The West Australian couple won the Philanthropy Leader of the Year Award at the 2018 Australian Philanthropy Awards, which celebrate the impact and innovation of transformative philanthropy across seven categories.

The achievements of seven of Australia’s most strategic philanthropic funders and their nonprofit partners were recognised at the fourth annual Australian Philanthropy Awards.

Australia’s marriage equality campaign, an innovative Indigenous program, an initiative to support victims of domestic violence were among the honourees. The Awards were presented at a reception at the Sydney Opera House hosted by peak body Philanthropy Australia.

“The recipients of the 2018 Awards truly showcase the capacity of philanthropy to contribute to meaningful social change,” said Sarah Davies, CEO of Philanthropy Australia.

“Some of the projects recognised at these Awards have changed our national landscape forever. They demonstrate that philanthropy today is not just about the money – it’s about a vision of what can be better and how philanthropy can help turn this vision into reality through analysis, insight, strategy, partnership, collaboration and risk-taking.”

Andrew and Nicola Forrest follow in the footsteps of Ian Darling and Audette Excel. The Forrests were the first Australians to join ‘The Giving Pledge’ – the philanthropic movement, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett – and intend to give away most of their wealth during their lifetime.

Last year they made headlines when they announced plans to donate $400 million to various causes including fighting cancer, investing in higher education, and ending slavery and the disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. This was widely reported as the largest donation by a living people in Australian history.

“For 17 years we have been working to create healthier and more educated citizens, boost training and employment and enable communities to thrive, all over the world,” said Andrew Forrest. “We aren’t afraid to take on tough problems, and look to create long-term solutions, not short-term fixes.

“There is no limit to what we can achieve if we continue to apply knowledge, think strategically and approach problems with flexibility,” Nicola Forrest said. “By making our giving public, we hope to encourage others to do what they can to address social challenges.”

Brooke Horne from the Tom Snow & Brooke Horne Family Trust dedicated the Award for Best Large Grant to the thousands of Australians who supported the Equality Campaign, which helped bring marriage equality to Australian as 61.6% of Australians voted yes to same-sex marriage.

“This award is a huge honour that we share with every single person who donated money or time to achieve marriage equality,” Horne said.

“The Equality Campaign was the result of significant philanthropic leadership that gave strength to the thousands of everyday Australians who were willing to stand up and push for fairness and equality.”

The Snow family was also honoured with the Best Small Grant of the Year. The Snow Foundation, helmed by Tom Snow’s sister Georgina Byron, partnered with the Women’s Centre for Health Matters in Canberra for a program that gives small loans to domestic violence survivors.

The inaugural International Philanthropy Award went to Wheelton Philanthropy and Bali Children Foundation for their work giving nearly 3,000 Indonesian children living in remote communities access to secondary education. Earlier this year Bali Children Foundation CEO Marg Barry received an OAM in the Australia Day Honours and Angela Wheelton received an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Paul Wheelton has long been an advocate of more transparent philanthropy and a supporter of Philanthropy Australia in establishing the Awards.

“One of the problems of anonymous giving is that you are not engaging your family and your community in what you’re giving, why you are giving and the impact it can possibly have. The more we talk publicly about what can be achieved by what we give, the better off we’ll be,” Wheelton told Generosity last year.

Genevieve Timmons, Chair of the 2018 Judging Panel, praised the impact of this year’s Award recipients.

“The Awards recognise the contributions not only of philanthropic funders, but also of the non-profit and community partners that have brought the work to life,” Timmons said. “As we’ve seen with this year’s awardees, you can’t achieve lasting impact or systems-change without innovative and effective partnerships.”


Philanthropy Leader of the Year

Nicola and Andrew Forrest

Best Large Grant of the Year

The Tom Snow and Brooke Horne Family Trust and the Equality Campaign for the Marriage Equality Campaign

Best Small Grant of the Year Award

The Snow Foundation and Women’s Centre for Health Matters for the Assistance Beyond Crisis Credit Loans Initiative

Gender-wise Philanthropy Award

The WeirAnderson Foundation and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) for the IWDA Communications Strategy

Indigenous Philanthropy Award

Australian Communities Foundation and Woor-Dungin for the Criminal Record Discrimination Project

International Philanthropy Award

Wheelton Philanthropy and Bali Children Foundation

Environmental Philanthropy Award

Purves Environmental Fund and WWF Australia for the Ending Excessive Tree Clearing Campaign Strategy

For more information visit the Philanthropy Australia website.


Already a subscriber? LOGIN HERE

F&P brings you all the latest in fundraising including case studies, best practice, strategy, trends and benchmarks, thought leadership & industry insights.


subscribe now

  • Latest print and digital magazine edition delivered to your door, computer, tablet and mobile
  • Multi-user subscription packages at a nice price so all your staff can enjoy F&P
  • Online access to all our archived magazine articles
  • Fortnightly enewsletter
  • 20% discount off F&P conferences (save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a year)