Connected Giving | August 2019 edition

Welcome to the August edition of Connected Giving, Australian Executor Trustees monthly update on current trends and news in philanthropy.

Regional development, philanthropy, advocacy, and the Sackler family

After launching our Connected Giving curated newsletter a year ago, we continue to see the landscape of philanthropy evolve in not only conversations between advisers and clients but the ways in which philanthropists can give and make an impact to their respective communities. In this edition, we explore through the donors’ lens the role of philanthropy in regional economic development in bringing communities and economies together. We look at the lasting impact and legacy of leaving a gift in your Will, as well as, the importance of advocacy through the philanthropic sector’s collective response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We offer some guidance to wealth advisers on the type of questions to ask their clients to facilitate better conversations around philanthropy. We also look at the consequences of when an individual’s giving and values are inconsistent through the downfall of the Sackler family name. The AICD annual governance study reveals the evolution of governance within not-for-profit organisations. This edition finishes with a deep dive into the impact of moving away from traditional grant making into using blended capital models to amplify social impact through the Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) case study.

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Jump to any one of the edition’s articles by clicking the links below:

The role of philanthropy in regional economic development: The donor view

What is the relationship between philanthropic and regional economic activity? The traditional assumed relationship is that economic growth leads to greater charitable giving. This should not be taken for granted, however. Many see philanthropic giving as part of economic development, that will eventually give back. It can “plug the void” to help bring communities and economies together. Economic development of the right kind can help to better education pipelines, community revitalisation, and safety in a given area. Read the full article (10 mins). 

Australian National University receives $6.87 million bequest

The Australian National University has announced a bequest of $6.87 million, the largest in its history, in support of a rare autoimmune disease. The gift from Jenny and Bruce Pryor will fund research on dermatomyositis, which Jenny Pryor suffered from in her later years. As the disease affects one in a hundred thousand people, it has not previously been part of current large research programs. Read the full article (2 mins). 

Philanthropy responds to Uluru Statement

Australia’s philanthropic community has joined together to sign a collective response to the Uluru Statement From the Heart. This statement is a national Indigenous consensus position on constitutional reform. In an ‘open letter from philanthropy’, published in the Australian Financial Review in July 2019, 62 individual philanthropists and philanthropic foundations have signed in support of this statement. Philanthropy Australia’s CEO Sarah Davies said that the open letter was driven by the sector’s desire to help make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Read the full article (3 mins). 

Advice for wealth advisers: How to talk with your clients about philanthropy

Wealth advisers know that clients look to them for guidance, that’s why these professionals start conversations about philanthropy. But there is a difference between having a conversation, and talking to your clients in a way that helps you understand their goals, priorities, and challenges so you can serve them well. Three common traps to avoid in these conversations are focusing only on dollars, only making the conversation seasonal, or doing it all without consulting other experts. Some of the more important factors in these conversations are understanding your clients’ needs and motivations, and engaging clients who have an established foundation. Read the full article (4 mins).

Louvre removes Sackler family name from its walls

The Louvre in Paris has become the first major museum to remove the Sackler name from its walls because of the philanthropist family’s links with the opioid crisis in the United States. All references to the ‘Sackler Wing’ have been covered in gray tape, as well as the plaque acknowledging donations. Members of the Sackler family own the Pharmaceutical company known for making OxyContin, a hugely profitable and frequently abused painkiller that is subject to swathes of lawsuits in the United States. This follows the British National Portrait Gallery turning down a $1.3 million donation from the family in March, with other major galleries and museums committing to stop accepting donations from the family. Read the full article (5 mins).

NFP directors are working harder than ever, but is that a good thing?

New research by the Australian Institute of Company Directors shows that not-for-profit directors are spending more days working on a single charity than ever before, posing a risk of management burn-out. Rising governance expectations, community trust challenges for NFPs, growing financial pressures and changes in organisational complexity were some of the reasons given for this increased workload. This quite often leaves less time spent on strategy, which could be very detrimental to organisations. Read the full article (5 mins). 

Innovative uses of philanthropic funds to fix complex social problems

A new case study by the Centre for Social Impact has highlighted the need and the potential for innovative funding solutions for more complex social problems. The case study looks at funding for services that address long-term homelessness. However, the truly meaningful takeaway from this study is the potential of innovative approaches to funding such services that can arise when the community sector, the financial sector, governments and philanthropy, work together. Using a ‘blended-capital’ model of funding unites all parties involved to streamline and more effectively ensure that complex problems are holistically addressed with a long-term outlook. Read the full article (7 mins). 

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