Philanthropy for Social Change
The Reichstein Foundation practices social change philanthropy and grows this approach to philanthropy through partnerships and funding collaborations with individuals, donors and trusts and foundations. In essence, we support change not charity.
- Read more about trends in Australian philanthropy: Philanthropy important when the public interest often has few friends (2017); Philanthropists’ focus shifting toward social impact (2012)
- Stories of good philanthropy (2009, 8MB): Time Will Tell Showcasing Stories of Good Philanthropy
A commitment to strategic philanthropy
Deep and persistent disadvantage; Indigenous disempowerment and poverty; a gender revolution that has stalled; climate change and the environmental sustainability of our cities and lands; access to decent transport, affordable housing and infrastructure; high quality education for all, not just the privileged – these issues will not go away, indeed, they are more pressing than ever before.
Philanthropy in Australia can only be effective in tackling these issues if foundations and donors engage in greater collective effort, joint research and more joint funding. Read more about our philanthropy for social change blueprint in the 2013 Stegley Lecture: After the deluge: philanthropy for social change in a conservative era – challenges and opportunities, presented by Former Reichstein Foundation EO Dr John Spierings.
Change Not Charity
Social change philanthropy has five fundamental characteristics:
- It focuses less on ameliorating the symptoms of poverty than overcoming the causes of disadvantage and inequality.
- It strives to include the people who are impacted by those injustices as decision-makers.
- It also aims to make the field of philanthropy more accessible and diverse.
- In social change philanthropy, foundations are accountable, transparent and responsive in their grantmaking.
- Donors and foundations act as allies to social justice movements by contributing not only monetary resources but their time, knowledge, skills and access to power.
Social change philanthropy embodies a belief that there can be a higher form of capitalism and better concern for humanity, one that needs to be aggressively promoted, one that facilitates the power of people affected by exploitation.
- For more see US Council for Responsive Philanthropy.
Join the conversation about social change philanthropy
The Power of Advocacy
According to Philanthropy Australia, ‘Funding policy advocacy involves working to achieve change in a particular cause area by seeking to influence public policy – including laws, regulations and government practices. It can be a very effective way to address the complex social and environmental challenges we confront’.
Growing numbers of trusts and foundations believe that smart advocacy is essential to tackling the great challenges communities face. Inspired by the work of Philanthropy Australia, especially through the 2017 Philanthropy Meets Parliament summit, there is palpable energy and interest in advocacy across Australian philanthropy. The sector’s efforts in support of marriage equality in 2017 was a turning point for many funders. That was a smart investment that achieved a phenomenal result.
We are proud to have co-funded The Power of Advocacy report with the Myer Foundation which, along with the Sidney Myer Fund, has always funded across so many great causes and continues to inspire the philanthropic and community sectors.
The Power of Advocacy report is a vital resource that:
- helps explain the rationales for funding advocacy;
- talks about the legal aspects (and how the law is firmly on the side of funding advocacy!);
- addresses some misconceptions; and
- sets out some fantastic and diverse case studies.
The report is available here: The Power of Advocacy.
See more in this Philanthropy Australia video, Advocacy Update: The Power of Advocacy:
Now there is an Advocacy Toolkit available for members of Philanthropy Australia, which can be found on the Better Giving Hub platform.
Changing The Rules: Doing Social Justice Philanthropy
In 2017 we spoke to thought leaders, philanthropists and campaigners about the role of philanthropy in advancing social justice. Watch our video about philanthropy and advocacy.
Our Approach to Gender-Wise Philanthropy
The Reichstein Foundation is committed to gender inclusion and equity. We will take gender into account so that we maximise the impact of our philanthropic investment. Furthermore we will seek to develop our familiarity with social justice issues facing people from across the gender spectrum.
We know that empowering women is a highly effective philanthropic response. We also know that as grant-makers and grant-seekers we need to understand the gender impacts of our investments and activities.
