Skip to content
Education Training

How schools are helping to generate future philanthropists

Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia 2 mins read
AHISA CEO Dr Chris Duncan


19 June 2023

The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) today released its submission to the Productivity Commission’s Philanthropy Inquiry.

“Willingness to contribute to the welfare of others is an important civic virtue, and schools actively contribute to its development in young people,” said AHISA’s CEO, Dr Chris Duncan.

“Schools are a crucible for the development of social responsibility in young people, but there is scant research evidence available on how schools approach this task,” said Dr Duncan. “Our submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry aims to bridge this gap by offering insights from AHISA’s Social Capital Project.”

In 2019-20 AHISA undertook a project managed by McCrindle Research to investigate how independent schools contribute to building and sustaining social capital in Australia through service learning programs and other school activities. The project included a survey of AHISA members.

“AHISA’s Social Capital survey revealed that AHISA members’ schools typically encourage students to participate in philanthropic effort from the time they enter school,” said Dr Duncan. “Even in Early Learning and Year 1, around 80 per cent of students are engaged in some form of service learning or philanthropic effort, whether through volunteering, fundraising, direct giving or donation of goods.”

In almost all schools participating in the survey, students engage in hosting events or fundraising for charities or causes in their local communities, for national and international charities and for disadvantaged communities overseas.

“Students’ volunteering effort is recognised either through mentions in assembly or school newsletters or through the award of badges or annual prizes,” said Dr Duncan. “A third of schools participating in the survey reported that they also award course credits for volunteering.”

Dr Duncan said there were other rewards for students who engage in philanthropic action.

“Recent research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that engaging in volunteering reduces the likelihood of poor mental health in adolescents by 28 per cent,” said Dr Duncan. “Philanthropy is good for society and good for us, too.”


Further information about the Productivity Commission’s Philanthropy Inquiry is available at AHISA’s submission is posted at AIFS’s report on prosocial behaviours and the positive impact on mental health is posted at

About us:

AHISA is a professional association of 460 Heads of independent schools. Its members lead schools that collectively account for over 11 per cent of total Australian school enrolments, 70 per cent of independent sector enrolments and 20 per cent of total Australian Year 12 enrolments.

AHISA National Office: Unit 123, 20 Anzac Park, Campbell ACT 2612; ABN 99 006 107 124; telephone (02) 6247 7300; email

Contact details:

Dr Chris Duncan, AHISA CEO, mobile 0408 890 885


More from this category

  • Education Training, Indigenous
  • 23/07/2024
  • 07:39
National Tertiary Education Union

NTEU concerned and disappointed at the disestablishment of the University of Divinity School of Indigenous Studies

NTEU is both appalled and concerned at the announcement made by the University of Divinity, to disestablish their School of Indigenous Studies, effectively immediately. The announcement to disestablish the School of Indigenous Studies was made on Thursday 18 July 2024, with the decision made to disestablish the School of Indigenous Studies being effective as of Tuesday 16 July 2024, following a University Council meeting discussing 2024 budget adjustment advice. The University of Divinity states clearly in their Student Support Policy that: 4.3 The School of Indigenous Studies is responsible for: a) Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and…

  • Education Training, Government Federal
  • 22/07/2024
  • 12:36
Parliament of Australia

Civics education inquiry to visit northern Australia

This week theJoint Standing Committee on Electoral Matterswill hold public hearings and site visits in Maningrida and Darwin, Northern Territory (NT), and Cairns, Queensland as part of itsinquiry into civics education, engagement, and participation in Australia. Committee Chair,Ms Kate Thwaites MP, said ‘we want all Australians to be able to participate in our democracy and our elections. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people living in regional and remote communities. ‘A lack of appropriate electoral education, engagement and resourcing in remote communities means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be disconnected from civics, democracy and…

  • Education Training
  • 22/07/2024
  • 06:15
NSW Education Standards Authority


The 2024 HSC Study Guide has been released online and in print today, to support the state’s 78,000+ students preparing to sit exams later this year. NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) CEO Paul Martin said the release of the HSC Study Guide marks a significant milestone for students, parents and carers. “This week, the HSC Class of 2024 begin the last term of their schooling careers. It is a huge moment for close to 80,000 young people – and I hope this Guide offers them some support as they complete assessments and prepare for their final exams,” Mr Martin said.…

  • Contains:

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.