Last week, fellow Advisory Committee member Kristy Rodwell and myself were fortunate to attend the National Community Foundations Forum hosted by Australian Community Philanthropy and the Fremantle Foundation.
The forum was three days focused on the work of Public Ancillary Funds and Community Foundations. For those who are curious, “Ancillary funds are special funds that provide a link between people who want to give (‘donors’) and organisations that can receive tax deductible donations as deductible gift recipients (DGRs).” This is the structure 100 Women uses to raise funds and distribute grants.
Firstly, congratulations to the Fremantle Foundation for bringing the forum and many of the delegates here to Perth, to showcase Fremantle and the work being undertaken here in Western Australia.
We were able to access information on governance, technology and assessment as well as learnings from other Funds who operate in various locations across Australia have been well established for 15 years or more.
While Kristy and I attended as delegates, Alicia Curtis (Co-founder and Chair) also attended as a guest panelist to speak about the achievements and challenges of establishing and continuing 100 Women as a giving circle.
It was clear from this session and questions we received throughout the forum that there is still a ‘gap in the information market’ around giving circles and their impacts. There is a real hunger for models that bring together ‘everyday’ people who can pool their funds and have direct influence over how those funds are spent.
Some of the key forum takeaways for me personally include:
100 Women is working to best practice standards. After sitting through the sessions on legalities and governance for Public Ancillary Funds it was reassuring to know that we had not just ticked all the necessary boxes, but had the expertise within the Advisory Committee to really understand them and put them into practice (I’m looking at you Kristy, our Grants Sub Committee Chair Extraordinaire!)
The greatest challenge to Public Ancillary Funds is the constraint around who can receive funds. It didn’t matter the size of the fund – there were many in the room that felt like our ability to make a difference is hampered by the fact that we can only grant funds to organisations that have DGR status.
It was widely understood that this allows us to give our donors tax deductible receipts, and it provides certain safeguards as these organisations have to adhere to strict administration standards. But it does make it difficult to fund smaller, grassroots projects – no matter how effective they are in achieving change for the community.
3. There are so many wonderful people dedicating their time, talent and personal funds to improving the world. Bringing them together to learn and collaborate can only be a good thing! The more we provide these opportunities, the more innovative, effective projects will be brought to fruition – and 100 Women looks forward to making collaboration a top priority!
It was a great opportunity to network and 100 Women looks forward to continuing to learn and lead in the giving circle and philanthropy sector.