Carol Schwartz AO receives Australia’s highest philanthropic honour

Source: Women’s Leadership Institute Australia

We are pleased to share the news that today Carol Schwartz AO, Chair Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, was recognised with the nation’s highest philanthropic honour, the ‘Leading Philanthropist’ presented at the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards.

To learn more about Carol’s vision and impact, watch her ‘Leading Interviews’ in conversation with Philanthropy Australia’s co-chair Amanda Miller here.

In accepting the Leading Philanthropist Award, Carol said she has always seen philanthropy as a way to invest in ideas and leaders; to catalyse and collaborate to create a positive impact.

“I am really delighted and honoured to accept the Leading Philanthropist Award and to join a cohort of other wonderful Australian philanthropists. I’d like to congratulate everyone nominated and awarded today. Thank you to the judges; Sarah Davies and her team at Philanthropy Australia,” Carol said.

“To me, philanthropy is a way to invest in ideas and leaders; to catalyse and collaborate to create a positive impact. My husband Alan and I established the Trawalla Foundation in 2004 and since then we have gone on a journey from more informal and emotionally driven giving, to something that is strategic and long term. Today we aim to use all of the levers we have access to including corpus investments, skills, networks, mentoring and advocacy so that we can deepen the impact of the individuals and organisations that we work with.

“As you may know, I’m passionate about the value of more female leaders, particularly in business, politics and the media. Some of the Foundation’s best philanthropy has been in this space, such as founding the highly successful Pathways to Politics Program for Women with the University of Melbourne and then expanding into Queensland with QUT. I also established the not-for-profit Women’s Leadership Institute Australia to offer examples of practical interventions, such as the Women for Media database and the Panel Pledge to support a more equitable Australia.

“2020 has been a year like no other. We are living in very unusual and difficult times. It has been incredibly heartening to see the Australian philanthropic community rise to the challenge and adapt and grow their support for the social sector. The sector will have a significant role to play in the coming months and years, and I look forward to being part of bold and collaborative philanthropy with you all.”

Philanthropy Australia CEO, Sarah Davies, recognised Carol’s outstanding contribution to philanthropy, and her insights into giving, community, leadership and gender.

“Carol has made an incredible contribution and demonstrates the positive community change that can be achieved through strategic, innovative and forward-thinking philanthropy. She has spent her life focused on strengthening gender equality, creativity, sustainability and social justice within Australian society. Carol is courageous and entrepreneurial in her philanthropic approach and uses a range of levers for impact – grantmaking, partnerships, investments, networks, new initiatives and organisations, and skills and expertise via boards and mentoring.

“In 2020, Australian philanthropy has shown a generous and flexible response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a recent survey of members showing 81% of respondents have changed or adapted their funding and 63% have established new COVID-19 granting programs. Philanthropy will continue to play a critical role in the ongoing response to the pandemic and its ripple effects throughout the community.”

The Australian Philanthropy Awards recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements in contemporary philanthropy. They also celebrate partnerships between philanthropy and for-purpose organisations and honour those who are working to create lasting, positive change. The full list of recipients and more details on their projects is available on the Philanthropy Australia website.

For more on Carol’s approach to philanthropy click to view a new Leading Interviews conversation featuring Amanda Miller Co-Chair Philanthropy Australia. Carol and Amanda discuss what seeds philanthropy and how it can work to drive hope and optimism, and inspire strategic, transformative change in our communities.

Kind regards
Women’s Leadership Institute Australia

Share with others


Remaking the norm: Six actions to achieve gender equity in Australia

Remaking the norm research report cover page
Today Australians Investing In Women in collaboration with Deloitte Access Economics and Minderoo Foundation released the second iteration of the  Breaking the Norm report – Remaking the Norm – revealing...

May Newsletter

Our May newsletter is now live, please click to read our latest news updates including: Launch of an important new Gender-wise resource, Equitable Foundations: A Framework for Philanthropic Partnerships and the...

Equitable Foundations

Australians Investing In Women (AIIW) and the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Social Equity Institute (MSEI) have launched a new resource to increase the impact of philanthropic and social investments. Equitable...

Eve Mahlab AO Gender-wise Philanthropy Award Recipient 2024

We were delighted to be among the philanthropic community at the Australian Philanthropy Awards at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Tuesday 16 April celebrating outstanding achievements in...