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  • purposelypodcast

Brit leading the way in philanthropy downunder, Jo Taylor

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Introducing Jo Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer of the Siddle Family Foundation, to Purposely. Jo sheds light on her professional and personal odyssey from the UK to Australia and the impact of her partner—a medical professional whose dreams of a life downunder set the stage for their move.

We delve into her her leadership role in philanthropy and how the work she is involved in is reshaping the narrative around giving and philanthropy. 

After 23 years, Jo is now happily married to her partner, and they are parents to two children. Having spent two decades in Bondi, they recently moved to the Mid North Coast region.

Contrary to her initial career plan of becoming a lawyer, Jo has emerged as a leader in the philanthropy sector in Australia. Leveraging her legal studies, her involvement in Raise & Give (RAG) during her tenure at the University of Leicester, and her experience as a fundraiser in the charity sector, Jo brings a substantial depth of knowledge and expertise to her current role

Jo shares her professional journey from lawyer to philanthropy leader. This transformation involves her engagement in 'Pay What It Takes' (PWIT), a coalition between for purpose organisations and funders aiming to redefine philanthropy and reshape the funding landscape for the charitable sector. Serving as the Chair of this Coalition, Jo and the PWIT Steering Committee drew inspiration from the impactful work of Bridgespan and Foundations in the United States, prompting crucial questions about the level of financial support provided by Australian funders. Their objective is to challenge the cycle of underfunding and organisational challenges by advocating for unrestricted funding or a 30% addition to project-based funding to adequately cover indirect costs.

A pivotal catalyst for this movement was the inquiry titled 'A Sector in Peril,' laying the foundation for collaboration among like-minded foundations. The Coalition led by Jo, and comprising Philanthropy Australia, the Centre for Social Impact, Social Ventures Australia, The Origin Foundation, and the Paul Ramsay Foundation, conducted comprehensive research, interviews, literature reviews, case studies, and workshops to address chronic underfunding of core operational expenses within Australian organizations. The vulnerabilities exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic further emphasized the critical need for adequate funding.

Jo emphasises the necessity to challenge misconceptions surrounding indirect costs and advocates for a redefined evaluation of efficiency and effectiveness by funders. This paradigm shift demands courage and peer leadership within the sector, recognising the entrenched mental models ingrained in both funders and nonprofit organizations that need to be reshaped.

Despite the challenges, the Pay What It Takes movement is gaining momentum, offering optimism for a sector striving for genuine impact and change. The collaboration aims to redefine the philanthropic landscape in Australia, ensuring that organisations receive sufficient funding to effect lasting, impactful change.

Throughout her professional journey, Jo's commitment to social justice has been profoundly shaped by personal aspirations, life experiences, and the influence of her parents, particularly her mother. Her story serves as a compelling inspiration for those seeking to make a meaningful difference in the world of philanthropy.


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