Immerse yourself in a day of thinking big about the ways you can contribute to a better and more just world. We’ll hear from a number of philanthropic leaders about high impact collaborations, transformative partnership models and changing human behaviour for social equality.

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Schedule for the day

8.30am // Arrival and Registration + Coffee
9.00am // Welcome
9.15am //Opening Framing by Craig Winkler
9.45am //  Dan Ariely: How Emotional Behaviour Drives our Philanthropy (and Everything Else)
10.45am // Morning Tea
11.00am // Mega-trends in Jewish Philanthropy with Professor Andrew Markus
11.30am // The Mindset for Bold Philanthropy with Debbie Dadon, Andrew Blode, Greg Shand  and Jeremy Dunkel
12:30pm // The Power of the Pack: A Model of Collective Giving with Georgia Matthews and Andrew Boyarksy
1:15pm //  Rooftop Lunch and Funding Interest Meetings
2:15pm // Lighting Philanthropy Case Studies
3:30pm //  Mythbusting:  The Next Generation with Tanya Stul, Josh Blode and Brad Smorgon
4.30pm // Closing with a Bang!
4:45pm // Happy Hour Drinks


Session 1 Keynote: Dan Ariely

How emotional behaviour drives our philanthropy (and everything else)

Our decisions are motivated by an illogical and irrational world within. Behavioural economist Dan Ariely will explain how and why we make bad decisions, and how understanding this can improve our pursuit of social justice.

Ariely is founder of the Centre of Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa and the author of New York Times best sellers’ Dollars and Sense: How we misthink money and how to spend smarter, Predictably Irrational: The hidden force that shape our decisions and The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

“I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.”

Ariely is a renowned lecturer on behavioural economics and irrational decision making, featuring on Ted Talks, with over 10 millions views of his talks, How equal do we want the world to be, Are we in control of our decisions and Our buggy moral code.

Session 2: Mega Trends in Jewish Philanthropy with Professor Andrew Markus

Following on from the preliminary findings published in the GEN17 Australian Jewish community Survey, Professor Andrew Markus will share deeper insights and patterns of the state of giving in the Australian Jewish community; causes, priorities, trends for giving to Israel and more. This overview will be surprising and insightful – challenging the way we plan and deliver our giving in the future.


Andrew Markus

Andrew Markus is the Pratt Foundation Research Professor of Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Andrew has published extensively in the field of Australian race relations and immigration history. He is the principal researcher on the Australian Jewish population and Yiddish Melbourne research projects. Since 2007 Andrew has been senior researcher for the Scanlon Foundation social cohesion research program.

Session 3: The Mindset for Bold Philanthropy

Dream big, go deep. This session will share stories of four AJF philanthropic leaders from both Melbourne and Sydney who are extremely focused and strategic with their giving – they are unconventional, distinctive and innovative. The discussion will be thought- provoking, uncovering the mindset behind using bold philanthropy to drive social change and inspire others to do the same.


Debbie Dadon

Debbie Dadon is a member of the second generation involved in the Besen Family Foundation which was founded 39 years ago. Raised in a philanthropic environment and holding the position of Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of the Besen Family Foundation for 19 years before moving into her current role as Chair of the Besen Family Foundation, Debbie has developed an acute and insightful awareness of the issues and needs of local communities. A particular interest of Debbie’s has been that of intergenerational philanthropy and a significant part of Debbie’s leadership role in the Besen Family Foundation has been the sensitive task of guiding and nurturing the involvement of the third generation of the Besen family in philanthropy. Her commitment and contribution to the community is evidenced through her involvement in many organisations. The Australian Jewish Funders (AJF) is an organisation specifically aimed at optimising effective and strategic philanthropy within the Jewish community. A Founding Member of the AJF, Debbie held the position of Chair from its establishment in 2007 until 2017.

Jeremy Dunkel

Jeremy Dunkel is a Director of Taurus Capital, a family office consultancy specialising in philanthropy.  His accounting and finance experience includes working for Chemical Bank, Chase Manhattan, and Price Waterhouse. He is also a Director of Education Heritage Foundation, and the Moriah College Foundation, as well as the Chair of Y2i, an organisation that grants $5,000 vouchers to Year 10 students from NSW / ACT / QLD with at least one Jewish parent, to make participation in approved Israel-based educational programs, affordable.




Andrew Blode

Andrew Blode has an accounting background which has led him to work within management roles and take on Directorship of a diverse number of commercial businesses over a 30 year period. Andrew is currently Director of the their family company, Escor Pty Ltd (Eric Smorgon Corporation) and since 2001 has been the CEO of the Family’s Foundation, The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation.



