On Thursday 15 June 2023, we hosted the Inaugural Not-For-Profit Leadership Awards at a Celebration Event in Sydney.

It was a wonderful evening to bring together passionate leaders and advocates of capability building in the sector and celebrate their outstanding work.

Louisa Graham, CEO of the Australian Scholarships Foundation kicked off formalities for the evening welcoming all the impressive award finalists and their supporters who joined to celebrate outstanding not-for-profit leaders and best practices.

Louisa Graham and Melinda Muth

Melinda Muth, Chair of the ASF in her address noted that Dan Pallotta, author of ‘Uncharitable’ argues that we hold the not-for-profit sector back from scaling and making impact with the belief that not-for-profits should spend as little as possible on overheads. Saying he argues we rate not-for-profits on what percentage of their funding goes to the cause vs overhead. This belief suppresses salary levels in the NFP sector and it definitely strangles funding for learning and development. She said, “I agree with Dan, let’s not confuse doing good with overhead frugality.”

“At ASF we’d like to change that thinking, we want to ensure that NFP leaders have the range and quality of development opportunities they so richly deserve. And we want to recognise and celebrate the value our non-profit leaders create – that’s what tonight is all about.”

Celebrating our 2022 Scholarship recipients

On the night the 552 recipients who were awarded an ASF scholarship in 2022 were also recognised. In 2022, 399 of the recipients were women, 35 identified as Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples. There were 122 leaders with disability facilitated through the Australian Network on Disability in partnership with AICD and 35% of our recipients are located in remote and regional areas.

Louisa Graham thanked our assessor panel who donate their time to review the thousands of applications we receive each year.

Sharing stories of impact

A panel of not-for-profit leaders joined the evening to share their stories of impact including, Dr Aleisha Davis, CEO, from The Shepherd Centre, Adam Davids, Fulbright non-Profit Scholar 2019, and board member CareerTrackers and Social Ventures Australia and Narelle McGeoch, COO, from the Youthworks. The session was moderated by Professor Nick Wailes, Senior Deputy Dean (External Engagement) & Director, at the AGSM.

A message from The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury sent a virtual message of congratulations for, “the vital work that you do as scholarship givers and leaders and community builders, strengthening our society and making Australia even more a nation of ‘we’.” You can read the full transcript here.

Announcing our winners

The Winners of the 2023 Not-For-Profit Leadership Awards were announced and congratulations followed. You can read a full list of the winners in the Press Release.

The award for Outstanding Leader in the over $3 million category went to Tanya O’Shea, Managing Director of IMPACT Community Services. The judges said: “Her organisation’s growth and innovation are to be applauded in service delivery and outcomes, social enterprise projects, staff development and leadership.”

On the night Tanya shared, “Leadership can be rewarding; however it can also be challenging, at times paralysing, thankless and incredibly lonely. Tonight is an opportunity to connect with other leaders and remember that we are not alone in what we do – there is always others going through similar issues who are willing to connect and share their experience and insights. I am therefore grateful to the ASF for recognising the importance of these awards, and for their ongoing commitment to developing leadership capability within our sector.

When my team initially saw the award application, we parked it as there were other, more pressing matters that needed our attention (like applying for tenders to support ongoing financial viability). This is the standard MO for NFP’s – rarely do we pause to reflect in a way that may open us up to recognition from others. That is certainly not the reason why we do what we do, however it is also an important reminder that the process of applying for these opportunities provides a great chance to reflect on our own practice. It reminds us that it is during those moments of struggle and challenge that great stuff happens, and when we move through these moments we grow, develop and shape ourselves as leaders,” Tanya noted.

The award is a tribute to my team, who leave their own stuff at the door each day to support and improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable within the community.  I am incredibly proud to work alongside them and couldn’t do what we do without their commitment and support.

Enjoy these photos from our evening.

2023 Not-For-Profit leadership Awards Winners – Mick Frewen, Careflight; Madison Kennewell, Careflight; Cathy Bray, Careflight; Ben Vasiliou, Youth Projects; Angelique Wan, Consent Labs; Nic Horton, Youth Projects; Angela Gaylard, Youth Projects; Shaun Christie-David, Plate it Forward; Lara Miller, Careflight; Trent Miller, Youth Projects; and Tanya O’Shea, IMPACT Community Services.