Apply for AEGN membership
If you are interested in becoming a member, we would love to chat with you.
- Existing members should go to renew membership
If you are ready to complete the membership form, fill in the details below and we will be in contact with you. Once we have received your membership form, and we have had a discussion with you, your membership application will be forwarded to the AEGN Board for approval. Membership is at the discretion of the Board.
We look forward to welcoming you into the AEGN network.
Eligibility and fees
AEGN membership eligibility may include but is not restricted to private trusts, private or public ancillary funds, individual donors, private foundations and corporate or business giving programs that:
- Are set up primarily as grantmakers not grantseekers.
- Have an interest in funding environment and climate issues.
- Have the capacity to give $25,000 or more annually, to any issue, not just the environment.
- Have the capacity to grant to more than one organisation.
- If attached to another entity (for example a business) preferably have a separate Board for decision-making purposes that relate to their philanthropic endeavours. The intention of this clause is to avoid clashes between business intention and philanthropic direction. Where this is not the case, current or prospective members may be requested to demonstrate how their philanthropic decision making is independent from the parent entity and does not compromise the AEGN’s vision and mission.
- Agree to abide by the AEGN’s Member Code of Conduct and Member Principles which require members to engage with the AEGN in a way that is in the best interests of the AEGN network and the environment.
All membership submissions are reviewed by the AEGN Board and an organisation or individual that does not fully meet the membership criteria may be refused.
Membership year runs from July 1 to 30 June. For new members joining after 1 January, the fee will be discounted by 50 per cent.
Our standard membership fee is $750. Beyond your membership, you can also play a vital role in funding our work by choosing to become a Strategic, Sustaining, Leading or Ambassador Supporter. (Ambassador Supporters receive complimentary membership.)
Membership and supporter donation structure
- Annual fee — $750
- Half year fee: January to June — $375
- Strategic supporter — donation $1 to $4999 and annual fee of $750
- Sustaining supporter — donation $5000 to $14,999 and annual fee of $750
- Leading supporter — donation $15,000 – $49,999 and annual fee of $750
- Ambassador supporter — donation $50,000+ and no annual fee
- Other — your choice of donation and member fee of $750 and a donation of your choice.
We do not receive corporate sponsorship or government funding. We rely completely on the financial support of our members. Contact us if you would like more information about our funding requirements, the projects in need of support, or would like us to present to your Board.
Membership fees include GST and are a ‘fee for service’ and therefore not tax deductible. Donations, however, are tax deductible. The AEGN has deductible gift recipient (DGR) and tax concession charity (TCC) status.
Member services and support
As part of the AEGN network you will be engaging with like-minded people who are passionate about protecting nature and securing a safe climate. Our super power is convening members to address the great issues of our time and providing access to experts and tools to help donors find the most strategic ways to give.
All members are assigned a Program Manager you can go to if you have any questions about your membership with the AEGN or would like strategic advice about your giving. This includes introductions to other members or guidance on priorities for environmental and climate change giving.
For example, your Program Manager can:
- Provide 1:1 advice
- Provide an overview of an environmental issue and available solutions
- Link you with organisations working on an issue you’re interested in
- Connect you with other members with similar interests or in a similar geography
- Introduce you to experts to inform your giving
- Provide advice and support on posting to the Project Clearinghouse or hosting events
- Direct you to the tools that can best support your funding
- Assist you with your membership and the role of the AEGN.
In addition to support from your Program Manager, below is an overview of the current services, support, resources and tools members have access to.
Members can access the following resources to support your environmental funding:
- Climate Change Funding Framework: Developed in consultation with subject matter experts, the Climate Change Funding Framework outlines key areas of focus, opportunities and gaps for funding climate action for greatest impact.
- Nature Funding Framework: Designed to sit alongside the Climate Change Funding Framework, the Nature Funding Framework incorporates the expertise of more than 50 leaders from environmental organisations, academia, government and philanthropy and provides guidance for channeling funding for greatest impact.
