Felton Bequest Turns 100!
26 April 2004 at 1:04 pm
The Centenary of the Felton Bequest has given Australians a golden opportunity to recognise philanthropy and to celebrate the good that comes from giving, according the Philanthropy Australia.
When Alfred Felton died 100 years ago he left the majority of his personal wealth to the Victorian community.
Elizabeth Cham from Philanthropy Australia says this amazing sum of money totalling close to a million pounds (or $35 million in today’s terms) was pledged to art and charity through the establishment of the Felton Bequest.
At the time the donation was the largest on record in Australia.
Cham says the long-term impact of philanthropists like Alfred Felton cannot be underestimated.
Philanthropy Australia hosted a special celebration in honour of the Centenary at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Alfred Felton (1831-1904) established the Bequest in his Will to support community and culture, with half of the funding benefiting charities (particularly those supporting women and children) and the other half used to acquire and donate artworks to the National Gallery of Victoria.
An avid art collector, he lived for many years in two large rooms of the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, surrounded by a jumble of artwork. When he established the Bequest in his Will, half of the funding was set aside specifically for the acquisition of artworks to be donated to the National Gallery of Victoria.
Sir Gustav Nossal the Chair of the Felton Bequest Committee says the Felton Bequest approaches funding strategically, awarding gifts to projects that are innovative, catalytic and that can make a sustained difference beyond the life of the funds.
Sir Gustav told the celebration audience that Alfred Felton has affected Victoria culturally and socially through an incredibly generous donation that will always be considered phenomenal.
He says he is one of many Australians better off for Felton’s generosity.
He says those who have had the magical opportunity to marvel at Tiepolo’s “Banquet of Cleopatra” at the National Gallery of Victoria owe thanks to Alfred Felton. Countless children at risk who have been assisted by early intervention and fostering programs owe thanks to Alfred Felton. Offenders and their families, disadvantaged Australians in rural and regional areas, women at risk, rehabilitated drug users… all have Alfred Felton and his Bequests to thank.
Sir Gustav says Alfred Felton remains one of Australia’s greatest philanthropists and he is grateful for the opportunity to publicly recognise the impact his generosity continues to have a hundred years after his death.