4 foundations to launch new leadership program for Australian NFPs
Four major Australian foundations have joined forces to create a national capacity-building and leadership program for current leaders in Australian not-for-profit organisations.
Over a period of five years, the Social Impact Leadership Australia program will have a budget of $9 million and will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).
The Myer Foundation, the Sidney Myer Fund, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Paul Ramsay Foundation have collaborated to fund the program with the goal of “[unlocking] leadership potential to improve the wellbeing of Australians.”
Leonard Vary, CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, said the idea stemmed from the recognition of a damaging and persistent lack of investment in the leadership of the not-for-profit sector in Australia.
“We’re inspired by the success of programs in the United States, supported by foundations which see the value of investment in building the capacity of for-purpose leaders.” Vary said.
“Beyond mere professional development, Social Impact Leadership Australia is a powerful way to influence whole organisations, while ensuring the next tier of leaders is ready to take the reins and lead for social impact.”
Jo Taylor, Chief Capability Officer of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said the investment in Social Impact Leadership Australia is a reflection of the Foundation’s long-term commitment to breaking cycles of disadvantage.
“The exacerbation of disadvantage we have seen in the wake of a cluster of once-in-a-generation disasters – the bushfire, drought and COVID-19 pandemic – have strengthened our collective resolve to build more effective offramps from the cycles that trap people in poverty,” Taylor said.
“To break complex cycles of disadvantage, we have to enhance the capability of the for-purpose sector which plays an increasingly central role in developing new approaches and delivering support to those who need it most,” she said.
One third of participants for the program will be drawn from rural and regional areas, a focus that Jenny Wheatley, CEO of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation called “exciting and important”.
“It is critical that we develop a truly national program. By broadening our reach in this way, we are ensuring we will be available to a diverse group of leaders and organisations from across Australia.” Wheatley said.
The program will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact, an organisation that works in social impact education. Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of CSI described the program as “visionary” and applauded the collaboration.
“We know that people are an organisation’s most important asset, and we know that there is persistent underinvestment in the professional development of for-purpose leaders.” Professor Muir said.
“This program helps change that. We’re incredibly honoured that CSI has been selected to create and deliver this ground-breaking program and can’t wait to work with the first cohort of leaders.”
The program design is based on international best practice and covers leadership of the self, the organisation, and the system. SILA includes a series of immersive learning experiences, a tailored sabbatical, one-on-one coaching, and dedicated organisational capacity building support. The curriculum is delivered during three retreats by a faculty of leading academics and practitioners.