- Climate Lens: The Climate Lens tool demonstrates how climate change impacts are undermining other philanthropic cause areas and outlines steps you can take to mitigate against this through your grant making, investing, operations- and using your influence.
- Effective Giving Guide: A step-by-step guide to help you or your foundation focus your intentions and incorporate leading practise in your environmental giving (a refreshed Effective Giving Guide is currently in development and will be available in early 2024).
Members also have access to workshops and 1:1 support to use these tools most effectively.
We host a range of events to support members and regularly promote these events via our newsletter and email lists. They are a great way to stay abreast of key issues and funding opportunities, learn from experts and to hear from other members about their funding experiences.
Our events program includes:
- Annual conference: Our biggest event of the year (usually hosted over 2-3 days) brings members together from around the country and showcases expert speakers and changemakers from all over the world
- Field trips: From time to time, the AEGN holds field trips to some of Australia’s most special places to explore environmental issues and actions that are making a difference
- Thought leadership forums: Topic focused events, usually online, where we hear from experts and practitioners on the current state of play
- Local connectors: designed to connect members in person through informal discussion and sharing
- Member hosted events: We can assist members to host events that showcase an issue, expert or organisation they’re particularly excited about.
We know that convening members with similar interests and approaches rapidly translates interest into action. The AEGN organises structured and adhoc gatherings of members to learn from each other and more deeply dive into relevant issues and opportunities. These groups can change over time but at the moment some examples include:
- Funder groups and subgroups relating to climate change, nature, Indigenous Land and Sea Management and sustainable food systems
- Climate Lens community of practice
- Environmental philanthropy roundtable for CEOs of large foundations
- Environmental philanthropy roundtable for staff of large foundations
- Women leaders in philanthropy community of practice
- Funder focus groups on transitions, rivers of Northern Australia and oceans.
If you are interested in finding out more about the different funder groups or communities of practice contact us at email@example.com
There are a number of mailing lists members can subscribe to tailor the content you receive from the AEGN.
Our regular communications include:
- CEO Update: Fortnightly email from our CEO, Amanda Martin, with reflections on current developments, curated news articles, member stories and upcoming events
- Moderated email lists: for members to communicate with each other and share knowledge, funding and collaboration opportunities
- Giving Their All podcast: Regular discussions with members sharing inspiration and examples of effective giving (subscribe via your regular podcast platform or visit the ‘podcast’ page of our website)
- Events eDM: fortnightly email sharing upcoming events; a great way to stay across upcoming events on current environmental topics, member get togethers and opportunities to hear from environmental or climate experts
The AEGN is a unique funder group with a special camaraderie and commitment. Our membership principles capture the essence of what it means to be a member of this group — and what the AEGN promises and provides in return.
Specifically, our principles ask members to:
- share the AEGN’s vision and mission to grow effective funding to the environment so that the planet and people thrive;
- actively aspire to protect and enhance the environment through their giving, investing and operations;
- actively aspire to transition to a zero carbon and sustainable operation including developing their own 2030 pathway;
- meet the AEGN’s eligibility criteria;
- adhere to the AEGN’s member code of conduct, which includes respecting the confidentiality, privacy and different approaches of other AEGN members, being transparent about conflict of interest and taking a non-partisan approach when working within the AEGN bounds;
- where appropriate, communicate successes and challenges, lessons learnt and case studies to the AEGN team and membership;
- recognise responsibility for maintaining the reputation of the AEGN and preserving its good name and avoiding behaviour or activities that could jeopardise any existing relationships with other AEGN members and/or partners;
- advise the AEGN if any issue emerges in their work or community that may have an impact on the reputation of the AEGN; and
- not solicite or use the AEGN for business that might be related to philanthropy (e.g. philanthropic services, investment services or any other business).
