23/05/2016 - 13:58

Family foundations back niche publisher

23/05/2016 - 13:58


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SPECIAL REPORT: A specialist indigenous publisher in Broome has achieved its most successful fundraising campaign, after Creative Partnerships Australia helped it secure the backing of two philanthropic family foundations in Perth.

Family foundations back niche publisher
FUNDING: Anna Moulton with Brenton McKenna, a graphic novelist who has obtained a study scholarship from Magabala. Photo: Magabala

A specialist indigenous publisher in Broome has achieved its most successful fundraising campaign, after Creative Partnerships Australia helped it secure the backing of two philanthropic family foundations in Perth.

Magabala Books, which has been operating since the mid-1980s, has raised $85,000 through its latest campaign.

Chief executive Anna Moulton rates this a big success, as it will allow Magabala to continue three programs that sit outside its commercial publishing operations.

Like many successful philanthropic campaigns, it was built on a lot of preliminary work.

Historically, Magabala has received funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts.

It has also obtained funding from Lotterywest for building works.

Magabala launched its inaugural philanthropic program in 2012, to establish a scholarship fund to support the professional development of indigenous writers and illustrators around Australia.

It had support from the Australia Council and mentoring from Creative Partnerships Australia.

It also engaged a part-time philanthropy manager, Sharon Griffiths, and maintained the position even after this component of Australia Council funding ran out.

“As a non-profit we really had to have faith that the long-term investment and focus on philanthropy would pay off,” Ms Moulton said.

She said building relationships and developing a network of champions for Magabala Books was just as important as the money raised.

Its mission is to protect the rights of indigenous storytellers and ensure their stories are recorded and shared with future generations.

In support of that goal, it established a literary fund so that it could publish manuscripts that are of great historical or cultural significance but do not have mainstream commercial appeal.

Magabala established a third fund to supply books to children in playgroups, foster homes and prisons.

Ms Moulton said the long-term investment in philanthropy had paid off this year with the success of the latest campaign.

The philanthropic campaign was followed by more good news for Magabala, which was one of 11 WA arts organisations to secure four-year funding deals from the Australia Council.

Ms Moulton praised for the role of Creative Partnerships Australia and its state manager, James Boyd, who introduced Magabala to potential backers.

“Having someone who can make those introductions has proved vital for us,” Ms Moulton told Business News.

“Of course, it’s then up to us to develop those relationships and prove the value and outcomes of our programs.”

Magabala’s major backers were the Spinifex Trust, which invested $10,000, and the Jon and Caro Stewart Family Foundation, established by the family of Australis Oil & Gas chairman Jon Stewart.

The Broome Rotary Club was also a supporter.

Matched giving

Spinifex Foundation chair Sophie Chamberlain said a big factor for her family was the backing of another private philanthropic trust, along with Creative Partnership’s Plus 1 matched giving program.

“A large part of the attraction for our board was definitely the co-funding of the Stewart family foundation and the matched funding from Creative Partnerships,” she said.

Over the past two financial years, 53 WA organisations have applied to participate in the Plus 1 program, with 12 having been accepted.

They have received payments totalling $384,600, to match their own fundraising achievements.

Creative Partnerships also runs the MATCH program, which matches the proceeds of crowdfunding programs.

In all, 24 WA organisations have applied to participate, and nine have been accepted.

WA participants in these schemes have included the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Film & Television Institute WA.

Ms Chamberlain said the Spinifex Trust had a deliberately loose mandate, allowing her family members to support a wide range of organisations.

Beneficiaries have included the Perth International Arts Festival, Sculpture by the Sea, Yirra Yarkin Aboriginal Theatre, Sensorium Theatre, and the schools her children attend.

That’s a change from the trust’s early focus on environmental causes, which reflected the main interest of her father, the late Martin Copley, who established the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

Giving circles

Ms Chamberlain’s philanthropic activities are not limited to the Spinifex Trust.

She and her husband, Paul, who chairs community arts group FORM, are also co-founders of the Impact100 WA collaborative giving club.

Based on the simple concept of 100 people giving $1,000 annually, the members of Impact100 WA have granted $595,000 to a range of causes since 2012.

Ms Chamberlain said that, as well as the direct financial boost, the grants helped small organisations raise their profile among philanthropists.

“It’s a big deal for the organisations, but it’s also good for the people who contribute,” she said.

Ms Chamberlain said the collective giving model meant people with limited capacity could have a big impact by pooling their giving.

Several other giving circles have followed Impact100 WA, including YoungImpact100 for children of donors aged six to 18, 100Women, and Impact100 Fremantle, which is backed by the Fremantle Foundation.

Meridian Global Foundation, established in Perth in 2005, and The Funding Network are variations on the giving circle concept.


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