Part of the AEGN’s mission is to deepen members’ understanding of the many ways their philanthropy can support the environment — ultimately to maximise their impact. To this end, we produce a regular podcast series where members share stories of effective leadership for our planet, climate and future.
Darrell Wade generously shared his story with AEGN CEO Amanda Martin in April 2023. Key take-aways from their conversation follow.
To listen to the episode and access a full transcript and show notes, head to our podcast page.
We’ve got to look after this place
“We’re all on this planet and we rely on a healthy planet to live. So even if it’s only self-serving in terms of what our future needs are going to be, we’ve got to look after this place … there’s gaps emerging [e.g., market or regulatory failures] and that’s where we all come in as philanthropists — let’s look at some of those gaps and see what we can do about them.”
Fund what you care about
“It’s trying to find things that you personally get attached to … dare I say it, even emotional to … and I think as soon as you find that, then actually the rest is easy.” (By way of example, Darrell discusses his involvement in Greenpeace’s REenergise campaign (2020). “Within a year, we’ve got huge companies like Coles, Woolworths, Telstra, Bunnings … switching to 100 per cent renewable. And that just would not have happened if we hadn’t applied some philanthropic dollars.”)
Apply a climate lens to your giving
“Climate change is so all encompassing, so existential, that it does impact on everything. And so, in that context, I think you do have to apply a climate lens to whatever it is you’re doing.”
Take personal ownership
“I think too often we look to other people to make decisions or to do actions. We look to the government, or we look to business … ultimately, we’ve got to take control of that and actually do something ourselves … unless you take that personal ownership, things don’t necessarily happen.”
There’s joy in giving
“What makes you as an individual feel good, feel better, feel like you’ve led a worthwhile life? Philanthropy is one of those things that if you can apply money at the right point of time and see change that results from that, you feel incredibly good.”
“Philanthropy — you can make it hard; you can make it easy; you can get it right; you can get it wrong. But until you actually start down the journey, you don’t know anything … just have a go! Watch the change that happens, what doesn’t happen, what gives you joy, what gives you that sense of satisfaction. Just get going on it.”
Make a commitment
“You do have to make an active choice to carve out some time [for philanthropy] … rather than just have it on the forever wish list, ‘Oh, I must get around to that’ … Well, actually, let’s do it. Let’s do it tomorrow.”
What makes you as an individual feel good, feel better, feel like you’ve led a worthwhile life? Philanthropy is one of those things that if you can apply money at the right point of time and see change that results from that, you feel incredibly good.
Darrell Wade, Dawn Wade Foundation
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