In return, to support our members, the AEGN will:
- provide members with a safe and trusted space that is supportive of different approaches and funding interests and is open, transparent, non-partisan and respectful of individual confidentiality and privacy;
- seek involvement and direction from members on AEGN strategy and activities as well as seeking to anticipate and respond to member interests and needs;
- engage, influence, educate and support members to be as effective in their environmental giving and environmental performance as possible;
- primarily focus our efforts on members’ philanthropic funding, and secondarily on influencing environmental performance of corpus and other income sources; and
- provide thought leadership in achieving the AEGN’s mission.
Code of conduct
The AEGN is a network for funders. We work with grantmakers to achieve our goal of a world where people and nature thrive.
Our members are trusts, foundations and donors with an interest in the environment.
Our values are to be:
- ethical in all that we do;
- respectful of our partners, practitioners, experts and each other;
- collaborative in the way that we work and recognise outcomes;
- inspiring in our activities and outreach;
- sustainable in our day-to-day work;
- ambitious in our programming;
- focused on our strategy;
- innovative in our thinking.
We seek to provide our members with:
- a safe and trusted space where funders can come together to learn and share without solicitation for funding or pressure to fund in a particular way;
- an open, generous, supportive and respectful place for knowledge-sharing, exploring and encouragement;
- a welcoming culture that embraces inclusion, generosity, diverse backgrounds and different political views and approaches to change.
We recognise that many of our members have roles beyond that of funder — they are business people, Board members of other organisations, activists, consultants, employees and more.
The purpose of this Code is to help AEGN members define their role within the AEGN in order to foster a network of funders that upholds the values of the AEGN, and provides a forum that nurtures and inspires environmental giving.
Member behaviour guidelines
The AEGN has been created as a space to foster open and trusted sharing of information about environmental philanthropy. Given this context, when you engage with the network we ask that you do so in your role as a funder. While other roles that you hold may influence or inform your views and funding choices, it is your perspective as a funder that you are invited to share with other members via AEGN forums.
When engaging with the network, we also ask that you seek to be:
- supportive of different approaches to achieving change and of different areas of funding interest;
- respectful of individual privacy by maintaining confidentiality of members’ personal details, funding and views;
- non-partisan — the AEGN network is a broad church. Members may wish to comment on policies and the outcomes these deliver but we discourage commentary on party politics;
- ethical and honest;
- transparent – in order to maintain the nature of the AEGN as a trusted, open and honest space we ask that you declare when you or an organisation you are involved with could benefit from information you share with the network.
Information obtained via the network
Members share personal information about themselves, their funding and their views with the AEGN network on the understanding that this will not be used for purposes beyond furthering environmental philanthropy amongst funders.
When you receive personal or private funding information via the AEGN network we require that you do not:
- Use this information for any purpose that does not relate to philanthropy
- Share this information with a non-AEGN member unless that person intends to use the information to further their philanthropy.
- Share this information with a non-government organisation, wealth advisor, business or other entity without the permission of the member in question.
Conflict of interest
Information shared with the AEGN network
While we ask that you interact with the AEGN network primarily in your role as a funder, we recognise that there may be times when you wish to share information, projects or views that have been informed through your involvement with other organisations. In this situation, you should be guided by the following conflict of interest guidelines.
The AEGN defines three types of conflict of interest in this Code:
- direct financial conflict — where you or a family member could benefit financially through sharing information which benefits business or other financial interests;
- indirect financial conflict — where you or a family member are involved with an organization* in a paid capacity, for example as staff member, paid consultant or Board member, and the organisation could benefit through information being shared;
- non-financial or personal role conflict — where you or a family member have a formal role with an organization* in an unpaid capacity, for example as chair, Board person or advisor, and the organisation could benefit through the information being shared.
*Organisations which are philanthropic trusts, foundations or sub-funds are not included in this provision.
Where you face a direct or indirect financial conflict of interest, we require that you do not share a project or other information with AEGN members via the AEGN network.
