|Deborra-lee’s humanitarian work for children is a driving force in her life. She is Patron of the Lighthouse Foundation for displaced children in Melbourne Australia; Patron of the Bone Marrow Donor Institute for children with leukemia; Patron of International Adoptive Families of Queensland. She is also on the boards of Adopt Change Australia, World Wide Orphans Australia and is on the advisory committee for the Global Poverty Project.|
Deborra-lee founded National Adoption Awareness Week and Adopt Change in Australia, focusing on improving adoption programs, procedures and legislation, raising awareness and understanding of the issues of vulnerable children. In 2014 NAAW achieved the goal of new legislation being passed by the Australian government to greatly approve procedures surrounding adoption.
For her advocacy work she has been honored by World Wide Orphans in New York, Joint Council USA and in 2013 was given the prestigious award of Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in Washington DC. The Harlem Village Academies honored Deborra-lee and her husband Hugh for their philanthropy work in 2012.
She was presented with the 2014 International Humanitarian Award in Utah by Mentors International. Most recently, Deborra-lee was named NSW Australian of the Year for 2015.