Articles on Philanthropy

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Bill Gates embraces Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg during an announcement of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to ‘cure, prevent or manage all disease’ by the end of the century. Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Philanthropy’s tech billionaire reboot could be good for policymaking

The priorities of science are being influenced less by government policy and academia, and more by the priorities of the philanthropic giver.
Anne and Gordon Samstag dancing at home, Naples, Florida, USA, c1986. Photograph courtesy of Mrs Florence (Robbie) McBryde.

The Samstags: the untold story of a couple that changed Australian art

Many leading Australian artists have benefitted from a Samstag scholarship. But who were the Samstags and what motivated them to create this legacy?
Volunteers clean up after Hurricane Sandy. jim.henderson

Why money is an impoverished metric of generosity

There are few things Americans like more than lists and money, but ranking philanthropists on the monetary size of their giving distorts our understanding of generosity, argues one ethicist.
Bangarra Dance Theatre has been very successful at building relationships with donors. AAP/Bangarra Dance Theatre, Edward Mulvihill

Where to next for arts philanthropy in Australia?

From crowdfunding to giving circles, the arts philanthropy landscape is rapidly changing. But could governments be doing more to emulate overseas policies that foster a culture of giving?
Australia is becoming more unequal. And Australia’s wealthiest people don’t seem to want to do anything about it. AAP/Joel Carrett

Australia’s rich give little – and a culture of secrecy surrounds their philanthropy

There is a view that philanthropy from super-wealthy individuals, rather than government policy, will be the force that changes the world for the better. But this seems unlikely in Australia.
Through the Gordon Darling Foundation, the Darlings undertook a vast range of activities in keeping with their vision for the arts in Australia. Gordon Darling handing over a portrait of Sir Donald Bradman AC to Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, in 2008. AAP Image/National Portrait Gallery

The late Gordon Darling and the gentle art of philanthropy

The death of Gordon Darling last month reminded many in the arts community of the key role that he played in fostering the visual arts in Australia. But should his contribution have been more widely noted?
Is Bill Gates’ desire to help tackle the world’s problems compatible with his foundation’s huge fossil fuel investments? EPA/Cole Burston

Can the Gates Foundation be convinced to dump fossil fuels?

The Gates Foundation is being urged to dump its sizeable fossil fuel assets. Bill Gates cares deeply about world health and development, both of which are affected by climate, but will his charity divest?
Debate over WA Opera’s production of Carmen reveals some faultlines in corporate arts sponsorship. Photo: Opera Australia dress rehearsal. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Carmen sense: when corporate sponsors go to the opera

One of the loopier actions of the eccentric Roman Emperor Elagabalus (inventor of the whoopee cushion) was an edict calling for all sex scenes in imperial theatres to be performed live and not simulated…
The Sydney Biennale boycott campaign has raised important – and difficult – questions about how we fund the arts. Wexner Centre

Is there any clean money left to fund the arts?

In the wake of the Sydney Biennale’s split from its major sponsor Transfield in recent days, certain uncomfortable questions are again floating very close to the surface. In the late 1990s, I had a successful…

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