We encourage grant-makers and grant-seekers to consult these resources created by the Australian Women Donors Network (AWDN) as a guide to gender-lens analysis:
- Read more about investing in women and girls: Investing in Women and Girls
- Applying the AWDN gender lens to a proposed program: Gender-wise guidelines for grant-seekers
We acknowledge that more work needs to be done to develop effective philanthropic responses to the circumstances of LGBTIQA+ people.
After The Deluge: Philanthropy For Social Change In a Conservative Era
How can Philanthropy tackle poverty and inequality?
Reducing inequality is one of the Reichstein Foundation’s strategic priories. We highlight here some of the approaches we believe will be effective.
Tracking inequality and building the case for change
The Reichstein Foundation, along with the BB & A Miller Fund, Hartline Fund, and Social Justice Fund (sub-funds of Australian Communities Foundation), is supporting ACOSS to maximise the impact of their crucial research into inequality. We are also supporting work to find out how Australians perceive inequality, again through a funding collaboration with the Australian Communities Foundation.
In June 2015, ACOSS released:
- A report into inequality in Australia: ACOSS_Inequality_in_Australia_A_Nation_Divided_Report_2015
- A factsheet on inequality in Australia: ACOSS-POVERTY-IN-AUSTRALIA-FACT-SHEET
- And in collaboration with Ipsos, a report into perceptions of inequality: Ipsos-ACOSS-Community_Perspectives_On_Social_Inequality_Report_2015
This video explains how unbalanced Australian society has become: Inequality in Australia: A nation divided
Ten ways to tackle inequality
Leading Australian researchers, key decision-makers in Government and expert community sector representatives have come together to consider what to do about growing inequality.
Non-profit company Australia21, with think tank The Australia Institute and the Australian National University convened a roundtable in early 2014, which resulted in the publication of a major report on tackling inequality: ‘Advance Australia Fair? What to do about growing inequality in Australia’.
The report has identified ten key actions and policy levers that are available to government, which would be effective in reducing inequality. The Reichstein Foundation proudly supported Australia21 to produce the report.
Australia21 also created three very short videos about addressing inequality in Australia, based on the report.
- Download the report: Advance Australia Fair-What to do about growing inequality in Australia
- See and share Australia 21’s short videos about inequality in Australia, based on the report: Australia21’s You Tube channel
- Check out Australia21’s Inequality web page for more of their work
- Inequality in Australia – Short video by Australia21
- Why inequality matters – Short video by Australia21
Leading anti-poverty advocate visits Australia
Julia Unwin, the distinguished CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) visited Australia in May 2014 as a guest of the Reichstein Foundation and our partners the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Jobs Australia. Julia Unwin met with government, business and community to provoke a renewed focus on addressing the growing gap between the wealthy and the disadvantaged.
Julia Unwin’s inspiring discussion paper and an infographic on poverty in Australia were released as part of a renewed focus on the extent of poverty and widening inequality and to share insights about how to tackle these issues:
- Poverty inequality and a modern social contract relevant for a changing world
- Poverty in Australia Infographic
See Julia Unwin’s keynote address at the 2014 VCOSS Summit, where she spoke about roles for the community sector, government and philanthropy in a changing economy marked by rising inequality:
JRF is a world leader in social change philanthropy, with a capital base in excess of close to £300 million and priorities on tackling poverty; developing stronger communities and ageing with dignity. Julia Unwin also brings a unique perspective on housing affordability, with the associated Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust having 2500 units under management.
- Australia needs deep thinking about more effective responses to poverty and inequality. We need to engender greater trust in government, political institutions and civil society at a time of widespread public cynicism and mistrust.
- The not for profit sector must take the lead in fostering a national debate about the relationship between government, citizens, markets and civil society – resulting in a stronger sector articulating its values and vision for civil society with a secure seat at the table with government, business and unions
- A more engaged philanthropic sector can contribute positively to public debate, monitor large scale shifts in government priorities, and strengthen the skills and capabilities of civil society and the not for profit sector in Australia.
See Julia Unwin as she appeared on ABC News 24, Friday 30 May 2014, where she was asked to share lessons from the UK:
Follow Julia Unwin and the JRF on Twitter @juliaunwin @jrf_uk and participate in ongoing discussions using the hashtag #aupoverty