A 2% decline on the year before, but still worth $942 million – what the AFR Philanthropy 50 List tells us about Australia’s mega-giving.

The latest Australian Financial Review (AFR) Philanthropy 50 List is here, sharing Australia’s top 50 givers of FY20/21. And what’s clear is that those who give big continue to fill the gap left by declining mass-market giving. 

Philanthropists and corporates have expanded their generosity in response to the catastrophic weather events of Summer 2019 and the pandemic that swiftly followed, says the report’s creator, John McLeod of  JBWere Philanthropic Services. 

“The really pleasing aspect of the past two years has been how both large-scale private and corporate giving has stepped up, firstly during bushfires and then COVID-19,” says John. “The doubling in giving since our first list six years ago and the 13 new names this year, including five large bequests, shows the growing spread of philanthropy and hints at the potential for much more.” 

Let’s first explore the top-level insights before we unearth the new additions to the pack. 

Top of the tops 

The total value of donations given by the top 50 is $942 million, a 2% drop on FY19/20’s $964 million.  

The minimum donation needed to make the list was $4.4 million, slightly higher than 19/20’s $4 million, and 20 donations were worth more than $10 million.  

The largest philanthropic support of $143.1 million came from the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Joining them in the top three are the Minderoo Foundation with $109.7 million and the Yajilarra Trust with $104.1 million. The latter organisation was founded by MYOB founder Craig Winkler and his occupational therapist wife, Di, who increased on their giving of $81.3 million in the previous year.  

Noble newcomers  

Martin and Loreto Hosking, the founders of online art marketplace, Redbubble, gave $12 million to Monash University and $10 million to Melbourne University via their Three Springs Foundation.

Also new to this year’s list is Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy Australasia, which has grown its giving towards education support from $1.6 million to $7.8 million. 

Other newcomers are the Besen Family Foundation ($4.4 million), Corbett and Yueji Lyon ($5.4 million), Harry Triguboff Foundation (6.2 million), Peter Freedman ($5 million), Peter Griffin and Terry Swann Foundation ($5 million), Profield Foundation ($5.6 million), and the Estates of Alexander Cambitoglou ($6 million), John Perrett ($19 million), Julianna Lowy ($25 million), Olga Tennison ($45 million), Patricia McDonald ($7 million).  

Bequests contributed an incredible $102 million, or 11% of the total value of the top 50 list, and were, of course, led by the, aforementioned, Olga Tennison who died in January 2020, leaving a $45 million gift to La Trobe University for autism research.  

A recap on key stats 

  • $942 million – the total value of the 2022 Philanthropy 50 list  
  • $143.1 million – the largest amount of philanthropic support, from the Paul Ramsay Foundation 
  • $4.4million – the minimum gift amount needed to be included in the 2022 Philanthropy 50 list 
  • 13 newcomers, contributing $133.6 million and 14% of the overall total  
  • 5 bequests, contributing $102 million and 11% of the total  

The Top 50 in full 

Here it is, the complete list of Australia’s top 50 most generous philanthropic donors in FY20/21:  

