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An Independent Philanthropic Trust Helen’s Legacy to Victoria, Australia. TRUST Established in 1951 Initial corpus of £275,000 – current value $100 million Grants of between $5-$7 million per year Total grants to date of over $65 million Support Victorian Charitable Institutions

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An Independent Philanthropic Trust

Helen’s Legacy to Victoria, Australia

  • Established in 1951
  • Initial corpus of £275,000 – current value $100 million
  • Grants of between $5-$7 million per year
  • Total grants to date of over $65 million
  • Support Victorian Charitable Institutions
  • Web address:


  • Aged Persons Care and Support
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Community Support
  • Disabled Care and Support
  • Employment and Vocational Training
  • Environment
  • Health and Medical Research


3 Levels of Support:

  • Respond to each formal application
  • Strategic applications
  • Proactive grants


  • Relationship along a continuum



Manage Engage Collaborate



(Grantmaking Tango: Julie Unwin, Baring Foundation)

  • Meeting immediate need – gift giving
  • Fostering innovation and new approaches – shopping mode
  • Supporting organisational development
  • Working towards systemic change
  • Type of project informs what type of evaluation should be used
HMS Trust
  • Works across spectrum
  • Level of Trust involvement proportional to type of project

Gift-givingSystemic Change


  • Portfolio of Grants – balance across the spectrum
  • Currently: 20% gift giving / charitable; 50% shopping mode / engaged; 30% systemic change/collaborations
Challenge for the Trust
  • Developing an evidence based approach to funding – what works and how do you know?
Evaluation – for what purpose?

Trust perspective:

  • Trust: Mission and Purpose
  • Sourcing and creating knowledge
  • Building networks
  • Making a difference

Grantee perspective:

  • Delivering service or program
  • Developing internal knowledge
  • Contributing to external knowledge and understanding
  • Engaged in systemic change
Internal Evaluations
  • Acquittal Reports
  • Site Visits
External Evaluations
  • External validation of project or program
  • Huge amount of literature and resources available
  • Trust’s responsibility:
    • Ask for, suggest, find most appropriate methodology
    • Depends on type, scale and cost of project
    • Used when
      • Seeking support beyond the pilot
      • Transferable – usefulness to others
      • Build understanding about an issue – both Trust’s and Grantee’s
      • Creating a coalition of interest

The Ian Potter Foundation – Australian

(Professor Dorothy Scott, Chair, Child Protection, University of South Australia. Previously Executive Officer, Ian Potter Foundation)

Model: Innovate – Evaluate – Disseminate

  • Innovate
    • Fund innovation and new thinking
    • Directly helping few – indirectly helping the many
    • Replication
    • Importance of shared knowledge, best practice etc
  • Evaluate
    • Outcome focused
    • Process Focused
  • Disseminate
    • Example – Telstra Foundation
PEW Charitable Trust – United States
    • Founded 1948
    • $3.8B US Assets
    • $166M US Grantmaking budget
    • 130 staff – 9 in planning and evaluation
  • Internal Planning and Evaluation Unit
    • Evaluations funded though grant budget
    • Evaluation: management tool
    • Evaluation: planning tool for Trust staff
    • Evaluation: accountability tool for PEW Board

PEW Charitable Trust – United States

  • Benefits
    • Rigorous planning = tighter strategies with more feasible goals
    • Creation of ‘data rich’ culture = learning from work and improving
    • More effective investment = understand progress and make mid-course corrections
    • Bottom Line: Can’t know of impact if don’t evaluate

PEW Charitable Trust – United States

  • Approach
    • Integration of planning and evaluation
    • Culture of evidence-based decision making – evaluate to inform decisions
    • Strong leadership – CEO Board Support
    • Saying no is hard but necessary – evidence assists in this process
    • Annual planning cycle – creates need for data, culture where evidence matters

PEW Charitable Trust – United States

  • Questions to ask during planning
    • Does the strategy address the root causes of a well-defined problem?
    • Is the goal clear, feasible and measurable?
    • Is the underlying logic sound?
    • Are the key assumptions and risks identified and addressed?
    • Are there reasonable milestones?
    • Are the scope and scale reasonable and commensurate with resources?
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
  • Evaluating Applications
    • Use PEW planning questions - focus on Context
  • Context
    • Importance of policy environment
    • Multiple audiences
  • Resource it – the more $’s the better the evaluation
  • HMS Trust
    • Tailor $’s to Trust’s strategic interest and investment in the project
    • Typically for larger projects
    • Expensive – usually start at $25,000
    • Time consuming
Organisational Development
  • New and emerging area of support
  • Evaluation - tailor to meet grant expectations
  • Evaluation can be difficult

Organisational Development (cont’d)

  • Social Ventures Australia
    • Developed SVA Social Return Toolset
    • Help non-profits and investors maximise, measure and communicate social returns they generate
    • Purpose:
    • Tools:
      • Triple P Framework
      • Organisational Capacity Diagnostic
      • Social Return on Investment Tool
Working towards Systemic Change
  • What is the Theory of Social Change?
    • Who or what has to change to make a difference?
    • How are these people and institutions reached?
  • Social change
    • Complex
    • Involves working on several fronts to build constituencies and pressures for change
    • Embedding systemic reform very challenging
    • Lisbeth Schorr’s book ‘Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighbourhoods to Rebuild America’
Working towards Systemic Change

Lisbeth Schorr ?’s

  • Why have so many positively evaluated programs funded by philanthropy never been replicated?
  • Concludes: failure to bring about reform within the institutions and systems within which programs operate

“… history of efforts to replicate, sustain, and scale up…is dismal. The single most important reason…is the failure to understand the environment within which these programs operate…..the problems arise when the successful pilot program is to expand and thereby threatens the basic political and bureaucratic arrangements that he held sway over decades.”

