “teal” independents including Monique Ryan in Melbourne and Allegra Spender in Sydney.

Judges said the new batch of MPs supported by Climate 200 have helped federal parliament pass major climate reforms, including increasing Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target from 26% to 43%.

Climate 200 convenor Simon Holmes à Court welcomed the dual awards.

“Climate 200 was born out of the belief that the community wanted meaningful and lasting action for the environment, for political integrity and for gender equity – and with a bit of strategic funding and advice communities were ready to send that leadership to Canberra.

"I am proud to be part of a movement of 11,000 people, from every electorate in the country, who gave what they could and helped reshape Australian politics for good.”

Philanthropy Australia Awards

Other award winners included:

  • Community Philanthropy Award: The Ampilfy Pride Fund, established in 2022 by gender pride organisations Aurora Group and GiveOUT to tackle challenges and barriers faced by vulnerable members of Australia’s LGBTIQ+ community such as poor mental health, isolation and homelessness.
  • International Philanthropy Award: Neeson Cripps Academy, operated by the Cambodian Children’s Fund. The Phnom Penh educational facility, which opened in 2017, was designed free of charge by architects CookFox and funded by the Cripps Foundation.
  • Inclusion Award: The Damion Drapac Centre and Damion Drapac Scholarships for Vocational Doctors. Michael Drapac donated $6.3 million to Deakin University’s School of Medicine to establish the centre and associated scholarship in memory of his son Damion, who died while riding his bike just months after graduating from Deakin University’s medical school. The Damion Drapac Centre aims to advance socially inclusive medical education for underrepresented groups in society.
  • Mecca M-Power, a social change initiative by cosmetics company Mecca focused on championing equality and opportunity for women and girls, which won the Eve Mahlab AO Gender-wise Philanthropy Award. The philanthropic arm of Mecca supports a collective of more than 20 NFPs working to educate girls, advance opportunities for women at work, improve women’s health and ensure female voices are heard.
  • The Leadership Award, which recognised Terry and Ginette Snow’s dedication to philanthropy. The Snow Foundation founders have worked in the field for more than three decades.

The Collaboration Award was shared by two winners.

  • The Australian Communities Foundation Impact Fund, established in 2017 to address critical issues in areas such as inequality, democracy and the environment, was recognised for its Voices for Impact program. The initiative has raised more than $2.3 million to support First Nations self-determination initiatives, distributing 130 grants to more than 80 organisations.
  • The Future Generation Global Impact Measurement Initiative – a collaboration between 14 NFPs, philanthropic funder Future Generation Global, impact measurement specialists Social Outcomes and data analytics specialists Seer Data – was recognised for its work in preventing mental health issues in young Australians.

Acting Philanthropy Australia CEO Adam Ognall described the finalists in all 10 categories as outstanding and congratulated the winners on their efforts.

“The ten recipients are a true display of excellence in philanthropic giving across a broad range of cause areas and communities,” said Mr Ognall.

He said the winners exemplified the philosophy of “more and better giving for a generous and inclusive Australia”.

“We were delighted with the engagement by the not-for-profit and philanthropic sectors in the awards, with a doubling of nominations compared to the previous awards.”

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