Philanthropy University, developed by the United States' second oldest university-based business school, Berkely-Haas, is offering free online courses for social change leaders around the world in an effort to build sector networks and boost impact.

"Philanthropy University offers leaders in the social sector opportunities to strengthen their skills and grow their network of peers and mentors, ultimately increasing collaboration and efficiency and leading to a greater impact in the world," said Laura Tyson the director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact at Berkeley-Haas and chair of the Philanthropy University advisory committee. 

"Berkeley-Haas is proud to be a partner in this new effort to break down barriers to social change by providing free, accessible learning to foster the capacity of the sector around the world," Dr Tyson said.

Berkeley-Haas is playing a significant role, helping form networks of organisations that use Philanthropy University to increase their impact, shaping the curricula, sourcing faculty from Berkeley and top universities worldwide, building an open innovation platform that provides space for learners to collaborate, and integrating its Global Social Venture Competition with this initiative, according to Dr Tyson.

Founder of Philanthropy U, the non-profit sponsor of the initiative, HE Amr Al-Dabbagh said, "Imagine a workforce of social change professionals who are primed, positioned and skilled to impact the lives of millions of people and effectively change the world with their work. This is the vision of Philanthropy University."

Philanthropy University courses go beyond the traditional non-profit webinar through dynamic week classes lasting five to eight weeks that will be taught by leading instructors and renowned practitioners. Courses focus on team-based, experiential learning, enabled by the latest social learning technologies from NovoEd.

The seven inaugural courses, which begin on September 29, 2015, teach key skills that people need to succeed in the social change sector, including fundraising, strategic planning and scaling for impact.

More than 10,000 learners have already registered to be in Philanthropy University's inaugural session. Instructors include Kiva.org co-founder Jessica Jackley, Stanford University emeritus professor Paul Brest and Erik Simanis of Cornell University .

Learners can earn recognition from Berkeley-Haas including a Statement of Accomplishment upon completion of any course or a Certificate of Completion in Social Sector Leadership by completing all seven classes.

The initial course offerings and start dates are:

Starting September 29, 2015: 
Global Social Entrepreneurship  
Essential of Nonprofit Strategy   
Organizational Capacity: Assessment to Action

Starting October 6, 2015:
How to Scale Social Impact    
Leadership: 10 Rules for Impact and Meaning   

Starting October 13, 2015:  
Financial Modeling for the Social Sector    
Fundraising: How to Connect with Donors

Learn more and register at www.philanthropyu.org.

About Philanthropy University 
Philanthropy University is the first-of-its-kind online education initiative for change makers, providing free non-credit courses taught by world-class instructors and powered by the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Philanthropy University is sponsored by Philanthropy U, a registered non-profit. Learners are not entitled to college or other academic credit. philanthropyu.org.

About Berkeley-Haas 
As the second-oldest business school in the US, the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley is one of the world's leading producers of new ideas and knowledge in all areas of business. The school offers outstanding management education to about 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students each year who come from around the world to study in one of six degree-granting programs. http://www.haas.berkeley.edu

About NovoEd 
NovoEd powers leadership development online. The company's social learning platform and design services help organisations convert in-person training to scalable online classes and programs. NovoEd leverages the latest science and tools in peer-to-peer, project-based, and team-based learning.

http://novoed.com

COLLABORATION and innovation is rarely highlighted in relation to the community services sector – but it is precisely this focus that must drive the real outcomes into the future, CoAct CEO Matt Little urged at The Power of Many CoAct conference, in Canberra in June.

The conference served as both a wake-up call and a celebration for the sector and it was convened by CoAct – formerly the Job Futures – which launched its new brand designed to unite and energise community services throughout Australia. 

In an industry needing to build new alliances and business relationships, the conference was both about celebrating CoAct members’ considerable successes while alerting business and community leaders to the broad challenges threatening the sector.

