Slide 1

Year in Review 2023

Scroll down to see the full report

Slide 1

Year in Review 2023

Scroll down to see the full report

In 2023 we launched our refreshed strategy and confirmed our purpose to contribute to a better society where people and places thrive. After deep discussions with our community partners, our board met over two days with Dr Mary Graham who helped us imagine a society of balance and fair exchange between people and place.
Our vision is an Australia where communities drive positive change, where governments collaborate to reimagine more equal and just systems, and together we shape a society in which we are proud to raise our children.
From the positivity and strength of the Garma Festival, showcasing Indigenous-led education on Country, to the disappointed hopes of the Voice Referendum, our year in review reflects on efforts towards a more culturally diverse, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable society.
Teya Dusseldorp

Executive Director, Dusseldorp Forum

Responsible custodianship

We are committed to ethical governance and guided by our family’s long-held values and our principles of action.
We launched our strategy focused on contributing to a better Australian society, grounded in justice and equity, where people and places can thrive.

Intergenerational Stewardship

We added intergenerational stewardship as an organisational value with the third generation of the Dusseldorp family engaged in the governance of the Forum alongside trusted independent board members.
Highlights 2023

Working with community

We support and sustain community-led solutions and partner with those building community agency, wellbeing and system reform capacity.
Karrkad Kanjdji Trust – Arnhem Land NT
Karrkad Kanjdji Trust – Arnhem Land NT
We have partnered with the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (KKT) for over five years to address pressing issues in Arnhem Land including environmental regeneration, climate action, bi-cultural education, equal employment, and cultural preservation.

In 2023 we supported Narwarddeken Academy leaders, students, and teachers to attend the Garma Festival to share their successful model of community-led bicultural education.

Maranguka – Bourke NSW
Over the past decade our partnership with Maranguka has included long-term funding, engagement in governance, advocacy and capacity support for the Backbone team. Maranguka is driving deep collaboration between the Bourke Tribal Council, government and non-government organisations to improve outcomes and create better coordinated support for Aboriginal families and children.

In 2023 we supported a case study that shows how effective collaboration across the community during the school holidays increases youth engagement and community safety.

Just Reinvest NSW – Mount Druitt NSW

We are partnering with the youth-led Just Reinvest NSW initiative in Mt Druitt, the home of the largest population of Indigenous young people in Australia. 

In 2023 we contributed to the launch of Mounty Yarns, a collective story of Aboriginal young people in Mount Druitt as well the employment of young leaders to advocate for systemic change.

Our Place – Robinvale VIC
In 2016 we committed to a ten year partnership with Our Place, in Robinvale, Victoria to support the education, health and development of all children and families by utilising the universal platform of a school.

In 2023, with more than five years experience in nine diverse communities, Our Place developed a report, Walking alongside – revisited, which documents what is involved in partnering with government in long-term placed-based change. We interviewed Our Place CEO, Sean Cory about the key lessons learnt in Our Place's partnership with the Victorian government.

Learning the Macleay – Macleay Valley NSW
We were invited to join the efforts of Learning the Macleay in 2023 focussed on identifying and building on the strengths of the Macleay Valley to create better futures for children and their families through the community priorities of healing, education and better alignment of services.

We supported the development of digital storytelling skills of high school students, community members, and service providers so they can capture and share their stories of change. We feature the story of Learning the Macleay through the eyes of Partnership Lead Jo Kelly in Healing the heart of the Macleay.

Climate Action
Our strategy is now explicit in its embrace of climate action. We expanded our existing commitments by backing several leading climate organisations that hold extensive relationships and are working in partnership to deliver powerful, hopeful and effective climate action strategies. These include Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, Environmental Leadership Australia, Groundswell and Original Power.

Groundswell launched a climate funders handbook that shares the key priorities funders can invest in to build the political will necessary for meaningful climate change.

Highlights 2023

Reimagining Governance

We connect, advocate and influence to shift power in decision-making about policies, resources and system design.

2023 Referendum

We supported the YES campaign to finally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution and establish a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution.
The referendum was unsuccessful leaving that promise unfulfilled. But the work for First Nations justice continues and is fundamental to a fair society. We remain committed to the aspirations of Voice, Treaty and Truth as articulated in the Uluru Statement of the Heart and continue our support for First Nations led efforts towards self-determination. Read our joint statement with 30 other foundations committed to ensure First Nations voices are recognised and heard.

Philanthropic collaborations

In a year where mis and disinformation undermined democratic processes and social cohesion, we joined the Mannifera Collective, a group of foundations investing in civil society organisations focused on strengthening Australia’s democracy and ensuring a fairer economy that works for all.
We joined 20 other foundations in establishing the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children which aims to improve the wellbeing of children by supporting greater collaboration and coordination of government and philanthropic investments to improve outcomes for communities. We were one of five foundations that initiated a program of professional development  for Philanthropic Leadership for Systemic Change to increase and amplify philanthropy’s role in systemic change in Australia.

Government collaborations

We continued our participation in the National Leadership of the Federal Government’s Stronger Places Stronger People initiative which partners with ten communities modelling a new way of addressing disadvantage in Australia by backing community-led agendas for change.

In partnership with the Department of Treasury, Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Social Services, we hosted a roundtable in Canberra with Charles Leadbeater, international expert on systems innovation  as well as Australian experts in Place based approaches. The Roundtable explored how international and Australian innovations can contribute to the government’s $200 million package for Tackling Entrenched Disadvantage.


Changing the story

We build capacity for storytelling and amplify positive narratives for social, environmental, economic and cultural change.

“Honouring story means feeling responsible for ensuring the story translates into change and action.” Frances Martin, Our Place

Storytelling for Systems Change

Listening to Understand was launched via a webinar with 500 participants worldwide as part of understanding how government and philanthropy use stories to make decisions and what gets in the way of community voices being heard.
We shared lessons in systems change and community-led philanthropy at the Philanthropy NZ conference.
Our partnership with Maranguka was featured as a case study of good practice in the Productivity Commission Report on Philanthropic Giving and in Philanthropy Australia’s showcase of the best philanthropy across Australia.
From our partners and supporters

“You can’t underestimate the impact of just a small contribution when it responds directly to what young people are asking for. For a young person to ask for funding and have that responded to by the Forum, that built trust and then more of the Mt Druitt young people wanted to get involved.”

Daniel Daylight, JR NSW

“Having been included in the planning I felt that my perspective was valued and incorporated respectfully. I know that this is a way of working for Dusseldorp Forum, you may not realise that this is not common and feeling heard is valuable and deeply meaningful.”

Lila Wolff, Hands Up Mallee

“Providing opportunities for our older students to share the story of Bininj (Aboriginal people) led governance and education on the national stage has been so valuable. Also, an incredible outcome of being at Garma Festival is the deep value of creating spaces for Bininj to yarn with Bininj to share successes and challenges.”  

Olga Scholes, CEO Nawarddeken Academy

Dusseldorp Forum acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia and the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which we work and live. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past and present.

For updates on our 2024 work and partnerships, subscribe to our quarterly digital newsletter.


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