Ambassadors for Change
Meet some Australian grantmakers and donors who apply a gender lens to their philanthropy and/or are specifically investing in women and girls …
Angus White, Director, Mundango Abroad
“Mundango Abroad is a small private ancillary fund set up my parents to support Australian DGRs that work overseas. We have been targeting projects that are focused on education, water and women and girls. It is clear to us that assisting women and girls in developing countries is a critical aspect of enhancing these societies. The work of organisations assisting women and girls is wide-ranging and inspiring.Read More ..
Our support has included funding teaching resources for the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia, addressing high maternal mortality rates and cases of obstetric fistula. The work of Dr Catherine Hamlin and her late husband is truly breathtaking in the transformation provided to these women.
We funded an International Women’s Development Agency full evaluation of a safe house in Cambodia which provides support and a safe place for women and children escaping violence and abuse. Evaluations such as these help organisations in the longer-term conduct relevant work and continually improve on what they do. Often our funding indirectly targets women and girls, such as clean water projects. These significantly reduce the time spent collecting water, and improve safety and education access. Recently we have supported microfinance as a means of significantly benefitting women in West Timor.”
Carol Schwartz AM, Chairman, Trawalla Foundation
“Alan and I established the Trawalla Foundation as a vehicle for our family's life-long philanthropic activities. Our intentions are to invest in social enterprises and opportunities that focus on arts, ideas, innovation and scholarship. Importantly however, we do this with a gender lens.Read More ..
We are always inspired by individuals and organisations that have a vision for our nation, and we are privileged to be supporting many amazing Australians through our giving. Critical however to our nationís future is how we embrace the development, support and promotion of the talented women and girls within our community.
I am passionate about how Australia can better promote women into leadership positions. And alongside the other trustees, Trawalla has made many decisions that support females. Our most recent inclusions have been scholarships for young female students through Western Chances through to training of indigenous women health workers so that they can take a leadership position in their communities. There are many exciting opportunities to grant funds to impressive women in our community.
Importantly however, at Trawalla we consider ourselves social investors who can effect change through leveraging our money twice: through investment and grant distribution. Therefore we have taken the decision to promote the participation of women in executive positions by screening our Australian equities investments for the Trawalla corpus based on the new ASX reporting regime. We are now able to use the reported proportions of women employees in the organisation, in senior management and on the board as one of our investment criteria for our fund. We believe that this is a very powerful way to support corporate women leaders, who continue to deliver strong results for their corporations.”
Tracey Steggall, Founder and Director, The Horizon Foundation
“I established The Horizon Foundation in 2004 to structure our giving and as a way of expressing our family values over the long term. Working with projects that prioritize women and girls has been a natural evolution in Horizon’s strategy, resonating with my belief that the empowerment of women is an issue which transcends national boundaries, and that all society benefits when women are treated equally.Read More ..
The Horizon Foundation’s recent projects include supporting a doctoral fellowship for a female candidate at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS). SIMS is the principal marine research institute on the South East Australian coast. We have also worked with the Indochina Starfish Foundation in Cambodia, to introduce traditional Khmer dance classes to the highly disadvantaged children from the rubbish dumps of Phnom Penh whom ISF educates. The young girls who take part in the programme also learn, often for the first time, about their own rich cultural history, and acquire much needed vocational skills by making their own costumes.
In Australia and the rest of the world it remains vitally important to recognise and promote female participation and leadership in business, government and public life; for women to have a voice in the decisions that affect us all. We also recognise the severe levels of disadvantage and discrimination that affect women in developing countries, and believe in working with others to improve outcomes for women and their families - particularly in addressing the complex areas of health, education, poverty and violence against women.
We look to honour and strengthen women’s roles in creating, shaping and leading families, communities and society.”
Geoff Manchester, Chairperson, The Intrepid Foundation
“When Darrell Wade and I started Intrepid Travel back in 1989, we made a commitment to contribute back to the communities where we do business, in ways that would help support the locals' initiatives to improve their lives. In 2002, we established The Intrepid Foundation to improve the effectiveness of our philanthropic activities and to better engage Intrepid travellers. Travellers are invited to contribute to any of the projects supported through The Intrepid Foundation and Intrepid Travel matches their donations, dollar for dollar, and entirely funds the administration costs so that 100% of public donations reach the nominated project.Read More ..
It's very clear that in many of the places where we operate, women bear the brunt of disadvantage and if we can help provide them with better opportunities, the whole community will benefit. Many of the around 50 non-government organisations supported through The Intrepid Foundation, address women's health, education and empowerment. Project support has included funding girls that have dropped out of school, to return to school through 'Spring Bud' in China, nutrition education programs with women in the Sacred Valley in Peru through 'Living Heart', legal rights education programs for HIV impacted women and their families in Uganda through 'Plan', and women's advocacy programs through The Alola Foundation in nearby Timor-Leste.
Last year, all of our management group read the book, 'Half the Sky', which stimulated discussion on how as a business we could better advocate for opportunities for women. One action we have taken is to fund the first stage of the making of an important documentary, "I Am A Girl", via The Documentary Australia Foundation. This film will tell the stories of ten different girls in ten different countries around the world. We are very hopeful this film will raise awareness of inequality for girls by bringing the issues to a wider audience and help to facilitate change.”