Where you face a non-financial or personal role conflict of interest, you are required to disclose the role conflict at the time that the information is shared with AEGN members via the AEGN network.
If at any time you are uncertain about whether there is a conflict of interest or whether information you wish to share with the network is appropriate, we encourage you to contact the AEGN and discuss this with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or other AEGN staff member.
Representing the AEGN
As a membership organisation, the AEGN encompasses the broad range of views of its members. When members speak publicly as AEGN representatives, they should be mindful to reflect that our membership holds diverse opinions on what constitutes effective environmental funding, which organisations and policies are best placed to deliver environmental change, and on environmental matters more generally.
To adequately represent these broad views, public comment on behalf of the AEGN is made only by the CEO, the Chair or those expressly authorised by the CEO or Chair to speak on a particular matter.
We ask that you do not speak on behalf of the AEGN in public forums or to the media unless the CEO has specifically asked that you do so or has otherwise approved the material you intend to present.
The Member Code of Conduct has been prepared in consultation with the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee and with a group of AEGN members.
This Code will be available on the AEGN website and shared with new members.
We understand that the role of the AEGN and members’ roles within the network are nuanced and can sometimes be unclear. If at any time you have questions about what is appropriate under the Member Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to seek guidance from the AEGN CEO or senior staff member.
Where any matters that arise in relation to the Member Code of Conduct are complex or unclear, the CEO may refer them to the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee for resolution.
We hope that this Code provides members with clear guidance and standards of behaviour for engaging with the AEGN network to foster the open, honest, trusted and welcoming exchanges that underpin knowledge-sharing and collaborative funding, building more and more effective philanthropy.
Where a member has behaved in a way that is inconsistent with the Code, the CEO will work with the member to rectify the situation.
If a member ignores guidance around the Code, the AEGN Board will communicate with them and seek to find a resolution. Where this is not possible and approaches to find a mutually satisfactory solution have been unsuccessful, it may be determined that membership of the AEGN should be cancelled.
Expenses and Private Ancillary Funds
Disclaimer: The following statements do not constitute formal advice, however, you can use them to guide how you might fund membership and other AEGN activities applying due diligence according to the profile of your Private Ancillary Funds and general guidelines.
For the latest information, refer to the Australian Government Federal Register of Legislation Taxation Administration (Private Ancillary Fund) Guidelines 2019.
According to Section 23 the Taxation Administration (Private Ancillary Fund) Guidelines 2019, the trustee of a private ancillary fund may apply income or capital of the fund:
(a) to pay or reimburse the trustee for reasonable expenses incurred on behalf of the fund; and
(b) to pay fair and reasonable remuneration for the trustee’s services in administering the fund.
Some possible approaches
David Ward, Australian Philanthropic Services:
“Public Ancillary Funds (PAFs) cannot provide anything that might be construed as personal benefit to funders. It is clear that as long as the expense is ‘reasonable’, it can be reimbursed from a PAF. ‘Reasonable’ has two components – scope and size. Education of directors to enable the compliant, efficient and effective operation of a PAF and due diligence for grantmaking are within the scope of ‘reasonable’ PAF activity. This would include membership of an organisation or attending a conference that has grant making due diligence at its core. Site visits or field trips might qualify but extra care is needed to ensure the focus is very clearly on due diligence rather than any personal benefit to directors.“
“The second component is the size of the activity and expense relative to the project and the size of the overall PAF. This means attending our conference for a fee or paying for membership would be generally a reasonable expense for most PAFs giving away $25,000 a year with a strong environmental project focus.”
“A rule of thumb is that for most foundations the total PAF expenses (that is including administration and other expenses) should be no more than 10-15 per cent of grants made (give or take a bit depending on the size of the foundation). Producing a report for other directors on conferences, site visits and field trips, to record the knowledge gained and to share the learnings. The key point remains, of course, that there must be no material benefit to any director.”