Esteemed philanthropist, business leader, advocate and commentator Carol Schwartz AO is this year’s recipient the Leading Philanthropist award presented at the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards.
The Leading Philanthropist award pays tribute to an individual philanthropist whose work has been visionary, high impact and transformative. As the 2020 Leading Philanthropist, Schwartz embodies Philanthropy Australia’s vision of a “more giving Australia.”
Philanthropy Australia’s CEO, Sarah Davies, lauded Carol’s outstanding contribution to philanthropy, and her insights into giving, community, leadership and gender.
“Carol Schwartz has spent her life focused on strengthening gender equality, creativity, sustainability and social justice within Australian society. Carol is courageous and entrepreneurial in her philanthropic approach and uses a range of levers for impact – grant-making, partnerships, investments, networks, new initiatives and organisations, and skills and expertise via boards and mentoring,” Davies said.
Among Schwartz’s most important work is catalysing successful new organisations which support both giving and education for transformative change. Schwartz is one of the key figures behind organisations such as Our Community, Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, Scale Investors, Property Male Champions of Change, and Creative Partnerships Australia.
“She fundamentally believes in the value of more female leaders, particularly in business, politics and the media. This is about optimising outcomes for Australia by ensuring that men and women together share power, leadership and decision making. Carol role models this in her professional life, and as Chair of the Trawalla Foundation and Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, she has introduced a range of practical interventions, including Pathways to Politics Program for Women, the Panel Pledge, and the Women for Media database,” Davies added.
In accepting the Leading Philanthropist Award, Carol said she has always seen philanthropy as a way to invest in ideas and leaders, and to catalyse and collaborate to create positive impact.
“To me, philanthropy is a way to invest in ideas and leaders, and to catalyse and collaborate to create positive impact. My husband Alan and I established the Trawalla Foundation in 2004 and since then we have gone on a journey from more informal and emotionally driven giving to something that is strategic and long term,” Carol said. “Today we aim to use all of the levers we have access to including corpus investments, skills, networks, mentoring and advocacy, so that we can deepen the impact of the individuals and organisations that we work with.”
The role of philanthropy in the efforts against COVID-19
Carol Schwartz also addressed the role of philanthropy in Australia’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“2020 has been a year like no other. We are living in very unusual and difficult times. It has been incredibly heartening to see the Australian philanthropic community rise to the challenge and adapt and grow their support for the social sector. The sector will have a significant role to play in the coming months and years, and I look forward to being part of bold and collaborative philanthropy with you all,” she said.
In 2020, Australian philanthropy has shown a generous and flexible response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a recent survey of members showing 81% of respondents have changed or adapted their funding and 63% have established new COVID-19 granting programs.
Philanthropy will continue to play a critical role in the ongoing response to the pandemic and its ripple effects throughout the community. By recognising and celebrating extraordinary achievements in philanthropy during these tough times we aim to drive hope and optimism for recovery, and inspire strategic, transformative, and generous giving.
The Australian Philanthropy Awards recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements in contemporary philanthropy. They also celebrate partnerships between philanthropy and for-purpose organisations and honour those who are working to create lasting, positive change.
Awards were presented across nine categories: Leading Philanthropist, Better Philanthropy, Bolder Philanthropy, Best Grant Program, Community Philanthropy, Environmental Philanthropy, Indigenous Philanthropy, Gender-wise Philanthropy and International Philanthropy.