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Collaborating to grow community philanthropy

Profile of Nicole Richards
Written by Nicole RichardsPosted on 2/6/2021

The launch of a new community foundation is always cause for celebration, and last month’s launch of Foundation SA, was especially joyful, given that it is Australia’s first new community foundation in five years.  

Established with seed funding provided by The Wyatt Trust and infrastructure support from Australian Communities Foundation, Foundation SA is the state’s first statewide community foundation.

“I have long admired the community foundation model”

As implementation partner and trustee, Australian Communities Foundation provided critical support that enabled Foundation SA to move quickly and confidently from establishment to public launch within six months.

“Australian Communities Foundation has been integral to Foundation SA getting off the ground so quickly,” says Foundation SA and The Wyatt Trust CEO, Stacey Thomas.

“Being able to learn from their experience and share the years of knowledge has meant that we have been able to hit the ground running with all our policy and procedure frameworks established, a clear plan for donor engagement and external promotion in place.”

Sophie Doyle speaking at the Foundation SA launch

The groundwork paid off, with five sub-funds established at the time of the launch and a commitment of $270,000 in matched funding announced by the South Australian Premier.

The long-term goal for the Foundation, Stacey says, is for it to become an ongoing source of funding for organisations and causes across SA.

“To see this driven by a community of donors who have wide and varied passions I hope will mean that we will be able to target areas that would otherwise not necessarily be getting mainstream support or attention,” she says.

“I have long admired the community foundation model and am personally a proud donor of 10+ years, so to be able to be a part of developing a larger shared vision of community driven philanthropy for the state is very exciting.

“The feedback and engagement has been fantastic so far, and I hope it can inspire others to consider how a community foundation may work for their area.”

“It’s a wonderful demonstration of how larger philanthropic foundations or government can contribute a little bit of money to help get things started,”

Shared visions, greater impact

Australian Communities Foundation will provide backbone services to Foundation SA until it grows to a size where it has built a sustainable corpus to allow it to transition to become a public ancillary fund in its own right.

“We have been delighted to partner with The Wyatt Trust to establish Foundation SA,” says Australian Communities Foundation CEO, Maree Sidey who attended the launch in Adelaide.

“By sharing our policies, processes, products and our approach to working with donors that we’ve developed over the last 20-plus years, we’ve helped bring a sense of security and confidence to the Foundation SA team and their donors who know that the funds are going to be well managed, well administered and invested responsibly.”

Maree Sidey, David Ensor & Louise Kuramoto

Gerlinde Scholz, Executive Officer of Australian Community Philanthropy, the peak organisation for community foundations, says the collaborative approach that helped launch Foundation SA sets a powerful example for others.

“It’s a wonderful demonstration of how larger philanthropic foundations or government can contribute a little bit of money to help get things started,” she says. “These are not prohibitive sums of money but it can go a long way in getting the legwork done, building the relationships and the collateral – all of which help build momentum and excitement.”

For Foundation SA Philanthropy and Engagement Manager, Sophie Doyle, the support and encouragement from sector peers has been invaluable.

“The excitement and support has been amazing,” she says. “We can feel the generosity of spirit from the sector urging us to grow and spread the word about place-based giving.”

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