RallyRound December 2016 – Charity is good. Justice is Better

‘New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.’ (source: Harvard Business Review)

This statement from Jeremy Heimans, CEO of Purpose, and Henry Timms, executive director of 92nd Street Y and founder of #GivingTuesday, perfectly sums up the recent Global Summit on Community Philanthropy. Over 2 days, 365 delegates from 60 countries explored the opportunities, challenges, potential and growth of our sector.

There are now more than 1800 place-based foundations across the world, united by a common narrative and a shared purpose which, as Jenny Hodgson, Director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations, suggests can be visualised as a three legged stool, each leg representing a unique strength:

Assets – our resources and our knowledge
Capacity – our commitment to devolving agency to groups on the ground
Trust – we ‘meet’ people where they are, work with them, be with and not for them

A key take-away from the Summit is the premise that meaningful change is achieved when Community Foundations leverage all forms of their capital; social, moral, intellectual, reputational as well as financial – collectively referred to as their SMIRF capital. It can be tempting to see our capacity to deliver impact as relative primarily to the dollars we have at our disposal. But, to paraphrase Summit keynote speaker James A Joseph, foundations with the most impact are likely to be those that integrate all five forms of capital into their activities and strategies; building networks and connections to foster a sense of belonging, reflecting and protecting their community’s values, leveraging their deep local knowledge, and using their positions as trusted local leaders to lift-up, empower and enfranchise community organisations or population segments that are often over-looked and disadvantaged.

My most valued take-away from the Summit though, has been the opportunity see first hand how Community Foundations are responding boldly to the challenges facing their communities. From the Monteverde Community Foundation, Costa Rica, which is empowering youth as agents of change, to the Tuzla Community Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, working to integrate their catchment’s growing Roma population. Posters with case studies from a number of the Summit’s participants are available here.

ACP was founded by a group of Community Foundation practitioners who recognised the value of collective effort, collaborative practices and shared resources. As we approach the end of another busy year, I would like to thank you for being a part of the surging ‘current’ that is community philanthropy in Australia. In the words of James A Joseph ‘Charity it good. Justice is Better ….we have the potential to make and remake history’.

Have a happy and safe Christmas.

Kate Buxton
December, 2016

Launch of Insurance Facility for ACP Members

ACP has been working with Imalia to establish a dedicated Community Foundation Insurance Facility.  Whilst, the project has taken longer than anticipated, we are pleased to advise that the facility has now been established and will provide ACP members with access to competitively priced:

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Management Liability or Directors and Officers Insurance
  • Voluntary Workers Insurance
  • Property Insurance for office contents.

Policies will be underwritten by Lloyds of London and will be specifically tailored to Community Foundations including their fundraising, events and trustee activities. An online portal will go live early in the new year and ACP members will also be able to contact Imalia if they have questions or need clarification on any aspect of the cover. Further details on the facility will be circulated to members soon. You can contact Kate Buxton if you would like to access the facility prior to the launch of the online portal.

australia-map-clipart    Giving Australia 2016

Giving Australia 2016, an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership led by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, is the most extensive research ever conducted on giving and volunteering behaviours, attitudes and trends.

Key findings from the research show that compared to 10 years ago:

  • Fewer people are giving more
  • More people are volunteering more hours
  • Planned giving delivers six times more donations than spontaneous giving
  • Philanthropists are most influenced by culture, family and the ability to make positive change.

Giving Australia 2016 fact sheets, a background paper and literature review summary report can be found here. The Philanthropy Fact Sheet, available to download now, identifies that many philanthropists prioritise the value of meeting relevant people, building personal relationships and seeing the impact organisations are having – which is good news for Community Foundations.

Further reports from Giving Australia will be released progressively throughout 2017


Australian Society Remains Stable and Highly Cohesive – Scanlon Foundation Report Findings

‘May you live in interesting times’, or so goes the ancient curse, and lately it’s been very ‘interesting’ indeed. So, it is reassuring that the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion 2016 report, authored by Professor Andrew Markus, finds ‘more evidence of stability and social cohesion than of deterioration’ in Australia with 91% of Australians reporting a sense of belonging and 83% of Australians agreeing that ‘multiculturalism has been good for the country.

There are some negative indicators identified in the research findings; for example, the proportion of respondents indicating experience of discrimination on the basis of skin colour, ethnicity or religion increased from 15% in 2015 to 20% in 2016. There is also evidence of the public’s growing disengagement with the current political system – seemingly a growing global trend.

Social cohesion is at the very heart of the Community Foundation model. Wellbeing, a sense of belonging and trust are among the shared values in any socially cohesive community; much of the work undertaken by Community Foundations is aimed at strengthening and supporting these values. Community Foundations are also perfectly placed to understand that social cohesion is a process, it cannot be imposed and must be constantly created and supported from within.

Beyond Bushfires – Study Confirms Significant Long Term Impacts of Disaster

The 2016 National Community Foundations Forum reflected on the devastating impact of loss of networks, connections and structures following a disaster. So, it comes as no surprise that the recently published study on the impact of the Black Saturday fires showed, that whilst there was progressive recovery at community level over time, there was also strong evidence of the significant and long term impacts on, for example, individual mental health.

Beyond Bushfires: Community Resilience and Recovery brings together the findings from the six year study – conducted by the University of Melbourne in partnership with community members and a range of community, academic, government, emergency, and health agencies.

The results underscore the influence of community structures in response to and recovery from disasters, and serves as a powerful reminder of the pivotal role played by community powered organisations in building and sustaining resilience.

Following the Black Saturday fires, VBAF contributed funds to five Community Foundations and Trusts. Community Foundations are for-ever organisations; they are woven into the fabric of a community, and are trusted providers of ongoing support, funding and leadership.  They empower communities, leveraging local resources to create local solutions.  It is this aspect of the Community Foundation model which has particularly resonance for communities impacted by disaster or crisis.

magnifyingglass    Resource Roundup

Australia’s Social Pulse, from the Centre for Social Impact, is a web-based resource providing accessible, ongoing measurement of Australia’s social progress in key domains (education, employment, health, disability, social cohesion, living standards etc) using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, including the census and labour force survey, the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey and other sources.

‘Nine Steps to Successful Bequest Programs’, an information leaflet from Wendy Brooks Consulting, is now available from the ACP website and is an overview of the thinking and activities necessary to build and grow an effective bequest program.

Issue Lab, a service of the Foundation Centre, has launched a Risk and Philanthropy special collection which gathers reports, analysis and information on this issue as part of its searchable, browsable website.

Grantcraft has launched it’s annual Blueprint forecast. Blueprint 2017is an overview of the current landscape including major trends. This year’s edition also explores why it is increasingly important to ask the questions ‘What is political? and What is philanthropic?’

Have you developed a resource (leaflet, website, video) that you would like to share with the Community Foundation network? Please let us know.

ACP Membership Subs – Due 1st February 2017

In 2017 ACP will continue to advocate on behalf of our sector, encourage collaboration and collective learning between Community Foundations across Australia; represent, strengthen and build the capacity of our sector through regular newsletters, webinars, networkings, the National Community Foundations Forum and other offerings. We need your support to do this. The ACP membership year runs from 1st February to the 31st January. Membership renewal forms will be circulated in the new year and we look forward to working with you in 2017.