Guest keynote speakers Marco Roncarati from United Nations ESCAP – who presented vital regional information on youth unemployment issues – and Stephane Carcillo from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs offered international perspectives on successful programs and experiences that Australia could adapt.

Diminishing budgets – and a change of approach by the Federal Government in seeking to procure from larger ‘single point of contact’ organisations, as outlined by Bronwen Dalton of UTS Business School – are creating unexpected challenges for smaller and regional community organisations that can only be addressed through innovation and collaboration.

“Whilst the current state of social affairs can, at times, make for grim reading in the media and foster a climate of pessimism, we feel that through collaboration and harnessing the power of many we can offer innovative solutions for the future of all Australians,” Mr Little said. 

He said the change of brand and approach from Job Futures to CoAct was designed to help the community services sector to become more innovative and effective while delivering better outcomes for government and Australian society.

“The latest research shows that the community services sector contributes over $43 billion to the economy and is an essential ingredient in the decision making process for any government,” Mr Little said. “CoAct alone represents a sizable contribution to this figure and, with the combined knowledge of the people assembled at this conference, we can change the direction for social policy for years to come.”

CoAct is a national network of locally embedded community service providers who work together to create social and economic opportunities. As the former Job Futures, the community-based organisation was formed to meet the new environment as Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) was replaced by Centrelink in the late 1990s, to assist in co-ordinating the creation of job opportunities.

“We operate solely for community benefit and drive over 90 percent of revenue back into the communities in which we operate,” Mr Little said. “Overall, the community sector returns more (to the overall economy) than it receives in funding. That’s a fact.

“More than ever before, we need new solutions to old problems that have never been fixed and are beginning to fester.” Mr Little said one of the most serious problems in Australia – as it is in much of the Asia Pacific region – is youth unemployment.

“The youth unemployment rate in Australia remained unchanged at 13.6 percent which is more than double the average unemployment rate,” Mr Little said. “We are losing a generation of Australians to poverty, unable to afford housing in our major cities and becoming increasingly separate from the wider community.”

Mr Little said the CoAct conference was so important to the process as it was a rare opportunity to gather community, business and government leaders to address the key challenges in creating “an equitable Australia that provides actual jobs, places to live and access to services that are able to deliver innovative solitons without hindrance”. 

“The purpose is to focus minds and generate action,” he said.

The impetus to innovate has been bolstered by recent CoAct partnership successes with business, especially in areas such as youth job creation.

“Earlier this year, I visited one of our programs,” Mr Little said. “There I could see for myself the work we have done changing the lives of Indigenous youth who had, up until that point, no hope of finding employment or accessing the skills training to get a job – it was a revolutionary experience for me.

“When we worked together with the business sector in our Hit the Ground Running program, we not only found jobs for young people but we got them work experience,” he said, as an example. “We found ready-trained employees for the business, Australian Hearing, saving them thousands of dollars in employment costs by reducing job lag.

“This is the power of collaboration and innovation. In this case we saved the economy and businesses money and created better lives full of opportunities that the individuals concerned would never have had access to before.

“Governments alone cannot solve these issues, however they can nurture the environment for true collaboration between industry and community that is focused on beneficial outcomes for all.”

“We want government to publicly commit to a sustainable sector, free from hindrance and with workable business models,” Mr Little said.

“And we want them to give their policy teams new orders to accelerate the progress toward new, sustainable, effective, comprehensive and socially ambitious community services and development agreements that restore funding to essential services such as specialised providers to youth and homelessness.”

www.coact.org.au

ends

 

THE global insurance industry has promised to lift its ‘climate-smart investments’ from $42 billion to $84 billion by the end of 2015, according to a report by Ross Kendall in the online journal Ethical Investor.

Mr Kendall reported that the global insurance industry, represented by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and the International Insurance Society, was “set to transform its mainstream asset management by placing more emphasis on climate risk”. 

