New strategic partnership to strengthen Australian civil society

24 September 2020
Sydney Policy Lab and Paul Ramsay Foundation unite for a common cause
COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated social and economic issues in Australian society. The Sydney Policy Lab and the Paul Ramsay Foundation will work with civil society organisations to learn how to address these issues now, and into the future.

The Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney today announced a major new strategic partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Named Strengthening Australian Civil Society, it will focus on how Australia’s civil society organisations can grow their strength in the years ahead, to support people in need and help build strong and resilient communities.

“Civil society organisations have helped all of us get through COVID-19,” Sydney Policy Lab Director, Professor Marc Stears said.

“From advocating in the halls of government for essential national policy measures, to coordinating community-based food deliveries for people in need, Australia’s multitude of independent, non-government, ‘for purpose’ organisations have responded to the crisis heroically.

“We will be working directly alongside civil society and other for-purpose organisations to work out how we can all best respond to the ongoing economic and social challenges of the COVID-19 crisis,” Professor Stears said.

This strategic partnership with the Sydney Policy Lab is a key part of the Paul Ramsay Foundation’s commitment to breaking cycles of disadvantage, to tackle intergenerational poverty
Paul Ramsay Foundation Chief Capability Officer, Jo Taylor

Paul Ramsay Foundation Chief Capability Officer, Jo Taylor, said: “This strategic partnership with the Sydney Policy Lab is a key part of the Paul Ramsay Foundation’s commitment to breaking cycles of disadvantage, to tackle intergenerational poverty.”

The organisations will ask and seek to answer key questions, including:

  • Are ideas around leadership in civil society changing? What kind of leadership do we need in moments of crisis such as this one, and what kind of leadership development is occurring to prepare us for the challenges of the future?
  • How strong are the connections between civil society organisations and the communities they represent and serve? What does this mean for addressing need in a crisis?
  • How and where are strong civil society collaborations occurring?
  • What new advocacy strategies can civil society adopt? Which organisations have been able to influence decision-making, and how have they done this? How do campaigns sustain interest and momentum during ongoing crises?

The strategic partnership will be guided by an advisory panel comprised of highly respected leaders from Australia and overseas, including Maha Abdo OAM (Muslim Women Association), Tara Day-Williams (Stronger Places, Stronger People, Australian Government Department of Social Services), Jason Glanville (PwC Indigenous Consulting, Australian Indigenous Governance Institute), Devett Kennedy (Queensland Community Alliance), Edwina MacDonald (Australian Council of Social Service: ACOSS), Anandini Saththianathan (Paul Ramsay Foundation), Liz Skelton (Collaboration for Impact), Anita Tang (Australian Progress), and Dame Julia Unwin (Civil Society Futures).

Learn more about the Strengthening Australian Civil Society strategic partnership.

Hero image courtesy of Addison Road Community Organisation. Used with permission.

Loren Smith

Assistant Media Adviser (Humanities & Science)
  • University of Sydney, Australia

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