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The Top Philanthropic Gifts of 2014


Thursday, 15th January 2015 at 11:04 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
2014 has been declared as the year of the “mega gifts”, with some of the biggest philanthropic donations ever seen in Australia’s history being made.

Thursday, 15th January 2015
at 11:04 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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The Top Philanthropic Gifts of 2014
Thursday, 15th January 2015 at 11:04 am

2014 has been declared as the year of the “mega gifts”, with some of the biggest philanthropic donations ever seen in Australia’s history being made.

It was the year when healthcare and media entrepreneur Paul Ramsay left his $3 billion fortune – the largest single charitable donation ever in Australia – to his personal foundation, and Westpac gave $100 million – the largest corporate gift ever in Australia – to set up a private education scholarship, the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

A list of the top 15 known philanthropic gifts of last year totalled more than $3.41 billion, with a $200 million pledge from billionaire businessman James Packer to set up a philanthropic foundation joining Mr Ramsay’s and Westpac’s donations in the top three.

In 2014 universities were favoured by philanthropists with the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the University of Western Australia all sharing in $66.4 million worth of donations.

Real estate mogul Michael Buxton donated his $10 million collection of contemporary art to the University of Melbourne along with $16 million to build a gallery to house it.

Philanthropy Australia CEO, Louise Walsh, said Australia had seen a boom in philanthropic gifts in the last year.

“2014 was a very exciting year for philanthropy in Australia, a year when giving really took a step to the next level,” Walsh said.

“We’ve seen some seriously huge ‘mega gifts’, which will make a big impact in our community and hopefully also encourage others to think big with their giving.”

Walsh said the “mega gifts” would have a big impact on the Australian community, but that smaller gifts were also vital.

“There was the incredibly generous bequest by Paul Ramsay to his foundation, at a reported amount of $3 Billion is the biggest gift we’ve ever seen in Australia by far.

“Westpac also raised the bar for corporate philanthropy, with their $100 Million scholarships foundation, the biggest one off corporate gift we’ve seen in Australia. A gift of $200 Million by the Crown Resorts Foundation and the Packer family also caught everybody’s attention,” Walsh said.

“I’m hoping that the trend continues, and others are inspired by these acts of generosity.

“Big gifts are fantastic and we want to see more of them, and we also want to see a broader culture of philanthropy develop and flourish in Australia. 2014 also saw the rise of giving circles like Impact 100 Melbourne and Impact 100 SA, which are a very exciting development.

“It’s important that we aim to grow giving in all its forms, we also want to see more people engaged in philanthropy through giving circles, workplace giving and community foundations.

“Lots of relatively small contributions from lots of people can and do have a big impact in our community.”

The largest known philanthropic gifts in Australia during 2014 were:

Amount Funder Recipient
Approx $3B Paul Ramsay Ramsay Foundation
$200M Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer family. National Philanthropic Foundation
$100M Westpac Westpac Bicentennial Fund
$26M Michael Buxton University of Melbourne
$20M ($5M over four years) BHP Billiton Telethon Kids Institute
$10.4M Prof Brian Trudinger Uni of Sydney
$10M Greg Poche AO Uni of Melb
$10M Greg Poche AO Uni of QLD
$7.8M Ian Potter Foundation Questacon
$5M Wesfarmers Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
$5M McCusker Charitable Foundation Uni of WA Centre for Citizenship
$5M Roy & Nola Thompson University of the Sunshine Coast
$5M The Nelune Foundation Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick
$5M Wesfarmers Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
$4.5M BHP Billiton Royal Flying Doctors Service


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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