Philanthropy Australia announced the Australian Philanthropy Awards for 2020 on 17 November, with Gandel Philanthropy and the Australian Foundation for Yad Vashem winning the Bolder Philanthropy category, for the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators.

According to Philanthropy Australia, “The Australian Philanthropy Awards recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements in contemporary philanthropy. They also celebrate partnerships between philanthropy and for-purpose organisations and honour those who are working to create lasting, positive change.

The breadth, depth and transformative impact of philanthropic excellence and innovation has been showcased at the sixth annual Australian Philanthropy Awards ceremony. Following a record number of nominations, Awards were presented to recipients across nine Award categories.”

The category of the Bolder Philanthropy Award recognises “philanthropic investment that is used as ‘social risk capital’ to provide early stage support for an initiative, helping to scale or evolve it to deliver sustained positive change.” The criteria for this award also take into account “additional non-financial role of the grant-maker, such as convening, leveraging, influencing and advocating, which contributes further to the initiative’s success”.

Following the announcement, Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy John Gandel AC stated that he was proud that one of his family’s most important philanthropic initiatives received industry recognition.

“It is heartening that this program and our foundation were selected as the winners of this award. This award, however, is much more than just about Gandel Philanthropy – this is a recognition of the power of partnerships, and truly collaborative efforts of many organisations and supporters, including our key partners, the Australian Foundation for Yad Vashem and the Raoul Wallenberg Unit.”

“To me, this is as much a confirmation of the significance and ongoing relevance of Holocaust education, as it is a recognition of the importance to invest our philanthropic support for the long-term, if we wish to effect change and drive meaningful impact,” added John.

The Gandel family got involved in the Holocaust Education program some 11 years ago when it was a relatively small and geographically limited program. Over the intervening years, they helped to grow and scale the initiative to become a truly national program sending up to 35 teachers every year, with nearly 350 teachers completing the program since, reaching thousands of students with stories of the Holocaust in the process.

The Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators was itself expanded, from being simply a learning segment in Yad Vashem, Israel to also having a pre-departure online learning element, and then a delivery of a Holocaust educational project by teachers in their schools upon return, effectively becoming a year-long professional development program.

Gandel Philanthropy worked to strengthen the Selection Committee and the selection process, and had the program evaluated twice, helping identify what works and where it can be further improved.

Influencing and advocating were also important, and Gandel Philanthropy and the Australian Foundation for yad Vashem convened the first Gandel Holocaust Education Conference in 2019, bringing Holocaust experts and Gandel alumni together to share knowledge about Holocaust education.

Gandel Philanthropy also worked with key Jewish community and Holocaust organisations to advocate for inclusion of Holocaust education into the Victorian curriculum for public schools, which was subsequently adopted. That collaboration continued with the process of the review of existing and development of additional Holocaust teaching materials with the Department of Education.

In conclusion, John added that the importance of Holocaust remembrance and its lessons for the young people of today was as relevant as ever.

“Given the worrying rise globally of racism, antisemitism and intolerance, the Holocaust messages of humanity, hope, care for the fellow human being, and the importance of protecting and upholding human rights, have arguably never been more important. We hope to continue working with our key partners and supporters to ensure the world ‘never forgets’,” he concluded.

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About the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators

The Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators is a comprehensive, year-long professional development program helping teachers learn how best to teach about the Holocaust to their students. It is delivered by the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem-The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel. The Gandel Program is supported by a number of key partners, donors and contributors, including the Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B’nai B’rith Vic., the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Courage to Care, the Sydney Jewish Museum, B’nai B’rith NSW, Jewish Museum of Australia and many others.

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