Spring newsletter September 2016

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Welcome from
Antonia Ruffell, CEO

Spring is always a busy time at APS as the team meet with our clients and hear about their giving plans. If last year is anything to go by, it should be another exciting year ahead. In FY2016, our clients collectively distributed well over $30 million in grants to the community – an incredible achievement. Grants were made to charitable organisations from small to large and across the whole spectrum of sectors.

While some individual gifts were in the millions, the most commonly made grant was $5,000. It is inspiring to see the difference that a grant at this level can make, on both the recipient and the donor. In this edition you’ll find the heart-warming story of the Martinus family and you can read how the philosophy of giving pervades every part of this family’s life, well beyond the dollars alone.

David Ward has been busy writing a new version of the PAF Trustee Handbook, a link to which is provided in his technical update. You can read a review of APS Director Michael Traill’s memoir, Jumping Ship, a must-read if you’re looking for some inspiration and insight into how Michael made the move from investment banking to the not-for-profit-sector.


Client Focus: The Better Future Foundation

Left to right: Aisha, Mali, Mangala and Fiona

When Mangala and Fiona Martinus first established their private ancillary fund (PAF) in 2010, they hoped that their giving would have an impact on the lives of families living in poverty. But they never imagined that their philanthropic journey would also have a life-changing impact on their own family, and lead them to welcome two foster children into their home.

As experienced travellers, Mangala and Fiona had seen first hand the poverty in both Asia and Africa. These experiences planted the seeds for the couple’s decision to establish their PAF, the Better Future Foundation.

“We both appreciate how lucky we are,” explains Mangala. “It comes down to our values, I guess. We’re both of the view that you only need so much stuff.” Fiona adds, “we could certainly spend it all, no problem, but we have enough, and there’s so much need to share.”

For Mangala, establishing the PAF was also about structuring their giving and the long-term potential. “It was about how could we give more than we’d previously thought possible, and doing it in a way that allows us to build a pool of funds to give more later when we have the time to get more involved. It forces you to think long-term: How much money do we want in the PAF by year X, and what lifestyle and work changes do we make to get there?”

The Martinus family donates excess money into the PAF when they can, and they enjoy the discipline of having to distribute 5% by June 30 each year. Fiona explains: “It’s good you have to give a certain amount. It does make you aware throughout the year, and APS help to do that and to think about other opportunities available. It’s great having introductions into the smaller organisations that are closer to our value systems. It’s very personalised and enables you to make much more informed decisions.”

The Better Future Foundation’s grantmaking priorities reflect the family’s values. “The focus of our giving is about trying to break the poverty cycle, in communities both here and overseas,” explains Mangala. “We’ve given to Opportunity International from the start as we like the micro-finance concept, and also to Caritas and Adara Development. Education is an important issue, and we fund the Cararoo Foundation, via Rotary, to support children in a squatter village in the Philippines. Getting the kids to school is a priority, but also providing services like homework support and lunches.”

It’s important for the couple that the money goes as far as it can, and they have supported a number of small grassroots organisations through The Funding Network (TFN), at their live crowdfunding events. Mangala has also started to take their daughters to TFN events. “At a TFN event in March, I said to Mali ‘you have $2,000 to spend, you can decide who we give it to.’ It’s great to hear people speak passionately about their causes, I wanted her to experience that. Mali got quite emotional, and in the end she gave an equal amount to all four causes.  At TFN’s September event, Aisha surprised me with the thought she put into her grant decisions – what resonated with her was also different from my own perspective.”

The couple’s approach to philanthropy is about giving both money and time, and in recent years the family have extended that commitment and opened their doors to two foster children. “Mangala and I talked about having more kids but I always thought there are enough children in the world who need a home. So we started looking at fostering a child instead. There are over 43,000 children in out-of-home care in Australia so there’s a huge need to find long-term homes for these kids.”

The couple’s three birth children, now in their teens, were integral to the decision to extend their family. “We talked about it with them for two years before making the decision. We wanted them to be old enough to understand the challenges involved.”

Lily joined the family three years ago, and then Alfred arrived as an emergency placement at Christmas 2014. When the chance came to make Alfred’s placement permanent, all the children again had their say. “We asked them first, and the kids didn’t blink about the decision,” comments Fiona. Mangala adds, “one of our daughters, Kira, suggested moving her bedroom to the attic so we could give Alfred a room.”