Rank  Philanthropist / Organisation Name   Donation value FY20/21 ($M)  Area of support 
1   Paul Ramsay Foundation   143.1   Breaking the cycle of disadvantage though early childhood and school learning, transition to employment, thriving communities  
2   Minderoo Foundation   109.7   Fire & flood resilience, plastic waste, cancer collaboration, flourishing oceans, early childhood, walkfree/modern slavery  
3   Yajilarra Trust   104.1   Australia’s First Nations people, climate change, disability, Christian faith  
4   Lowy Foundation and family   69.8   Lowy Medical Research Institute and Lowy Institute for International Policy  
5   Estate of Olga Tennison   45.0   Autism research at La Trobe University  
6   Ian Potter Foundation & Cultural Trust   28.8   Arts, community wellbeing, early childhood, environment, health and medical research, sector support  
7   Pratt Philanthropies   28.4   Food security, mental health, arts, education, cancer care, Jewish life, environment, bushfires, COVID-19  
8   Kinghorn Foundation   26.2   Medical research, poverty and Australian youth  
9   Estate of Julianna Lowy   25.0   JewishCare Foundation for support of JewishCare, Sydney  
10   Three Springs Foundation   22.0   Monash Uni Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies; University of Melbourne Contemplative Studies Centre  
11   Judith Neilson Foundation & charitable trusts   20.6   Arts , education, international aid, Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas  
12   Graham and Louise Tuckwell   20.0   Part of $100m for two halls of residence at Australian National University, partners the Tuckwell Scholarship Program  
13   Stan Perron Charitable Trust   19.3   Disadvantage and youth particularly in Western Australia, improving children’s health, cultural enrichment  
14   Estate of John Perrett   19.0   Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Nephrology  
15   Gandel Foundation   14.0   Arts, education, COVID-19, health and medical research, youth at risk, Jewish identity, Indigenous, poverty and disadvantage  
16   Terry Snow and Snow Foundations   13.9   Canberra Grammar, biomedical research, homelessness, domestic violence, disadvantage, Indigenous health, ageing, disability  
17   Peter and Lyndy White Foundation   12.6   Homelessness & disadvantage, youth, family and aged care  
18   Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund   11.8   Arts, sustainability and environment, water security, poverty and disadvantage, mental health, rights and justice, education  
19   Neilson Foundation   11.5   Arts, universities and welfare  
20   Vincent Fairfax Family Foundations   10.3     
21   Planet Wheeler Foundation   9.3   International development focused on health, education and human rights, refugees and climate change  
22   Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation   8.6   Health and medical research  
23   R E Ross Trust   8.4   Educational equity and biodiversity conservation in Victoria  
24   Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation   7.8   Medical research, public hospitals and universities  
25   Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy Australasia   7.8   Education support  
26   Miller Foundation   7.3   Health and medical research, social services, environment  
27   Scanlon Foundation   7.2   Improving social cohesion particularly for the transition of migrants into Australian society  
28   Susan McKinnon Foundation   7.1   Effective government, international leadership and obesity prevention  
29   Estate of Patricia McDonald   7.0   Australian Museum Foundation for First Nations knowledge systems research and grants program  
30   Packer Family Foundations   6.9     
31   Eldon & Anne Foote Trust & sub fund in LMCF   6.8   Environment, health, education, social causes, medical research, arts  
32   Ernest Heine Family Foundation   6.4   Medical research and social services  
33   Harry Triguboff Foundation   6.2   Health and medical research  
34   Shine On Foundation   6.1   Social services, economic, social and community development  
35   Andrew Thyne Reid Charitable Trust   6.0   Arts, higher education, medical research, welfare  
36   Hansen Little Foundation   6.0   University of Melbourne; part of $30m for hall of residence and scholarships, arts and medical research  
37   Estate of Alexander Cambitoglou   6.0   University of Sydney for Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens  
38   Tim Fairfax Family Foundation   5.7   Arts, education & community initiatives in rural, regional and remote communities of Queensland and the Northern Territory  
39   Lang Walker Family Foundation   5.6   Macarthur Medical Research Centre with Western Sydney University  
40   Profield Foundation   5.6   Education, poverty, health  
41   Baker Foundation   5.6   Health and medical research  
42   Corbett and Yueji Lyon   5.4   Mainly artworks for Lyon House museum  
43   Collier Charitable Fund   5.2   Welfare, public hospitals, education and religion  
44   Peter Griffin and Terry Swann Foundation   5.0   University of Melbourne, Chair in Economic History  
45   Peter Freedman   5.0   Sydney Festival  
46   William Buckland Foundation   4.8   Vulnerable Victorians through housing, health, employment and education and regional communities  
47   Noel and Carmel O’Brien Family Foundation   4.8   International aid and education  
48   JO & JR Wicking Trust   4.7   Wellness and quality of life for the aged and those with or at risk of Alzheimer’s disease  
49   McCusker Charitable Foundation   4.4   Medical research and advancement of science, conservation/environment, education, arts  
50   Besen Family Foundation   4.4   Health and welfare, Jewish interests, arts 


To see last year’s Philanthropy 50 List, click here.  


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