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GUIDE TO GIVING 2016


years in the philanthropic sector, she’s a good operator. So I’m actually now really excited that we’ve got a great team in place going forward so I can now wander off and know that the clients are in capable hands.


Graham Tuckwell credits you with inspiring him to go public with his $50 million donation to the Australian National University. You’ve also helped set up more than 100 Private Ancillary Funds. How does it feel to have had that kind of impact?


It’s interesting because I don’t really dwell on that. It’s the sort of thing I reckon when I’m sitting in my rocking chair in 30 years time I might think “yeah, I did some good stuff there”. I really have mixed views on it. Yes it’s terrific to work with 100


families and get them more engaged in the community, particularly the next generation, that’s an exciting thing when you’re working with the next generation from the wealth creators. But I really do sit here thinking, and I’ve thought this for quite some time, with my connections, with the Myer Family’s connections and with our clients’ connections, I’m frankly disappointed we haven’t set up 400 foundations, because we should have. We could have and we should have.


I think I’ve had quite a good stint here


and there’s some satisfaction of the work done but I do feel that we could have done a lot more, and again that’s part of changing the culture and building a culture of giving in this country.


That leads to the next question. What do you think of the state of philanthropy in Australia at the moment?


I think it’s in fair shape. The pool of philanthropic capital is still tiny given the wealth in this country. We know that individual taxpayers earn over $700 billion each year, well that’s what they declare, I don’t know what their income is. If they’re declaring $700 billion I wonder what it really is. And yet we only give $2 billion away each year.


We know that on average we only give


about 0.3 per cent of our income. For a number of years it was only 0.4 per cent, so that was low and it’s going lower. So giving as a percentage of income has dropped dramatically. We still only have 1,300


Private Ancillary Funds. With the wealth in this country we should have 10,000. We know that there are a number


of small community foundations around Australia. The bigger ones are the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund and the Australian Communities Foundation, and to a lesser extent the Sydney Community Foundation. Between them they’ve only got a few hundred sub-funds. They should have 50,000 sub-funds. You can set up a sub-fund for a few thousand dollars. They’ve got a few hundred. There are thousands of families in Australia that could set up a sub-fund and work with their families to instill an ethos of giving and caring within the family and do some good stuff in the community. We’re on the right path but we’ve got


a long way to go. The pool of philanthropic capital is tiny and even with that small pool, particularly given it’s a small pool of capital, we’ve got to get a lot smarter with what we’re doing with it. Most foundations are still using that


scatter gun approach with their giving. We need them to refine their focus and make fewer but larger grants and work with their community funding partners over multiple years and to help them build up their organisational capacity. Very few foundations are actually doing that. Most of the funding that comes out of


philanthropy land is one year funding. Now, we know you can’t do much in anything less than three years, so we’ve got to get a bit smarter with our giving. The philanthropic sector in Australia


is still immature so perhaps all of this is understandable. We’ve only created the wealth in this country in the last 30 years. The Myer family is in its fifth generation of wealth. I’ve been asking people for a couple of years can they give me another example of a family in Australia in their fifth generation of wealth. They will exist but no one’s been able to give me a name. The wealth is new, so it’s perhaps not surprising that we haven’t built up our culture of giving but I think we need to work a bit harder and a bit smarter about building that culture of giving and then being smarter with the philanthropic capital that we have.


How do we remedy that situation? For a few years I’ve been calling for a


national giving campaign. A lot of things don’t get done unless they’re measured. We know that Australian individual taxpayers are giving about 0.3 per cent of their income to charity. Nobody knows that stat. If you go to your dinner party tomorrow night and ask your friends, what percentage of their incomes do you think Australian’s give away, people usually say “oh I don’t know, I’ve never seen that, we’re quite generous, so maybe it’s five per cent of their income”. No one knows that it’s 0.3 per cent. So I think that we need to have a


national giving campaign that would include a number of things and firstly it would have a benchmark for giving. I don’t know what that should be, but I think we should start with a nice round number and say it’s 1 per cent of our income. Many families in Australia would be able to give away 1 per cent of their income and it wouldn’t impact their lifestyle. Also, if there’s a benchmark, if you’re


earning $80,000 a year you need to give away $800 dollars, and you know come April or May that if you’ve only given away a couple of hundred dollars, you know you’ve got to get a move on to get your 1 per cent out the door. If we measure it, it will happen. And we also need an education


campaign for financial advisors, lawyers accountants and financial planners. Many of them still don’t know what a PAF is, they don’t know what a community foundation sub-fund is. They’re not aware of these structures which are not only tax-effective, but really useful for their clients in terms of unifying the family, and if nothing else it brings that advisor much closer to the family.


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