Leading funder, Equity Trustees, has released its fourth annual Giving Review, analysing granting and bequests overseen in FY21.

Managing more than 600 philanthropic and charitable funds, Equity Trustees is one of the largest sources of philanthropic funding in Australia. The $96.2 million in grants and bequests the company distributed in financial year 2021 is a 5.7% increase on the FY20 figure of $91 million.

Commenting on the analysis contained in the annual review, Carol Schwartz AO, Chair of Equity Trustees, said: “Australia’s vibrant philanthropic sector has continued to meet the rising demands of the community throughout 2021, demonstrating agility and a deeper understanding of how to best support the social sector.”

“Charities and other crucial social sector organisations have shown extraordinary resilience and flexibility whilst tackling Australia’s biggest societal issues alongside the resurgence of COVID-19. It has been a time of complexity and uncertainty, but also of innovation and meaningful impact.

“This is why it is so important that as a major funder we give effectively and strategically.”

Here’s snapshot of how that $96.2 million was distributed:

  • $75.4 million grants from charitable trusts
  • $20.8 million total grants from bequests, up from $7.6 million
  • 3023 grants made
  • 146 grants over $100,000 to the for-purpose sector
  • Largest single discretionary grant was $800,000 (in the area of medical and health)

And here’s how the various causes fared in terms of percentage of grants:

  • Health = 45%
  • Human services = 20%
  • Community & economic development = 10%
  • Education = 10%
  • Others (including arts & culture, religion, human rights and international development) = 9%
  • Animals & environment = 6%

Examples of initiatives supported by Equity Trustees and delivered by its partners in the for-purpose partners sector in FY21 are:

  • Supporting children and young people, with a focus on disability, education and out-of-home care
  • New ways to tackle Australia’s housing and homelessness crisis
  • Working to empower First Nations organisations
  • Backing leading medical researchers
  • Building sustainable businesses that help solve social and environmental problems
  • Helping communities to build resilience against drought.

This year’s review includes a gender and a First Nations lens to the granting data, as the company continues to understand how they are funding underrepresented groups and how they can bridge funding gaps.

Equity Trustees has been moving from a stewardship model to one that actively pursues and demonstrates impact. They have developed a ‘Blueprint for deepening impact’ that involves cultivating philanthropy, strengthening the for-purpose sector (a key tent of this is a welcome focus on funding capacity and collaboration) and catalysing social impact.

Like Philanthropy Australia they are also working to grow structured giving.

“Some key areas of focus for us have been finding new ways to make it simpler for Australians to start or build on their giving in a more strategic way. Our focus is on using technology to innovate and removing common barriers to practicing effective philanthropy,” said Jodi Kennedy, General Manager, Charitable Trusts and Philanthropy, Equity Trustees

Alongside the analysis of giving and outlines of strategic initiatives, the Giving Review includes numerous case studies and a directory of contributing trusts.

The report can be viewed at www.eqt.com.au/givingreview


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