Beyond next November’s UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, the industry has pledged to further commit to increasing the amount invested in climate-smart investments to 10 times the current amount, $420 billion, by 2020.

For the first time ever, the ICMIF and the International Insurance Society spoke as one voice at the UN’s Climate Summit in September, Ethical Investor quoted Shaun Tarbuck, ISMIF chief executive as saying.

“The insurance industry manages a third of the world’s investment capital – approximately US$30 trillion,” Mr Tarbuck said.

“As the most climate-risk aware sector in finance, insurers can lead the asset management world, by overlaying good capital disciplines to manage our own climate risk which must be understood and managed across all of our investments, and thereby creating the resilient cities, communities and assets we all desire,” he said.

The insurance industry is also reported to be creating and monitoring a Climate Risk Investment Framework that will become accountable under the new UN Hyogo Framework, which will impact significantly climate and disaster risk reduction and resilience.

“These are bold statements of intent. But as insurers we believe we start with a big advantage, because we are already in the business of protecting lives and livelihoods in both developed and emerging countries,” Mr Tarbuck said.

The mutual and cooperative insurance sector accounts for almost 30 percent of the insurance market, Ethical Investor reported, and is the fastest growing part increasing its premium income by 27 percent since 2007.

“Member-driven insurers put people and the planet, ahead of profit,” Mr Tarbuck said.

www.un.org/climatechange/summit

www.ethicalinvestor.com.au

 

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A Queensland University of Technology researcher is investigating the role professional advisors play in encouraging wealthy Australians to give philanthropically. An important survey on the issue closes on May 31.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), within the QUT Business School, is calling for volunteers to complete a 10-minute online questionnairre which will help guide the future of Australian philanthropy.

The 2014 Study of Professional Advisers and Philanthropy, which will assess the willingness of professional advisors to discuss philanthropy with their clients, is the fourth study of professional advisors by the ACPNS since 2002. 

Professional advisors working with clients on issues such as tax, accounting, financial planning, legal matters, estate planning, trusts, banking, wealth management, or other medium to long-term financial matters are being invited to participate.

“While Australians generally are quite generous, Australia’s wealthy (on average) are not donating as much to charities as their counterparts in the US, UK and Canada, despite their wealth growing at a much faster rate than their level of donation,” lead study author Stephanie Boldeman, said.

“There is an increasing trend since 2002 among Australian advisers to include philanthropy in their suite of services for wealthy clients.”

Acting director of the ACPNS, Wendy Scaife, said the findings from the study would feed into an Australian body of research into attitudes towards philanthropy and also be measured against findings from similar studies from the US, UK and Canada.

“We want to know what advisors think about discussing philanthropy with their clients who may be able to give to their community, and what they think about helping clients plan their giving,” Dr Scaife said.

“What’s the current state of play? Do advisors see there are particular constraints on their capacity to provide advice to clients on philanthropy?”

To complete the online survey, which closes May 31, click here.

www.qut.edu.au

ends

POSTED MAY 25, 2014.

QUEENSLAND fruit producers, Gavin and Stephen Scurr of Piñata Farms and their vehicle - a 1971 Holden panel van - have conquered some of the roughest outback roads in Australia to complete the 2014 Outback Car Trek in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Piñata Farms managing director Gavin Scurr and north Queensland operations manager, Stephen Scurr, completed the rally to raise funds to support the work of the RFDS in remote and regional Australia. 

Despite Car 13 - also known as Roy the HG - losing a wheel after crossing from Tanami in the Northern Territory en route to Halls Creek in Western Australia on day two, the brothers completed the journey unscathed and inspired to enter the 2015 rally.

"We were driving over 300 kilometres of corrugated sand dunes when the front left arm broke off the wheel. We had never seen corrugation that bad for so long. At least six cars had their chassis' break or their engines blow up and were unable to complete the trek," managing director Gavin Scurr said.