Greg Shand

Greg has had a successful career initially practicing as a commercial lawyer and then building a real estate investment and development business over the last 25 years.Greg has had a significant role with a range of philanthropic endeavours since 2004, with a key focus on the New South Wales Jewish community. Greg served on and then chaired the JCA allocations committee for 3 years (2004-7), was a non-trustee governor of the JCA and then chaired the JCA building and capital committee for 3 years (2009-2011). As part of these roles, Greg oversaw a range of initiatives including improving governance practices and the adoption of debt policies as well as assessing capital appeal applications made by communal organisations. In 2015 Greg chaired a JCA committee set up to look at innovating fund raising for the NSW Jewish Community. This lead to the establishment of the Giving Forum (“TGF”) in 2016 run by a steering committee chaired by Greg. Kathy and Greg Shand have been significant financial supporters of a range of not-for profits including in areas of medical care and research and arts institutions and organisations. Since the establishment of TGF, Kathy and Greg have adopted a more strategic and focused approach to philanthropy – notably in recent times, their support for the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Moderated by Tracie Olcha

Tracie joined AJF in 2011 and since then, together with the Board of Directors, spearheaded initiatives that raise awareness and address the big issues facing the Australian Jewish community, with a major focus on innovation in Jewish life and Jewish community building across the generations. Tracie’s all about empowering and enabling people to create meaningful and relevant Jewish experiences for themselves and their peers and is the visionary behind LaunchPad – A Platform for Jewish Community Innovation. LaunchPad inspires Jewish change-makers, to connect, think, create and lead together with an alumni of some 350 change agents in Australia. In 2016 the LaunchPad model was adopted by South Africa and is continuing to successfully engage South African Jewry. Utilising her unparalleled networks from around the world, Tracie dreams big and makes things happen. She sits on the International Council for Moishe House and co-founded Mamilla, a six-month program that aims to unlock and activate the power of Jewish entrepreneurs and connects them with the start up eco-system in Israel.

Session 4: The Power of the Pack: A Model of Collective Giving 

Giving Circle members give more strategically and engage deeply. Through an intimate in-conversation between Georgia and Andrew, we will explore this revolutionary model as a powerful tool to make big change. Reflecting on their contrasting real-life experiences, the speakers will discuss the impact they have had on their community and how this tool can engage funders across the generations.


Andrew Boyarsky

Andrew Boyarsky is a qualified engineer and the managing director of the diversified property investment and development company Anka, founded by his parents Alex and Vera in 1968. Andrew has been instrumental in further developing the family’s philanthropic interests in the sectors of the Arts, Education, Medical Research, Israel and Jewish Life. He is currently vice president of UIA NSW and a member of the JCA Building and Capital Committee. He is a past board member of the Hakoah Club. Andrew is the incoming President UIA NSW.





Georgia Matthews

Georgia Matthews is the Founder and Executive Director of Australia’s first LGBTIQ+ giving circle, The Channel and works at Australian Communities Foundation as Grants Manager, where she oversees grant making for 270 sub-funds, distributing $9 million per annum. She has a Bachelor of Arts (History and Gender Studies) from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Social Investment and Philanthropy from the Swinburne Centre for Social Impact. She’s passionate about accessible & collective giving, breaking down power structures and diversity & inclusion at decision making levels in philanthropy. Georgia has held various roles in the community sector including at Australian Women Donors Network, Social Ventures Australia and Inner North Community Foundation. She sits on the Board of the Urgent Action Fund for Women and Trans* Human Rights Asia and the Pacific.


Session 5: Lightning Philanthropy Case Studies

Harness the power and experience in the room through collaboration and peer sharing. This session will utilise a unique creative problem solving technique to apply to our individual philanthropy and overcome some of our greatest barriers.

Session 6 Mythbusting: The Next Generation

Are the next generation apathetic towards giving? Will they continue to fund Jewish life? How do they feel about the way previous generations are giving? What do they want to do differently? Be part of a discussion with millennial next gen funders as they bust, break and correct some of the common myths associated with this group of emerging philanthropists.


The conference will be held at The LaunchPad Hub, 10 Kingston St, Richmond. All meals will be strictly kosher.

This event is for funders only.

Cost – Early Bird (Until November 8):
$180 for members
$220 for non members // $180 for a non member nominated by a member

Cost (After November 8):
$230 for members
$270 for non members // $230 for a non member nominated by a member

Register for Conference

Contact AJF