Working towards Systemic Change
  • Theory of Innovation – combination of characteristics

(Creative Philanthropy, Helmut Anheier and Diana Leat)

    • Degree of uncertainty
    • Knowledge Intensive
    • Controversial
    • Reaches over established boundaries
    • Innovation and adoption of innovative ideas and practice happens at the margins and not at the centre
    • Innovation encouraged in situations and networks that involve significant overlap among groups, cultures and perspectives
Working towards Systemic Change
  • Fostering innovation of itself not sufficient
    • Ideas often fail to become accepted and implemented – failure of pilots
    • Foundations often fail to build on creativity to achieve innovations
    • Foundations need to address the how and the what
    • Compounded by:
      • Failure to understand the importance of a dissemination and marketing in getting new approaches adopted and embedded (promotions)
      • Undervalue importance of relating to policy and policy-shapers and makers (influence)
Working towards Systemic Change
  • Creative Philanthropy
    • “Creativity is making new combinations, seeing new links between existing elements, making up new mixes…”
    • “Foundations are critical boundary-spanners in modern society, sitting on the edge of an array of institutions, disciplines and professions”.
    • “Organisations exist in complex and constantly changing social, political, economic, legal and organisational environments that impinge on, constrain, subvert and support courses of action. Certainty is in short supply and workable social plans are usually those that provide a basis for departure rather than a blue print for action.”
Working towards Systemic Change
  • Creative Philanthropy (cont’d)
    • Creative philanthropy/Social Change – involves using an array of grantmaking techniques
    • Change often occurs at a ‘tipping point’
    • Criteria for impact crosses all funding styles and intents
      • Responding to grant applications
      • Commissioning specific pieces of work
      • Having a long term interest in the issue






Working towards Systemic Change

Case Study: Supported Housing

  • Access to affordable and appropriate housing for disabled people is currently under threat from:
  • Issues
  • Previous grants – Supported Housing:
  • HMS Trust response
  • How we would be evaluate this response?

Working towards Systemic Change

  • Evaluation
    • Measuring impact derived from approach to management that equates management with measurement ie; organisations that are not capable of measuring their achievements are not managing resources carefully
    • Based on set of managerialist or rationalist assumptions – which may or may not work for business
    • Ill suited to real world complexity of social change – “Where qualities such as flexibility, serendipity, opportunism and compromise all play a part”
Working towards Systemic Change

Bruce Sievers – Stanford Innovation Review – from Creative Philanthropy

“Measurable outcomes” seem to have become the new mantra in the non-profit world. …. The assumption seems to be that, if only we could get a stronger numerical hold on what happens as a result of non-profit activity….... we could do much better at solving some of the great social problems upon which we are so diligently working.

Let me suggest a heretical view: the fundamental business analogy is flawed…..In addition to the daunting (and ultimately unsolvable) complexities of scale, multi-variables, and causal chains, there is the underlying conceptual problem of imposing reductionist interpretations on social reality. If we look very hard, we soon see that the numbers aren’t wearing any clothes.”

Working towards Systemic Change
  • Danger: New approach to identifying impact fetters the ability of grantmaking trusts to take risks and explore new ways of working
  • Who owns the evaluation?
Working towards Systemic Change


  • Descriptions of Success (Grantmaking Tango)
  • Evaluation – (Creative Philanthropy)
Things to Look Out For
  • Changemakers Australia
    • Project: Evaluating Social Change
    • Developing an approach to evaluating social change projects
    • Project being undertaken by Associate Professor Patricia Rogers, CIRCLE (Collaborative Institute for Research Consulting and Learning in Evaluation) at RMIT and Leslie Falkiner-Rose as part of a Masters project

Foundation Performance

Centre for Effective Philanthropy –

How well is the Trust or Foundation performing?

  • No universal measures of return for Foundations (unlike business)
  • Foundation impact can not reduced to a single number because of problems
    • Casuality
    • Aggregation
    • Timelines
  • Need to develop common ‘language of assessment’
Foundation Performance (cont’d)
  • CEP: focused on developing ‘Indicators of Effectiveness’
    • Tools include:
      • Grantee Perception Report
      • Comparative Board Report
      • Staff Perception Report
      • Operational Benchmarking Report
Foundation Performance (cont’d)
  • Foundation Effectiveness(Phil Buchanon: CEP Executive Director – 5 Year Anniversary Celebration)
    • Specific Goals
    • A Strategy
    • Measurable Indicators of Effectiveness
    • Leadership
    • Engagement of Boards