Colin Tate, Private Donor, Sydney
“I know the answer to ending global poverty is through empowering women. That's why I fund The Hunger Project.”
Harold Mitchell AC, The Harold Mitchell Foundation
My family established The Harold Mitchell Foundation in 2000 as a way of increasing our commitment to a range of philanthropic initiatives that we are passionate about both in Australia and overseas, particularly in the areas of health and the arts.Read More ..
Over the past decade, we have supported almost 150 programs. I know the importance of understanding how our work impacts on women and girls as well as men and boys.
I am currently Chairman of CARE Australia and support their commitment to put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of their overseas development work. I am supporting a CARE project in Timor-Leste which is helping to prevent young girls from dropping out of school by improving knowledge and understanding of health and hygiene and improving the maintenance of toilet facilities in schools, as this is a key reason for young girls leaving school in grades five and six.
When girls stay in school, they can be catalysts for important social changes within their families and communities. An educated girl is more likely to have healthier children and bring skills to the household to assist with income generation to help overcome poverty.
By establishing The Harold Mitchell Foundation, we hope that we encourage others to increase their giving where they have the means. ‘We all have the capacity to give. I hope that increasing numbers of Australians will give something back to the community - each according to their means.’
Joan Lefroy, Private Donor, Melbourne
"As a family, we value the opportunity to share our good fortune with others by empowering remarkable people to achieve extraordinary things - like the remarkable scientists at the Bruce Lefroy Centre at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, who are leading international efforts to improve genetic health outcomes.Read More ..
We also know that women are an undervalued resource. They are instinctive creators of improved health, welfare and education who, given the opportunity, will create a better future for everyone in their community. That's why we support the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, which is educating a cohort of the best and brightest young women from developing countries across Asia to create a new generation of inspiring female role models in the region. The university's students have already begun to contribute to the resolution of poverty, civil strife, hunger and health issues in their home communities, once again proving the power of education to transform the world. We see this happening before our eyes and feel privileged to share their journey.
As Kofi Annan said, "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family ... [and] ... gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance."
Jill Reichstein, Chair, Reichstein Foundation
“My first involvement with the world of philanthropy was when I was involved with the first women’s refuge in Victoria and we wrote to the Myer Foundation for operating costs. We were funded and it opened my eyes to the creative way philanthropy could create social change while empowering women to take more control of their lives. Given the opportunity and capacity, women can change their lives and the institutions which create their disempowerment.Read More ..
This early involvement in community development and women’s issues informed my future thinking that philanthropy was a very powerful tool to create social change and it has been the mission of the Reichstein Foundation since the early 1980’s. We go in and support organisations which are tackling issues to bring about structural change. It takes time, patience and resources, not only money to see results.
The Reichstein Foundation funds social justice, so a majority of our projects are working with women and girls as they are often the most marginalised people in our society. Whether it is funding the Women’s Circus or newly-arrived African women’s groups or the widows of men who died of asbestosis, their fight for justice and their passion for change is an inspiring force to partner with.
It’s been an amazing journey to watch women and organisations grow often with small amounts of money. And to work with a wonderful community of women donors who have supported and inspired change.”
Naomi Milgrom AO, Women in Science Fellowship
The Women in Science Fellowship is a new initiative that aims to actively redress the gender imbalance in science by creating a Fellowship for female scientific team leaders at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes to be awarded to a new recipient every five years. The Fellowship is an extension of the HFI’s current policy of gender equity in science.Read More ..
On a personal level, this Fellowship unites two of my core commitments; my commitment to support research into the brain and my commitment to advance women in the professions and in the workforce.
I have always valued the opportunity to empower gifted and passionate women to achieve remarkable things. Within my own business, the CEO’s of both Sussan and Sportsgirl are young women whom I have encouraged into top leadership positions and whom I have personally mentored. Within the community, I have funded many programs supporting women and girls, including a Women’s Coaching Program which aims to instill confidence and healthy lifestyle choices in young women during their formative years. So, when Professor Geoffrey Donnan opened my eyes to the enormous obstacles in career progression that women scientists face, not only at the HFI, but in the entire profession, I knew the Women in Science Fellowship was an initiative I could passionately embrace.
The figures of inequality for women scientists are staggering. 67% of the Florey’s Honours and Ph.D students are women. Half the post-doctoral students are women. And yet at the Parkville campus where most of the basic science is carried out, there is not one female senior researcher! These figures reflect a situation that is a nation-wide phenomenon for women in science in Australia. The knock-on effect of this inequality is a massive attrition rate of over 50% of our best and brightest women scientists!
The HFI is to be congratulated for its proactive approach and it’s policy of gender equity. However, it takes more than changes in law or policy to change practices in the home, community and in the decision making environment. I am a passionate believer in the crucial role the private sector can play in empowering women and alleviating gender discrimination and I am honoured to be able to contribute in this arena and to assist the advancement of women to allow them to achieve their full potential.
More Ambassadors Coming Soon...