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Melbourne Business School, Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre

  • Project: Helen Macpherson Smith Chair of Leadership for Social Impact
  • Amount: $1.5 million
  • Year(s) Funded: 2008

New strategy delivers major boost for third sector leadership programs

The third sector needs leaders who are active change agents for sustainable organisations and fairer, more just and humane societies. The new role of Chair of Leadership for Social Impact has been considered pivotal to the aims of the Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre (APSILC).

Melbourne Business School - Murra Graduates

“Your support for the Helen Macpherson Smith Chair of Leadership for Social Impact has allowed us to make a difference in the field of social impact, leading to programs for Indigenous managers and capacity building in the third sector.” Zeger Degraeve, Dean, Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne.


The inaugural Helen Macpherson Smith Chair of Leadership for Social Impact, Professor Ian Williamson, developed four strategic focus areas:

  • Indigenous Business Development
    The MURRA (meaning ‘fishnet’) Indigenous Business Master Class Program was launched in June 2012 in partnership with Kinaway (Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce) and the 2003 Executive MBA class. A growing number of Indigenous entrepreneurs are participating from businesses and community organisations in Victoria and other states.
  • Third Sector Capacity Building
    A range of programs are run in this area including strategic philanthropy, arts sector capacity building and classes for social enterprises run with Social Traders, a Victoria-based organisation which is a leading advocate for social entrepreneurship.
  • Pathways to Work
    APSILC has just completed negotiations to carry out a research and training project with a leading Victorian company to explore improvements in employment practices for people with disabilities, including mental disability.
  • Creating Shared Value
    In 2014, APSILC entered a 3-year partnership with Australia Post to explore how philanthropic and business goals can be best aligned for business and social outcomes. The framework will help determine the value of its philanthropy on areas such as brand equity, customer satisfaction and employee recruitment and retention.