The fifth annual Australian Philanthropy Awards recognised Australia’s visionary givers, including Philip Bacon and the Atlassian Foundation.

Australian Philanthropy Awards

Philanthropy Australia’s highest honour went to Philip Bacon AM. Bacon is Opera Australia’s foremost advocate of new Australian works, such as Whiteley. Photo by Prudence Upton.

The 2019 Australian Philanthropy Awards, celebrating the achievements of the philanthropic community, were held on Monday July 22 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Among the winners were an international campaign to eradicate nuclear weapons; a project supporting an Indigenous women’s ranger program in Arnhem Land; an initiative transforming access to education for young women in Cambodia; a training program for environmental community leaders; a program to revitalise tourism in Queensland’s outback; Australia’s first justice reinvestment initiative; and an influential member of the arts community.

“It has been exciting to see how the awards have grown over the last five years to attract a record number of nominations for this year’s event. These nominations reflect philanthropy’s increasing impact and visibility,” said Australian Philanthropy Awards Chair, Jenny Wheatley.

Philanthropy Australia’s highest honour went to Philip Bacon AM, who has built a legacy of advancing art in Australia through targeted giving, leadership and encouragement of others. Named as 2017 True Leader by the Australian Financial Review Boss magazine and identified as one of 21 people changing Australia, Bacon is Opera Australia’s foremost advocate of new Australian works and a leading figure in the world of fine arts.

In accepting the 2019 Leading Philanthropist Award, Bacon said he felt privileged to be able to help others achieve their often life-changing work.

“We all give, or enable others to give, so that the great work of our artists and performers, our researchers and doctors, our teachers and scientists can continue,” said Bacon.

“For me, the arts are at the centre of my world. I believe utterly in their importance and know how bereft we would all be if art stopped being made, music wasn’t heard, plays weren’t performed, little girls stopped being taken to the ballet by their grandmothers, and the Sydney Opera House became a museum, because Opera could no longer be afforded.”

2019 Australian Philanthropy Award Recipients

Leading Philanthropist Philip Bacon AM

Best Large Grant Dusseldorp Forum, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and Maranguka Backbone Community Organisation, Bourke (Auspiced by Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT) for Maranguka’s Justice Reinvestment Strategy.

Best Small Grant Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Barcoo Way Committee for the Barcoo Way project.

Environmental Philanthropy Award Melliodora Fund (and six other sub funds of the Australian Communities Foundation, plus 10 other funders since 2014) for The Change Agency Community Organising Fellowship.

Gender Wise Philanthropy Award Atlassian Foundation International for Room to Read Australia.

Indigenous Philanthropy Award Klein Family Foundation and Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (KKT) for the Warddeken Daluk Ranger Program.

International Philanthropy Award Eve Kantor and Mark Wootton, the Kantor Family through the Poola and Dara Foundations for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Australia.


For more about the Australian Philanthropy Awards, visit the Philanthropy Australia website.

Read about the 2019 Leading Philanthropist, Philip Bacon, here.
Read about the recipients of the The Gender-wise Philanthropy Award, Atlassian Foundation International and Room to Read, here.
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