At 19, Donnie Maclurcan broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest journey on foot across Australia, running from Perth to Sydney in 67 days, raising $30,000 for the sight-restoring work ofThe Fred Hollows Foundation. He then spent a decade presenting to school, community and corporate groups about ending avoidable blindness, whilst building a broader background in professional speaking and facilitation. His interest in high -performance sports continued, with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Movement Studies leading to work with over 350 athletes as anexercise physiologist, including coaching the Fijian sailing team. During his 20s, he also worked withSydney’s homeless, then as a telephone counsellor and a coordinator of a lobby group for Aboriginal justice. His time on the NSW Human Rights Education Committee inspired him to spend two challenging years co-developing a case study about the 2002 drowning of 353 asylum seekers on their way to Australia.
With growing frustration at the hurdles facing Australians wanting to make a difference, Donnie established Project Australia. Through pro-bono consultancy, the organisation has helped more than 150 not-for-profit projects start, scale and sustain their work. As the organisation’s lead consultant, Donnie’s ability to provide valuable advice grew through the experience of organizing the Great Australian Bike ride (raising AUD $250,000 for mental health research) and assembling a directory of over 500 community passions and skills in his hometown of Brooklyn.
Continuing an early interest in world affairs, Donnie taught English and mathematics in South Korea, was a journalist at the World Social Forum in Kenya, and obtained a Ph.D. in international development, assessing the impact of nanotechnology on global equality. This resulted in an invitation from the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations to speak at a UNIDO Expert Group Meeting, translation of his research into 20 languages, and the publishing of two books:Nanotechnology and Global Equality and Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability. With his research concluding that global prosperity requires innovating without economic growth, he co-founded the Post Growth Institute - developers of the (En)Rich List, the Post Growth Challenge, andFree Money Day – an international event, now spanning 31 countries, where people hand out their own money to complete strangers, asking them to pass half on to someone else.
In addition to his role at SOU, Donnie is a Distinguished Fellow at the Schumacher Institute, and Associate with the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures. He is presently writing two books: How, on Earth? Flourishing in a Not-For-Profit World by 2050; and Not-for-Profit 2.0: How to start, Scale and Sustain Community Initiatives in a Changing Australia, with his general approach one of building on what's already working, whilst retaining a critical lens by which to make such assessments.