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Environmental Awards

Ione McLean
Ione McLean

Ione McLean, speech

Firstly, I would like to thank Philanthropy Australia for again running these terrific awards.

The environment award selection panel were delighted with the quality of nominations this year. Of course, this made the panel’s task very challenging.  In deciding, the panel considered work:

That has had a significant and immediate impact and That aligns with the focus areas of the AEGN environmental giving pledge. 

The pledge aims to raise an additional $50M for the environment over 5 years.

The focus areas of the pledge and this year’s award are:

  • Communication and diverse voices
  • Advocacy
  • Collaboration
  • Taking solutions to scale

The panel reached their decision because — our world is facing a great challenge.

Experts tells us we have a 10 to 15-year window to avert both catastrophic climate change and mass species extinctions — in the phrase of the moment, we are facing a climate emergency.

The good news is that the solutions do already exist. 

We can take action to protect and restore the land and our native species.

We can power our country with clean, renewable energy.

We can stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.

And we can support a smooth transition to meaningful jobs in the clean energy sector.

To realise this vision we need community leaders with the skills to bring their local networks together around shared values and to mobilise Australians to make positive change.

On behalf of the panel I would like to announce that the winners of the 2019 Environmental Philanthropy Award are the Melliodora Fund and 16 other funders — including six sub funds of the Australian Communities Foundation — for their support of The Change Agency – Community Organising Fellowship.

By training a network of environmental and social justice leaders the fellowship:

  • Empowers diverse voices to speak out and lead – from rural and Aboriginal communities through to our biggest cities.
  • It hones advocacy skills
  • It fosters a network of peers across the country building strong collaboration


  • It equips graduates to engage and mobilise at scale and to share their skills with their teams, organisations and communities – multiplying the impact.

The Melliodora Fund and the 16 other funders we recognise tonight have played a critical role in providing ongoing backbone funding for the Fellowship and making all of this possible.

I’d like to invite James Whelan, Director of the Fellowship, and Ann and Bruce McGregor of the Melliodora Fund to accept the Award on behalf the other donors.