Philanthropy Australia names recipients of annual industry awards

Leading Australian philanthropists were honoured for the impact of their giving at the 2017 Philanthropy Australia Awards held this week in Melbourne.

The prestigious 2017 Leading Philanthropist Award went to documentary filmmaker Ian Darling who has made it his life's work to promote and support social impact documentaries.

"This really is a great honour for me...it is especially humbling when I observe every day the philanthropists who are doing incredible things in the community and who are all really worthy of this award. This is something I share with you all," Darling said in his thank you speech at the event.

The association also recognised the grant-makers and the not-for-profit groups across five other categories, each acknowledging both the funder and the not-for-profit project. Winners were selected based on the vision and impact of the partnership as well as their commitment, courage and entrepreneurship.

The 2017 Environmental Philanthropy Award went to the Melbourne-based Ian Potter Foundation for supporting the Reef Life Survey in Tasmania.

Through the Foundation's help, the Survey's citizen scientists were able to collect an immense amount of data on the local environment. "We have now established a baseline of the biodiversity along our coasts, said a representative from the Survey.

The association's chief executive Sarah Davies, also expressed her pride in announcing the winner of the 2017 Indigenous Philanthropy Award. It went to Social Ventures Australia for its collaborative work with The Marnin Studio, Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women's Resource Centre in Western Australia.

It is the first venture under the SVA WA Venture Philanthropy Fund and is an inspired creative concept that help local women gain a sustainable source of income.

Championing the cause against domestic violence was the winner of the 2017 Gender-wise Philanthropy Award, which went to the Caledonia Foundation for supporting the Good Pitch's The Hunting Ground Australia Project.

The Project is a critically-acclaimed feature documentary that shares the personal stories of students who have been sexually assaulted on American university campuses.

Recognising the impact of both small-scale and large-scale giving, there were two separate awards, based on grants above $50,000 and those below.

The 2017 Best Small Grant of the Year Award went to The Funding Network (Sydney) for supporting a school kids education program by Manjeri in Uganda while the 2017 Best Large Grant of the Year Award went to the Myer Foundation for its long-term support of ClimateWorks Australia, an independent research body that advocates for lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Davies thanked the night's winners, the association's members and sponsors for their support. "Although Australian philanthropic organisations stand at the forefront of innovation, their important work is often done behind the scenes. The Awards showcase the many impressive examples of great leadership in philanthropic giving," she said.

To coincide with the awards, Philanthropy Australia also held its AGM and released the latest edition of its landmark study, the Giving Australia 2016 report.

This year's award partners were: Ninti One, the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, the Australian Women Donors Network, Think HQ and NAB.

Read more: Philanthropy AustraliaMelbourneBest Small GrantCaledonia FoundationClimateWorks AustraliaEnvironmental PhilanthropyFunding NetworkGiving AustraliaGood PitchIan DarlingIan Potter FoundationIndigenous PhilanthropyManjeriMarnin StudioMarninwarntikura Fitzroy WomenMyer FoundationReef Life SurveyResource CentreSarah DaviesSocial Ventures AustraliaTasmaniaThe Hunting Ground Australia ProjectUgandaWestern Australia
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