Macquarie rewards social innovation

Sydney, 19 November 2014

CEOs of both a New York and a London-based charity will visit Australia next year to learn more about social innovation, as part of the Macquarie Group Foundation’s support for individual social innovators researching best practice work in their spheres around the world. 

The philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group today announced the global winners of its David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship (worth up to $A20,000), established in memory of the Macquarie Group Foundation founding Chairman, David Clarke AO, as well as Macquarie’s Australian Social Innovation Award (worth $A100,000). 

The 2014 New York David Clarke Fellowship went to Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director, The HOPE Program, who will travel to Australia and the UK to research innovative social enterprises focused on environmental workforce development. In her submission, she proposed that “green” training and social enterprise programs have the potential to simultaneously address employment shortages, environmental crises, and non-profit funding gaps. (The HOPE Program empowers New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve self-sufficiency through employment and advancement.) 

The 2014 UK David Clarke Fellowship went to Anita Grover, CEO, Auditory Verbal, who will travel to Australia and New Zealand to meet world leading organisations developing the new and innovative ‘Auditory Therapy Programme’. She will leverage this knowledge to scale up Auditory Verbal in the UK. (Auditory Verbal is a small organisation transforming the lives of deaf children in the UK.)

The 2014 Australian David Clarke Fellowship was presented jointly to SYC Chief Executive Officer Paul Edginton and Beacon Foundation Chief Executive Officer Scott Harris. (SYC is a non-profit centred on employment, training and youth services, while Beacon Foundation works with young people to address youth unemployment, youth disengagement and skills shortages). 

Mr Edginton proposed researching comparative responses to youth unemployment in Germany, Switzerland and the UK to improve SYC’s workintegrated education support programs. 

Mr Harris proposed researching comparative experiences in secondary school career education programs in Germany, Denmark and the UK to inform Beacon Foundation’s programmatic approach. 

The two CEOs will each receive a grant of up to $20,000 to visit those European countries which have implemented successful youth employment models. 

“The judges’ rationale for awarding joint winners in Australia was due to the changes currently being experienced within this country’s labour market,” said Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation Lisa George. 

“The panel felt it was an opportunity to encourage collaboration between both Beacon and SYC to address the important issue of youth unemployment and amplify their collective impact at this critical juncture.” 

The 2014 Hong Kong David Clarke Fellowship went to Alia Eyres, CEO, Mother’s Choice, who will visit research institutions, child care agencies and child development experts in the US to learn how to further safeguard the best interests of children in care, to develop milestones to facilitate quicker resolutions with families and find new solutions for the growing problem of children in the system. (Mother's Choice cares for children without families and girls facing crisis pregnancies). 

Shemara Wikramanayake, Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation Committee, said she was particularly pleased that the interest shown by overseas winners in visiting Australia proved that innovation is alive and well in this country. 

“With both Jennifer in New York and Anita from the UK travelling here, it demonstrates that Australia has much to offer by way of best practice models in our community sector,” she said. 

“In this way, Macquarie is able to provide a platform for innovative social organisations to share their learnings around the world, including showcasing some of the great work being done in this country as well.” 

Macquarie Social Innovation Award

The winner of the 2014 Macquarie Social Innovation Award was also announced today, with the Fogarty Foundation, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that supports and provides educational opportunities for Western Australians, taking out the award. The Award recognises and rewards an Australian organisation or program that addresses an unmet community need in Australia. The Fogarty Foundation won for its Fogarty EDvance initiative, which aims to improve the educational outcomes of students in low socio-economic status communities by providing principals working in low-SES schools with leadership and management skills. In this way it can help develop targeted school improvements. 

The Fogarty Foundation will receive $100,000 over the next two years to scale up the EDvance program to attain a critical mass, and to develop its sustainable funding model. Shemara Wikramanayake said the high calibre of submissions received this year meant it was a difficult judging process. 

“On behalf of the Foundation Committee and our judges, I would like to commend all the organisations and individuals who participated. 

“I congratulate all our outstanding finalists for their commitment to continuing to develop innovative programs that address social needs and long-term community problems.” 

The Social Innovation Award finalists were (in alphabetical order): 

  • The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, which tackles Australia’s toughest social challenges by developing new ways of doing things. 
  • The Centre for Eye Research Australia, which is Australia’s leading ocular research centre. 
  • Settlement Services International, which provides settlement and support services to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers across NSW to help them integrate into the community. 
  • The Smith Family, which invests in children’s education to help break the cycle of disadvantage in families from low-SES background. 

The judging panel for the 2014 Social Innovation Award and David Clarke Fellowship comprised: 

  • David Bennett – Committee Member, Macquarie Group Foundation; Chair, Social Enterprise Finance Australia 
  • Tanya Branwhite – Committee Member, Macquarie Group Foundation, Board Director, Anika Foundation 
  • Michael Traill – Executive Director, Social Ventures Australia; Chair, Goodstart Early Learning 
  • Sheryl Weil – Former Committee Member, Macquarie Group Foundation; Board Director, Lifeline Australia and Schizophrenia Research Institute 
  • Shemara Wikramanayake – Chair, Macquarie Group Foundation 

About the Social Innovation Awards 

The David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship, established in 2012 in memory of the Macquarie Group Foundation founding Chairman, David Clarke AO, is presented biennially to a CEO of a not-for-profit organisation to visit and research Macquarie Group Foundation 4 best practice innovation around the world. The Fellowship was this year opened up to entrants outside of Australia for the first time, in Hong Kong, New York City and the US. 

Macquarie’s Social Innovation Award is presented biennially to an Australian not-for-profit organisation to recognise, promote and reward new ideas that work to meet pressing community needs, alleviate disadvantage and promote social inclusion. 

About the Macquarie Group Foundation

The Macquarie Group Foundation is one of Australia’s largest corporate benefactors. In the year to 31 March 2014, the Macquarie Group Foundation, together with Macquarie Group staff efforts, contributed $A24.7 million and thousands of volunteering and pro bono days to over 1,500 community organisations around the world. Since the Foundation was established in 1985, it and Macquarie staff have contributed more than $A215 million globally.