Social Innovation Award 2015

Expressions of interest have now closed.

This year is the Macquarie Group Foundation’s 30th anniversary

We’re celebrating by offering a $300,000 award for outstanding social innovation.

Macquarie’s Australian Social Innovation Award was established in 2010 to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Macquarie Group Foundation. The Award recognises, promotes and rewards new ideas that work to meet pressing community social needs, alleviate disadvantage and promote social inclusion. It seeks to fund an organisation that has worked collaboratively to cut across organisational or sectoral boundaries, resulting in compelling new social relationships and positive social outcomes.

About the 2015 Award

In 2015, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Macquarie Group Foundation, we know that finding valuable opportunities is not limited to Macquarie Group’s clients, our shareholders and our people. It’s also about how we can support prospects within the community sector, with progress often occurring when innovative ideas are encouraged.  

That’s why, as a special one-off celebration, Macquarie’s 2015 Australian Social Innovation Award is valued at $300,000 in recognition of Macquarie Group Foundation’s 30 years of community support, to be delivered across two years in $150,000 instalments.

Applicants need to demonstrate that their organisation or program has benefited or has the potential to further benefit Australians and addresses an unmet community need. It must have been in existence for at least two years but no more than five years and be unique to other services in Australia. The Foundation recognises that social innovation is often about new combinations or hybrids of existing ideas rather than being wholly new.

The Award will fund further investment in or development of the organisation or program nominated under the Award.

Award objectives:

  • to recognise the organisation’s contribution to the community through an innovative solution that has met an important social need
  • to reward the organisation for the excellence demonstrated through its award-winning initiative
  • to promote the organisation’s activity in the public sphere
  • to inspire organisations within the community sector to strive for excellence through the implementation of social innovation

Application details

Nominations are invited from Australian not-for-profit organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient status which can satisfy the following criteria:

  • demonstrated track record of persistence in developing the innovation (at least two years but no more than five years)
  • demonstrated key deliverables and outcomes
  • demonstrated or strong potential improvement to people or the environment
  • delivered a program / project that is for a program or service within Australia and is unique to other services provided in Australia.

Social enterprises are eligible to apply if they are a registered not-for-profit with Deductible Gift Recipient status and provide both a return on investment and a social good. 

Sporting organisations, schools or religious institutions for the purposes of religious teaching and organisations that have previously won a Macquarie Social Innovation Award are ineligible. Only one application per organisation will be accepted. Note the decision of the judging panel is final and it reserves the right to defer the Award if there are no suitable recipients.

The following process will ensure proper measurement and accountability of the Award winner:

  • in the application, the organisation must provide current baseline outcome measurement figures as well as future measurement targets or milestones
  • after winning the Award, the organisation must document and report on milestones for Year 1 and 2
  • the Foundation will require reporting after Year 1 (via a written report and a meeting) to receive the second tranche of $150,000 funding for Year 2.

The 2015 Social Innovation Award comprises a two-stage application process:

  1. Expressions of interest (EOI) are invited from eligible community organisations that demonstrate alignment with the application criteria. These will be reviewed by senior members of the Macquarie Group Foundation
  2. Successful EOI round applicants will then be invited to submit a full application, with the shortlisted finalists to be reviewed by a judging panel comprising Macquarie Group Foundation Committee executives as well as an independent external representative.

EOI applications should be provided in Word or Acrobat formats only and should be no longer than two A4 pages single-sided. The font must be 12 point Times New Roman, Helvetica or Arial.

Applications should respond to the following questions, using the suggested word limits as a guide:

Question 1

Provide the name of the not-for-profit organisation, ABN number, name of program/service and include an appropriate staff member's name and contact phone and email details This staff member should be available during June and July 2015 for any follow up queries while the review process takes place.

Question 2

Provide a brief description of your organisation (please attach a list of your Board and the most recent audited accounts; these are excluded from the two page limit). [75 words]

Question 3

Describe the program/service to be considered for the Social Innovation Award demonstrating how it was devised and implemented, the previously un-met need, and how it is unique in Australia. [400 words]

Question 4

Describe what the impact of the program/service has already achieved, and outline future targets against which the program/service will be measured in the next two years. [250 words]

Question 5

Provide the total budget for the program/service per year for the next two years and describe how it is currently funded. [50 words]

Question 6

Describe how $300,000 will be used to further develop the program/service. [100 words]

EOI applications should be emailed to by the closing date of 5:00pm Friday 22 May 2015. Hard copy applications and other physical attachments such as disks or DVDs will not be accepted.

Successful EOI applicants will be notified in the week commencing Monday, 1 June 2015 and invited to submit a full application. Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified that week.

The overall winner of the 2015 Social Innovation Award will be announced at a gala event held in Sydney on Thursday, 13 August 2015.

For any queries please contact Lauren O’Shaughnessy on 02 8232 0607 or email

2014 Social Innovation Award Winner: The Fogarty Foundation

The challenge 

Fogarty EDvance set out to scale its School Improvement Program from the 10-15% of West Australian schools in low-socio-economic communities the program was supporting to 50% of schools in disadvantaged communities by 2020 (100 schools in WA). It also wanted to develop a ‘fee for service’ model to ensure a sustainable delivery model and long-term impact. In addition, an alumni program, funded through membership fees, was also in need of development to further build the sustainability of the principals’ network.

The result 

Fogarty EDvance successfully deployed its $100,000 Award to recruit an additional 30 schools to its program, tripling its footprint to reach 48 schools, 60 principals and over 20,000 students in disadvantaged communities in WA. Feedback from school leaders during 2016 was very positive, with 100% of leaders reporting that a) they would recommend the program to other principals; b) their school had benefited from the program; and c) they felt more able to lead improvement, innovation and change in their school as a result of the program. During 2015 and 2016, 18 schools completed the program with every school seeing improvements in student outcomes.

The fee for service model is in place, with adjustments being made to contribution fees as the number of schools increases. An alumni program has also been developed and has enjoyed excellent feedback (with the first event hosted at Macquarie Perth’s offices in 2015). In 2017, EDvance will be developing a model to support schools in the regions whilst further expanding the program in metro areas.



2012 Social Innovation Award Winner: Milk Crate Theatre

The Challenge

Milk Crate Theatre wanted to promote its activity within the public sphere as well as provide further funding to its associate artists (people with professional cultural development or theatrical skills/experience working with marginalised communities) to enable longer rehearsal periods.

The result

Milk Crate Theatre used part of its $100,000 award to fund its associate artists, allowing rehearsals to extend from one to two weeks. This increase meant the program had more opportunity to positively impact ensemble participants’ health, wellbeing and skills development.

As one of the ensemble artists said: “The shows have allowed me to focus on more positive things. I have a lot of quite heavy life things going on so it is a welcome distraction.”

The award money was also used to promote the shows, resulting in increased participant and audience numbers. This not only provided greater flexibility and accessibility to the program but also helped increase audience engagement.

The Macquarie Group Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group, the Macquarie Group Foundation supports a range of community programs around the world.

Find out more

About Macquarie

At Macquarie we uncover the opportunities others may miss.

That’s because we know success comes from encouraging our people to think differently. Our culture promotes innovation and entrepreneurial drive within a strong risk management framework.