AEGN

Apply for AEGN membership

Become a member of our network and engage with like-minded people who are passionate about the environment.

Apply for AEGN membership

AEGN membership is available to any individual, family or organisation that:

  • is primarily a grant maker, not a grant seeker;
  • has the capacity to donate $25,000 or more each year to any issue, not just the environment; and
  • is interested in giving to the environment and/or solutions to the climate crisis.

Membership is at the discretion of the AEGN Board. See our full eligibility requirements

To find out more or apply for membership, fill in the form below to book a time to talk with Kate Allsopp, our Head of Programs.

If you decide to go ahead with your application after speaking with Kate, she will use this conversation to write a recommendation to the Board. We look forward to welcoming you into the AEGN network!

Existing members should go to renew membership

AEGN membership application and donation

1. Applicant details

2. Secondary contact (optional)

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.

Fees

Our membership fee is $750. Membership runs from 1 July to 30 June. For new members joining after 1 January, the fee will be discounted by 50 per cent. Membership fees include GST and are a “fee for service” and therefore not tax deductible.

Donating to the AEGN

AEGN deliberately keeps its membership fee structure simple, with one low fee for everyone. These fees, however, do not cover our operating costs; nor do we receive corporate sponsorship or government funding. We rely completely on the generous financial support of our members in the form of donations in addition to their membership fee. Donations to the AEGN are tax deductable. (The AEGN has deductible gift recipient (DGR) and tax concession charity (TCC) status.)

If you would like to support our work, or find out more about our funding requirements and projects in need of support, talk to our Membership Development Manager when you join. You may want to become a:

  • 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 membership fee of $750 and a donation of your choice.

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 location; 
  • 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;  and
  • help 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.

Funding frameworks and resources

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 grantmaking, 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 practice in your environmental giving (a refreshed Effective Giving Guide will be available in early 2024).

Members also have access to workshops and 1:1 support to use these tools most effectively.

Events and convening

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 help members to host events that showcase an issue, expert or organisation they’re particularly excited about.
Funder groups and communities of practice

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 info@aegn.org.au

Membership principles

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
  • respectful and acknowledging of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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.

Purpose

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
  • are respectful and acknowledging of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

Confidentiality

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 organisation 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 organisation in an unpaid capacity, for example as chair, Board person or advisor, and the organisation could benefit through the information being shared.

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.

As required under Australian Accounting Board Standard (AABS 124), AEGN maintains a register of any related party transactions. A related party transaction is a transfer of resources, services, or obligations between related parties. It does not have to include financial payment.  If AEGN enters into a related party transaction with an AEGN member this will be recorded in the AEGN register and we will disclose this process to the associated AEGN member.  

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 your AEGN relationship manager, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or other AEGN staff member. If you do not know who your AEGN relationship manager is you can contact us, info@aegn.org.au.

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 or the AEGN Communications Manager has specifically asked that you do so or has otherwise approved the material you intend to present. 

Process

The Member Code of Conduct was originally prepared in consultation with the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee and with a group of AEGN members.  It is reviewed every 3 years by the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee and any changes must be approved by the AEGN Board. 

This Code is 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 your AEGN relationship manager, the AEGN CEO or other 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.

Related documents 
 

  • AEGN Membership Policy 
  • AEGN Member Grievance and Dispute Resolution Policy

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.”

When you are a member

“The AEGN continues to educate us and provide safe space to share ideas and learnings with.”

AEGN member, Linda Baird, CEO Eucalypt Australia