"We also blew some shock absorbers that day and had to draw on all our bush mechanic skills to get our car back on the road.

"It was such an incredible event to be part of. We saw some remote and spectacular parts of Australia that very few people ever see.

"Whether it was the sheer scale and colour of the Pilbara mountain ranges to driving more than 1,000 kilometres on private roads through vast cattle stations or past old gold and copper mining towns, no two days were the same."

Gavin said there was only one moment when they took a wrong turn, deep in the heart of remote north-western Western Australia but quickly back-tracked and found their way.

"There were no signposts, very few towns and virtually no cars. In two days, we passed only five cars and for two days we had no reception whatsoever, so we had to rely on our wits. Stephen and I shared the driving and navigating and both roles were pretty challenging."

Most nights were spent camping under the stars where a bright Milky Way put on a spectacular show, he said.

Team Piñata Farms raised approximately $13,000 for the RFDS through corporate sponsorship and public donations.

The Scurrs set off from Piñata's home farm at Wamuran, south-east Queensland on May 28 to travel to Alice Springs, Northern Territory to start the 6,250 kilometre rally. In total, they drove more than 10,000 kilometres in two weeks.

Some 285 participants in 78 2WD vehicles supported by 23 4WD cars entered the 12-day rally from Alice Springs to the Margaret River region of Western Australia via Broome from June 2-13. Together they raised approximately $1.5 million to support the work of the RFDS in remote and regional Australia.

The trek has become the largest single fundraising venture for the RFDS each year and, in its history, has raised more than $22 million.

Car 13 is being transported back to Wamuran where it will be prepared for the 2015 trek from Mildura in Victoria to Byron Bay, New South Wales.

Founded by pineapple farmer Geoff Scurr at Wamuran, Piñata Farms is now operated by his sons, Gavin and Stephen Scurr.

Piñata Farms is the largest pineapple producer in Australia, one of the largest strawberry producers and founder of specialty mango, the Honey Gold, produced in every mainland state except South Australia.

www.theflyingdoctor.com.au

www.pinata.com.au

 

ends

POSTED JUNE 20, 2014

THE Australian Business and Community Network’s (ABCN) Scholarship Foundation has provided 12 scholarships to support promising Year 11 and 12 high school students.  

The ABCN Foundation, launched this year, provides financial and mentoring support to talented students who are facing economic, family or social challenges that are impacting on their studies.

The 12 scholarships have been awarded to high needs, high potential students across Australia with winners receiving a mentor and $7000 in financial support over Year 11, Year 12 and their first year of tertiary education.

The scholarships available in 2013 have been funded by the Navitas Education Trust, KPMG, Norton Rose Fulbright PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. ABCN CEO Jacqui Jones said, “Selecting students to receive our scholarships was a heartening experience. All the applicants are talented, aspirational young people who are achieving excellent results at school despite great challenges.“Next year, we hope to raise funds to provide even more scholarships for these amazing students.”

Building on the success of the National Doug Jukes Memorial Scholarships developed in remembrance of Doug Jukes, former CEO of KPMG, the Scholarship Foundation was launched by the Australian Business and Community Network in July this year.

Ms Jones said ABCN is a coalition of 35 national and global companies that are engaged in providing mentoring programs for students from over 200 high needs schools across Australia.

“Members of the organisation include companies such as the Commonwealth Bank, Goldman Sachs, Minter Ellison Lawyers, Microsoft and Qantas among many others,” she said.“The CEOs of all of the member companies are on the ABCN Council.” ABCN provides a variety of programs, which focus on building critical skills, developing leaders and raising the aspirations of students.

The programs, which are fully funded by the member companies and take place within the corporate environment, give students access to mentors who are business professionals and allows them insight into the working world.

Ms Jones said the Scholarship Foundation allows ABCN to provide financial and further mentoring support to talented students, many of whom have participated in ABCN’s programs, and require extra support to reach their potential.

www.abcn.com.au

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