Holding up half the sky

Dan Phillips (fourth from right) with family and Half the Sky staff at a fundraiser hosted at Macquarie’s global headquarters.

23 March 2018

When Dan Phillips and his colleagues saw how Half The Sky cared for abandoned and disadvantaged children in China, they had to help.

Dan had relocated with his family from Sydney to Shanghai in 2006 and observed first-hand the devastating effects institutionalisation have on children’s health. He came upon Half The Sky, a charity established 20 years ago by an American couple, which took a new approach to the care of orphans and children who were neglected, providing the nurturing that young brains need to develop properly.

Together with his Macquarie Capital colleagues, both while in China and upon his return to Sydney in 2010, Dan has organised and participated in several fundraisers to benefit Half The Sky Australia. The charity works with Chinese partners and authorities to support development and aid projects through the global OneSky network.

“When the Foundation formed, there were many abandoned baby girls in Chinese orphanages, so the name comes from the Chinese adage that ‘women hold up half the sky,” says Dan. 

“Now the children in need are boys and girls, some with special needs, so the global network has evolved to become OneSky for all children. It is a reminder that it is up to all of us to do our bit to help those in need.”

The fundraisers have included two gala dinners hosted at Macquarie’s offices in Sydney in recent years, where the Macquarie Capital team utilised all their resources to raise as much money as possible, including connecting the charity to key sponsors, managing event logistics and financial support.

In 2017, the 150-seat dinner raised more than $435,000, just under 10 per cent of which included match funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation.

“It was great to see everything come together on the night,” says Rachel Collins, one of the Macquarie organisers. “We were thrilled with the amount of money raised as we know it will see Half the Sky projects continue to transform young lives and enrich local caregiver communities in China.”

Lauren O’Hara, Half the Sky Australia’s Chief Development Officer says Macquarie’s ongoing support helps the organisation ensure that vulnerable and at-risk children have a quality early education with carers who guide their development. 

“Our work with such resilient children and their communities would simply be impossible without Macquarie’s energetic commitment to our cause.”