The University of Melbourne has announced a handful of large gifts at the launch of its $500 million extraordinary campaign. Greg Johnson reveals who was behind the $10 million donation.

Allan and Maria Myers are the generous donors behind a $10 million gift announced at the launch of the University of Melbourne’s Believe campaign last month. The university is aiming to raise $500 million by 2017 in what will be the organisation’s largest philanthropic campaign in its 160-year history.

The Myers’ gift isn’t only the largest donation by individuals in the institution’s history; it also marks a new chapter in the family’s philanthropy. One of Australia’s top commercial lawyers, Myers was once very private about his giving yet that has change in recent years – with his appointment as National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) president an important turning point, which lead to a $6 million gift to NGV’s Asian art acquisition fund in 2008. Now five years on, Myers isn’t only responsible for a lead donation to the university’s campaign – he’s also the campaign board’s chairman.

“This campaign will help build on [the university’s] legacy and will ensure the university can stand tall with the greatest universities in the world, all of which have a common ambition to have a lasting and positive impact on society – be that through educating great and compassionate leaders, or meeting global challenges through research,” said Myers.

The Myers’ gift was just one of $42 million in new donations announced at the launch of the university’s campaign, titled Believe; The Campaign for the University of Melbourne. Also announced on the evening was $5 million from Financial Markets Foundation for Children for a chair of developmental mental health, plus a $10 million combined donation from The Ian Potter Foundation, Martyn and Louise Myer and The Myer Foundation for the development of the Southbank Campus.

The university is half-way to its goal, having raised $249 million towards the $500 million target since 2008. Melbourne’s campaign launch comes just weeks after a similar campaign launch by the University of Sydney, which announced it has raised $317 million towards its campaign goal of $600 million.

Myer is joined on the campaign’s 20-member board by a distinguished list of businesspeople and philanthropists, including: Leigh Clifford AO, Martyn Myer AO, Elizabeth Alexander AM, Sir Roderick Carnegie AC, Sir James Gobbo AC CVO, Mr Hugh Morgan AC, Lady Potter AC and Mrs Jeanne Pratt AC.

Subscribe to access this article.

Continue reading your article with an F&P subscription

Join with other top fundraisers to receive insight, analysis and inspiration to help you raise more funds.

subscribe now for $1

Cancel anytime.

Already a subscriber? LOGIN HERE