Accidental activists Tom Snow and Brooke Horne recently received recognition for their philanthropic support during last year’s marriage equality campaign.
On Thursday night, the couple won the Award for Best Large Grant at the 2018 Australian Philanthropy Awards. The award recognised their seed funding to what would become the Equality Campaign.
The couple’s initial contribution led to close to $20 million raised from cash and in-kind donations.
Despite some high-profile corporate donors, most of the 10,000 cash donations came from ordinary Australians.
Mr Horne described the award as a “huge honour that we share with every single person who donated money or time.”
“The Equality Campaign was the result of significant philanthropic leadership that gave strength to the thousands of everyday Australians who were willing to stand up and push for fairness and equality.”
The couple married in New Zealand in April, 2015. They have three children – seven-year-old twins and a three-year-old. They said they were “accidental activists” who fell into the marriage equality campaign.
“It started in August 2015 when [Liberal MP] Warren Entsch was introducing a [marriage equality] bill into the Liberal Party room,” Snow told the Canberra Times.
“We as a family – that’s me and Brooke, but the whole Snow family – wanted to support that.”
The family initially paid for pro-equality advertising to light up the Canberra Airport terminal in rainbow colours. It greeted politicians arriving at the national capital.
The couple grew concerned about the impact of the debate on their family after the announcement of the postal survey.
“We’ve got three children and we were deeply afraid as a family of the impact that would have, the impact on our kids, but also young gay and lesbian Australians and their families. So we said, ‘We will step in and help,'” Snow said.
The Equality Campaign became a partnership between organisations like Australian Marriage Equality, the Human Rights Law Centre, GetUp! and ACON. Later, it turned into a coalition of over 2,000 companies, unions and grassroots community organisations.
Other initiatives also honoured
Meanwhile, an innovative Indigenous program and an initiative to support victims of domestic violence were among the other initiatives honoured.
Philanthropy Australia CEO Sarah Davies said some of the project recognised at this year’s awards had forever changed the national landscape for the better.
“The recipients of the 2018 Awards truly showcase the capacity of philanthropy to contribute to meaningful social change.”
“They demonstrate that philanthropy today is not just about the money – it’s about a vision of what can be better and how philanthropy can help turn this vision into reality through analysis, insight, strategy, partnership, collaboration and risk-taking.”
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