Monday, 21 Mar 2011

For immediate release Monday 21 March 2011

Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC will launch a national first investigation of the links between philanthropy and education in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The three-year Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) project will explore whether the full potential of funding and partnerships available to Australian schools is being achieved.

Project Leader, Dr Michelle Anderson of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) said, while there is a long history of philanthropy in Australian education, some mystery surrounds how schools access and use philanthropic grants.

“LLEAP aims to find ways to improve the quality of grant seeking and grant making in Australia and identify better ways for the philanthropy and education sectors to connect and collaborate,” she said. 

Dr Anderson pointed to a 2010 Philanthropy Australia members’ survey that found education is a specific funding priority for 64 per cent of the survey’s respondents. According to Philanthropy Australia there are approximately 5000 trusts and foundations in Australia. In the last year the combined total of their grants and donations was approximately $1 billion, a significant proportion of which was directed to education.

Speaking ahead of the launch Professor Blainey said, “In philanthropy and education, as in everything, there are better ways of doing things.  We should be hunting for them.  We need to find ways to do the really important activities more effectively: education is one.  By collaborating we may find a smarter path.”  

In its first year the LLEAP project will collect information through interviews with leaders in both education and philanthropic sectors, followed by an online survey and focus groups, to help form a clearer picture of the impact of philanthropy on education projects.

“Education is a major priority for Australian philanthropy with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding being directed to the sector every year,” said The Ian Potter Foundation CEO Janet Hirst.

“It is vital that we understand the true impact of this investment.  This research will give both educators and philanthropists the knowledge to ensure the funds are making the greatest difference possible.”

Mrs Hirst urged her fellow CEOs from the philanthropic organisations and school principals to get involved in the project by taking part in the forthcoming interviews, surveys, focus groups and case studies.

The LLEAP project is an initiative of the Tender Bridge in partnership with The Ian Potter Foundation. The Tender Bridge is a service of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) which seeks to direct funds into schools to support educational projects.

The official launch of LLEAP takes place at Melbourne Town Hall at 11.00am on Wednesday 23 March. For further information about LLEAP visit



Media enquiries:


Louise Reynolds, Corporate Communications Manager, Australian Council for Educational Research

Tel: 03 9277 5582 or 0419 340 058

Avalee Weir, Communications Manager, The Ian Potter Foundation, Tel: 03 9650 3188 or 0416 130033