Australia’s Leading Philanthropists Unveiled

By Andrew Heaton

(image supplied)

The chairperson of several leading foundations including Good Pitch Australia has been declared Australia leading philanthropist for 2017 after six of Australia’s most strategic not-for-profit funders were recognised at an awards ceremony.

At its Australian Philanthropy Awards night in Melbourne on April 5, Philanthropy Australia announced that Ian Darling had taken out the Leading Philanthropist Award.

A leader across sectors spanning homelessness, mental health, human rights, the environment domestic violence, indigenous issues and the arts, Darling sits on the board as chairperson of The Caledonia Foundation and Good Pitch Australia, is executive director of Shark Island Productions and its Philanthropic arm in Shark Island Institute and is the founder of the Australian Documentary Foundation.

One of his most successful initiative, Good Pitch Australia, combines documentary story telling with outreach campaigns in order to build social capital.

Since 2014, more than $14 million worth of philanthropic grants has been raised for the funding of 19 social impact documentaries.

The Caledonia Foundation, which Darling chairs, also took out the Gender-wise Philanthropy Award for Good Pitch’s The Hunting Ground Australia Project.

In other awards, The Myer Foundation took out the Best Large Grant of the Year Award for its funding of ClimateWorks Australia  whilst The Funding Network, The Ian Potter Foundation and Social Ventures Australia bagged the Best Small Grant of the Year, the Environmental Philanthropy Award and the Indigenous Philanthropy Award respectively.

Philanthropy Australia Chief Executive Officer Sarah Davies said the awards showcase examples of leadership in philanthropy around the country.

“Although Australian philanthropic organisations stand at the forefront of innovation, their important work is often done behind the scenes,” Davies said.

“The Awards showcase the many impressive examples of great leadership in philanthropic giving.”

Selection for the awards was based around vision and impact defined by commitment, courage and entrepreneurship.

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