The AEGN team was delighted to see many of you at Philanthropy Australia’s conference this month, which explored how philanthropy can best support people, place and planet.
Stan Grant’s opening address set the scene, questioning whether humans are in fact hardwired for hate rather than love. Liberal democracies are in retreat, he suggested, afflicted by “the cancer of inequality” — particularly evident in the Australian context where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are disproportionately affected by poverty and disadvantage.
Equity and justice are central to environmental solutions (for more, read our 7 Megatrends report), and throughout the conference there was widespread agreement that more truly Indigenous-led programs are needed across the country — and that stepping back will enable First Nations people to step forward. I found Stan’s challenge to not turn away from despair and to be hopeful very powerful.
Over the two days of the conference, we were compelled to consider where the levers are for scalable change, be it for climate, equality or health in Australia or offshore. Delegates were invited to connect with the “we”, not the “me”, and to consider impact and opportunities to scale effective initiatives. We heard that (particularly in the United Kingdom) philanthropy needs defending and that the word needs to be reclaimed. We were inspired to re-imagine its role as revitalising democracy and advocacy and re-distributing wealth with corpus investments in charitable causes as well as giving.
Our philanthropy team walked away with these key messages:
- Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.
- Get started.
- Reach out to philanthropic peers and learn from others.
- Challenge ourselves and each other to get better at our role in making the world a better place.
We were inspired to re-imagine [philanthropy’s] role as revitalising democracy and advocacy and re-distributing wealth with corpus investments in charitable causes as well as giving.
Amanda Martin OAM, AEGN CEO