Impact 25 was launched in 2014 in order to recognise the inspirational people in Australia's social sector that do amazing and often unrecognised work."  

Karen Mahlab AM, Founder








Every day, the team at Pro Bono Australia hear stories of inspiring individuals making significant impact in the social sector. From this the desire grew to recognise the important work done in the community, that often goes unnoticed and unthanked. 

The Impact 25 Awards were launched in 2014 to create a platform for peers in the sector to offer this influential recognition. 


Since then, Impact 25 has grown into an esteemed accolade recognising the most influential people in the Australian social sector, as voted by their peers.


Each year, Pro Bono Australia recognises and honours extraordinary people who take action for the needs of their communities and are positive influences on the lives of those around them, often without recognition or thanks.  These awards were developed to create a platform for the social community to celebrate the people who embody the values of the sector.

Right: 2015 Impact 25 winner Rosie Batty

The social sector covers all those people working for the common good. They can sit in not-for-profit organisations, corporations, government, social enterprises or simply be notable individuals.

Some of Australia’s best-known CEOs, politicians, advocates and innovators, along with students and refugees, have been recognised in previous years for their influence on a sector that accounts for 4.3 per centof Australia’s GDP and employs over one million people.


Pro Bono Australia founder Karen Mahlab AM once again encourages the sector to celebrate Australia’s changemakers.


“These influencers provide the building blocks for a resilient community and sustainable change - and its champions should be celebrated.”

Left: 2015 Impact 25 winner Dr. Helen Szoke



The public nominates up to two individuals that they believe should be recognised for their positive impact.


In the 2018 awards, 337 individuals were nominated.





A list of 150 nominees will be released for a public vote.

Pro Bono Australia will create this list from the pool of all submitted nominations. Every effort will be made to create a list of nominees that we believe accurately represents the spirit of the awards and the work being done in the sector, with a view to streamlining the voting process.

You will then vote for up to three of the nominated individuals. The 25 nominees with the most votes will be crowned the Impact 25 award winners.



In addition to the opportunity to be voted by the sector as one of Pro Bono Australia's Impact 25, each nominee will be eligible to win one of three judges choice awards. From the final 25 award winners, our panel of esteemed judges will choose one winner for each of the following three categories: Innovation, Influence, and Collaboration.



An esteemed judging panel awarded three Judges' Choice Awards to three of the 2019 Impact 25 winners. 

Karen Mahlab AM

Karen Mahlab AM

Lisa Cotton

Lisa Cotton

James Barron

James Barron

Impact 25 is an initiative of Pro Bono Australia, in partnership with Community Sector Banking.

Pro Bono Australia is one of Australia’s first social businesses. Since 2000 we have provided media, jobs, education, skilled volunteering and other resources for the common good. In 2015, we helped over one million people across Australia.


Certified in 2013 as a B Corp organisation, today we act as the central online hub for the not for profit sector, the broader social economy and those wanting to engage with it.


The name Pro Bono comes from the Latin term Pro Bono Publico – meaning "for the public, or common good".

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If you have any feedback for Pro Bono Australia or the Impact 25 initiative, contact us via the form below. Alternatively, visit our website


Lisa Cotton

Chief Executive, Ideology Group. She has spent the past 15 years connecting executives to social purpose and is a respected leader in philanthropy and the non-profit sectors. Prior to establishing the Ideology Group, she co-founded and was the CEO of The Funding Network (TFN) - a national award-winning social enterprise that builds the capacity of non-profit entities. In 2017, she was named Third Sector CEO of the Year. In 2016, she was included in Pro-Bono Australia’s Impact 25 list of people.