The University of Melbourne today congratulated business and community leader Carol Schwartz after she was announced as the ‘Leading Philanthropist’ at the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards.
The Leading Philanthropist award is Australian philanthropy’s highest honour and it is awarded to an individual philanthropist whose work is visionary, high impact and transformative.
Ms Schwartz was the driving force behind the University of Melbourne’s ‘Pathways to Politics Program for Women’, designed to increase female participation in politics. The program was initiated and made possible by a generous donation from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said: “Carol is a remarkable leader and extraordinary philanthropist and it is wonderful that she has been recognised with Australia’s highest philanthropic honour.
“For more than 20 years Carol has focused on improving the quality of leadership and decision making in Australia. She has built lasting partnerships and networks and made sure that bold ideas come to life and help our society. The Pathways to Politics Program for Women delivers practical outcomes and has certainly had a positive impact on the conversation around representation of women in parliament.
“Considering what the nation has gone through this year, from the devastating bushfires to COVID-19 and the challenging living and working environments that so many people have endured, we need exceptional philanthropists to help lead and deliver outcomes that make a real difference in metropolitan and regional areas. Carol is a visionary thinker and great supporter of women in leadership and I am delighted this award recognises her outstanding philanthropic work.”
The University’s Vice-President (Strategy and Culture) Dr Julie Wells said the Pathways to Politics Program for Women is all about “changing the face of politics”. Dr Wells said the program equips women with the skills and knowledge to succeed in running for elected office and to thrive as political leaders.
“Through the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, Carol has helped to create a truly exceptional legacy that will continue to assist many talented women to fulfil their dream and enter politics,” Dr Wells said.
Some of the women that have completed the program and achieved electoral success are Katie Allen MP, Bridget Vallence MP, Kat Theophanous MP, Juliana Addison MP, Cr Stephanie Amir, Cr Sarah Mansfield and Cr Susanne Newton.
Cr Mansfield and Cr Susanne Newton were recently re-elected at the recent Victorian local government elections, along with program alumni Dr Olivia Ball, Jenna Davey-Burns, Alida McKern and Tina Samardzija.
Dr Wells said the program is a non-partisan initiative borne out of a partnership between the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, the Trawalla Foundation and the University’s Melbourne School of Government.
“Carol has contributed hugely to the success of the program through her philanthropic support and partnership with the University, and through her personal leadership and engagement in recruiting distinguished mentors and speakers, engaging directly with participants and inspiring us all with her passion for women in leadership.”
Ms Schwartz, who is a Reserve Bank of Australia board member, is the Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and Founding Chair of Our Community which is focused on building strong communities through stronger community organisations.