Mangala and Fiona look forward to their children becoming even more involved with their philanthropy in years to come. And their advice for others thinking about establishing a PAF or sub-fund? Mangala reflects, “Don’t wait until you have enough money. You’ve just got to start, put a stake in the ground and just do it. There’s never going to be a perfect time. Like fostering, it’s even more fulfilling than you thought at the beginning.”



Technical Update with David Ward 

The good news for all readers is there is only really one thing to write about this time and that is unambiguously a positive one.  The Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (with a bit of external input) have combined the two annual returns Ancillary Funds have been required to complete.  Furthermore, the combined return can be completed online.  This is part of the red tape reduction agenda and follows directly on from the Government’s welcomed decision to scrap its plans to abolish the ACNC.  One less piece of paper for PAF Directors to approve (APS will of course do the lodgement for our clients).

For those wanting to understand a little more about the detail of PAF activity and compliance, the Second Edition of the PAF Handbook written by myself and published by Philanthropy Australia is now available. This covers the recent changes to the PAF Guidelines as well as reference to the ACNC governance and reporting requirements.



Traill blazing: a review of Jumping Ship with Fiona Higgins

In 2002, observing Michael Traill’s eyebrow-raising exit from his highly successful Macquarie Bank private equity career to the role of founding CEO at Social Ventures Australia (SVA), social commentator Eva Cox reflected:

He is no doubt a well-intentioned investment banker… but do we really think someone without any sector knowledge doing a 12-month stint in the non-profit sector can make much of a difference?

His hot-off-the-press memoir, Jumping Ship, documents just how much of a difference Michael Traill has made in the intervening 15 years - with one of his many achievements at the helm of SVA being the establishment of the Chris Cuffe-led Australian Philanthropic Services.  Michael also issues a challenging call to arms for the Australian non-profit sector, encouraging us to embrace new capital markets to address entrenched social disadvantage.

Michael’s memoir is a highly engaging and accessible read. Early chapters bear witness to the formative power of family and the gift of a nurtured childhood, which Michael describes as ‘the greatest free kick of growing up with loving, community-engaged parents and the DNA that goes with that.’ Michael’s reflections on his youth, spent in the industrial town of Morwell in country Victoria, are evocative. The experience sensitised his awareness of disadvantage and deprivation, perhaps laying down a pathway to his later midlife career detour.

At chapter 9 – Evan’s Big Idea – the memoir morphs into a page-turning corporate thriller, describing in compelling detail SVA's plan to rescue the collapsed ABC Childcare group and convert it into the Goodstart childcare consortium. Michael’s insights into the deal-making process, in which he spearheaded the $100 million takeover bid backed by the Benevolent Society, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Mission Australia, offer a unique view of what it takes to genuinely innovate in social investment.

We all know how the bid ended: with one of the best for-purpose phoenix acts that Australia – or indeed, the world – has ever seen. Out of the ashes of the ABC Childcare group, Goodstart Early Learning was born to become one of the largest social enterprise organisations in the world.

But the story by no means concludes neatly there. In the memoir’s closing pages, Michael’s incisive questions remain:

  • How do we build smart and sustainable ways of accessing capital and funding for the right programs?
  • How do we ensure they have the right talent to build social purpose organisations and change programs that are genuinely making a difference to close that opportunity gap?
  • In short, how do we create an efficient capital market for social purpose outcomes?

The reader intuits, perhaps, that Michael Traill isn’t done with challenging the status quo for greater good. Jumping Ship is a must-read for anyone involved in the for-purpose sector.

Jumping Ship by Michael Traill is published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45. Available from September 1. Michael Traill is a director of Australian Philanthropic Services. See also jumpingship.com.au 


Upcoming events


Sydney Wednesday 9 November: The Funding Network is presenting a special 'Diversity And Social Inclusion' event featuring grassroots charities that deliver programs addressing social inclusion and diversity in the workplace, specifically for the following groups: people living with a disability, Indigenous groups, the LGBTI community and refugees. 

Melbourne Thursday 17 November: The Funding Network's next event in Melbourne will highlight social change programs addressing the needs of people affected by family and domestic violence. 


Making it Happen - Deals. Deep dives. Dynamics.

26 - 28 October 2016
Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Pyrmont, Sydney

Leading investment advisors will descend upon Doltone House for the  Impact Investment Summit - Asia Pacific.  After much acclaim from last year’s inaugural event, the Summit line-up of international keynote speakers will be thought provoking and action focused.

This year will focus on Deals, Deep Dives and Dynamics.  Bringing together world leaders in impact investing, the conference will feature sessions across all aspects of impact investing.

We are pleased to be able to offer our subscribers a 5% discount for this year’s Summit.