The theme of the recent ‘Philanthropy Australia 2016´conference was ‘Evolution or Revolution – Is Philanthropy Future Ready?’. The general answer to this question was that philanthropy is not future ready but evolving. Another important conclusion of the conference was that current philanthropy must “hold onto the beauty and power of traditional philanthropy, whilst at the same time being open to innovation and look at new ways of solving problems”. Some evidence of philanthropy’s evolution and innovation trends was found in discussions on how government can collaborate with communities and the private sector to create sustainable change, on why philanthropists should think in investing in social enterprises, and why investing for good (or impact investing) is gaining such a momentum.
Regarding the relationship of philanthropy and impact investment, speakers agreed that “philanthropy involves not just grantmaking but also investment, and in order to be future ready, we can no longer separate how we make our money and how we give it away”. There was a general call to ‘invest for good’ in those companies that not only care about profits, but also about the people and planet. Speakers also talked about the evidence supporting the fact that organizations which manage environmental and social issues will do well in the long run, without compromising financial returns.
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