Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Philanthropy – an opportunity to analyse motivations for and grow philanthropic giving in Australia, in line with the Federal Government’s goal to double philanthropic giving by 2030.

Philanthropic giving is essential to our work towards a just society. It drives a range of innovative programs and initiatives deemed critical but risky, including our child sexual abuse prevention program Stop it Now! Australia; our pioneering place-based disadvantage research series Dropping off the Edge; our specialist therapeutic school for teenaged boys involved with the criminal justice system; and our long-running music and art program, Artful Dodgers Studios. 

Our submission affirmed the critical role of philanthropy in enabling such work, and more broadly in supporting a robust civil society: philanthropic support is innovative, nimble, localised, and often has a greater appetite for risk than other funding sources. It fills gaps other funders can’t or won’t, and helps us deliver work that makes a meaningful difference. 

Yet government support remains crucial. Our submission reiterated a targeted doubling of philanthropic funding must not come at the cost of decreased government support – each plays an important role that must be preserved and matched. 

“Philanthropy should be a catalyst for change, helping to drive innovation and creativity in tackling social issues. It should supplement, but not replace, government funding”. 

Our submission called for greater accountability and transparency to increase trust in philanthropy, and for government to dismantle the barriers and inconsistencies that can dissuade philanthropic giving.  

Philanthropy’s ability to respond quickly and fill gaps, alongside the sustained support of government funding, enables more effective, consistent and high-impact work from our sector, and strengthens civil society overall. A robust society depends on government, philanthropists and the community sector working together to achieve positive change.