100 Years of Impact – Celebrating Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Australia’s largest independent community foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, will celebrate its centenary throughout 2023. Founded by Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sir John Swanson in 1923, the Foundation was first named the Lord Mayor’s Fund for Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities. This celebratory year is a historic milestone not only for Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation but also for Australian community philanthropy. 

While reflecting on its inspiring history, the Foundation is also preparing for the future and the important projects that will require insightful funding. The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Catherine Brown OAM explains, “The centenary year provides an extraordinary opportunity for us to celebrate the Foundation’s contribution to Melbourne, and importantly, to prepare for Melbourne’s future challenges.”

As a community foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation is both a grantmaking and fundraising organisation.

For 100 years, generations of Melburnians have supported the Foundation through fundraising appeals, gifts in their wills and community and collective giving. This has enabled the Foundation to respond to the issues and challenges of the day, from extreme poverty, to disasters, to homelessness and now the impacts of climate change. It is renowned for its innovative grantmaking and funding of new solutions to address ongoing issues.

“Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation is built upon the generosity of our community, and without that support, we wouldn’t have been able to make the impact we do today on economic inequality, disaster and pandemic response, and climate change,” says Dr Brown.

In this edition of F&P, Dr Brown provides an insight into the Foundation’s grantmaking program and some helpful tips to submit a successful grant application. 

Visit lmcf.org.au


Australia’s top 50 corporate givers invested $1.22 billion in philanthropy in 2022, up $50 million from the year prior. The largest dollar contributions came from BHP, Coles, CSL, Rio Tinto and Westpac. 


(Source: GivingLarge 2022, Strive Philanthropy)

Why is the charity sector vulnerable to cyber-attacks?

Late last year, children’s charity, The Smith Family, was hit by an (unsuccessful) cyber-attack. According to a new report from Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, Cyber threat report: UK charity sector, there are several reasons why charities are particularly susceptible:

1 Charities are attractive targets for many hostile actors seeking financial gain, access to sensitive or valuable information, or to disrupt charities’ activities.

2 Charities may feel reluctant to spend resources, money, oversight and staff effort on enhancing cyber security rather than on front line charitable work.

3 Charities have a high volume of staff who work part time, including volunteers, and so might have less capacity to absorb security procedures.

4 Charities are more likely to rely on staff using personal IT (Bring Your Own Device) which is less easy to secure and manage then centrally issued IT.

According to the report, the impact of any cyber-attack on charities can be devasting as they “often have limited funds, minimal insurance coverage and, by their very nature, are a supplier of last resort services providing where there is insufficient government or affordable private sector alternatives.”

Commenting on the report, Chief Executive of the UK Charities Commission for England and Wales, Helen Stephenson, said: “Taking steps to stay secure online is not an optional extra for trustees, but a core part of good governance.”

In Australia, Infoxchange’s 2022 Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector report found half of over 600 organisations surveyed had no information security policies or any detailed response plan in place should their data be compromised. 


10 ideas that will matter

10 areas Philanthropy Australia members will focus on this year:

1 Addressing power imbalances (between funders and grant recipients)

2 Building capacity (of nonprofit organisations)

3 Deepening collaboration

4 Including beneficiaries’ voices

5 Investing for social impact

6 Measuring impact

7 Paying what it takes (see PA’s report on the need to fund charities’ overhead costs)

8 Engaging government in philanthropy

9 Shifting funding strategies to be more issue-specific and untied

10 Vocalising philanthropy’s place as “everyone’s responsibility”

(Source: Better Philanthropy Telescope, Philanthropy Australia, December 2022)



A unique, impactful fundraising experience

Trek Yuin Country, newly launched by Soulful Concepts, is a cultural immersion experience combining Indigenous culture and hiking through nature — a unique donor experience to engage your supporters and raise funds. The three-day trek through Morton National Park in NSW includes Indigenous workshops and learning about First Nations culture from a Yuin Country elder. 

Soulful Concepts experiences raise important funds to support local environmental sustainability, help build resilient communities and make positive, long-lasting change. Travellers return home with a greater understanding and appreciation of country, history and culture.

Learn more about culture and nature-based philanthropic travel company Soulful Concepts and its fundraising experiences at soulfulconcepts.com.


Nurturing philanthropy can develop self-identity & create meaning

“What matters is not whether it is the community’s needs or the donor’s needs that are served by philanthropy,” says new UK research. “Rather, what matters is how serving the community’s needs can become an integral part of who donors are.” 

A new report, Meaningful Philanthropy in the 21st Century: The Role of Self, from the Institute of Sustainable Philanthropy, suggests that through the act of giving we express certain identities and that if fundraisers can successfully help donors find true meaning in philanthropic endeavours, more people will give and give more.  

What does this ‘meaning’ look like? For many philanthropists, it mirrors their (often highly successful) careers: they want to do business in a certain sector (and give to a particular cause), they want to operate in ways that work for them (and donate through a means that appeals to their logic), they want to apply their moral conviction (use renewable energy in business and support climate action in philanthropy) and they want to apply their personal, moral and relational identities (I am creative, I want to help those less fortunate than me, I am part of the LGBTIQA+ community). 

How do fundraisers tap into these identities and help them blossom? 

1 Reflection Fundraisers can help philanthropists understand what is important to their self-identity, what cause they want to support and how they want to support it.  

2 Alignment Understand how a donor’s identity aligns with a focal community/cause. By having common meaning, both parties feel like architects and owners of the outcomes. Help adjust donor expectations and meaning if their philanthropic aspirations need to adapt. 

3 Unknowns Establish how a philanthropist will tolerate unknowns and plan accordingly. If they are funding a capital campaign, how will you liaise on construction delays? Are they funding scientific research; what will happen if a discovery is not made, or the research goes in a different direction? Forewarned is forearmed. 

4 Inspire Tell people considering philanthropy that it can provide a rich source of meaning in their life.

5 Listen Observe changes in a philanthropist’s life. Have grandchildren arrived? Have they sold their business or launched a new one? Have they become involved in other areas of philanthropy? Stay informed because identity and meaning is not static. 


Meet Jaffa

Jaffa is a therapy dog at Victorian children’s charity, Very Special Kids, bringing joy and comfort to children and young people with life-limiting conditions. The organisation’s therapy dog program is made possible by a two-year partnership with The Petspiration Foundation.