The best of Australian givingPosted: 13 December 2012
This week’s guest post comes from Liz Gill-Atkinson, writing on behalf of the Top 50 Gifts Working Group (Myer Family Company Philanthropic Services, Philanthropy Australia, ProBono Australia, Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy, The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund)
Recently the conversation around growing the culture of philanthropy in Australia has been ramping up. Much productive dialogue around why the culture of philanthropy in Australia isn’t flourishing as it could be and what can be done have been a focal point of many meetings and cross-sectoral discussions. Shrinking government and philanthropic budgets have reawakened an awareness of the need to grow the philanthropic pie and make the most out of every philanthropic dollar.
The obstacles to growing the philanthropic sector in Australia have been presented and dissected. A key obstacle relates to the foreignness of the word ‘philanthropy’ for many Australians. The pronunciation is clumsy and the visual can be vague or mysterious. A challenge appears to be making ‘philanthropy’ a familiar part of the Australian vocabulary and with it, the Australian culture.
This is exactly the aim of the recently launched Top 50 Gifts competition.
The purpose of the Top 50 Gifts competition is to increase awareness of Australia’s philanthropic achievements through capturing and promoting Australian philanthropic success stories in order to catalyse a nation that has untapped potential to create a fairer, more diverse and culturally rich Australia.
The Top 50 Gifts competition aims to inspire and engage existing and potential philanthropists through achieving the following objectives:
- Demonstrate the difference philanthropy can and has made in the Australian landscape;
- Create a repository of the most influential grants in Australian history across all sectors;
- Provide an opportunity for the philanthropic sector to reflect on the generosity of past and present organisations and individuals;
- Inform others of impressive historical acts of philanthropy they may not be aware of; and most importantly
- Generate discussion about philanthropy.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
- From nominations received a list of the Top 50 Gifts will be compiled by the Top 50 Working Group.
- A public vote on the Top 50 Gifts will determine the Top 10.
- The Top 10 (as well as the Top 50) will be disseminated far and wide through a large media campaign to inspire and promote philanthropy by championing the public’s (your) favourite Australian philanthropic success stories.
WHAT DOES ‘TOP’ MEAN?
- By ‘Top’ we mean the most significant. We don’t necessarily mean ‘biggest’– in fact a lot may have been achieved with comparatively small gifts. A gift may be significant because of its scale, size, creativity, innovation or impact.
Australia’s historical and contemporary landscapes are rich with philanthropic success stories and whilst many philanthropists choose to go about their work discreetly, the lack of publicly available data on philanthropy in Australia has done little to promote philanthropy to the Australian public. The Top 50 Gifts competition is an opportunity to demonstrate the role philanthropy plays in adding to our vibrant cultural sector, in supporting the health and wellbeing of our nation, in facilitating discovery and in connecting us together.
We want to hear from you. What are the ‘top’ philanthropic gifts in Australia’s history? And why? Help grow the culture of philanthropy in Australia.