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From the Chair

Welcome to Australian Communities Foundation’s Annual Report for 2021/22.

With this being the Foundation’s 25th year, I would like to begin by recognising the contributions of our co-founders and Patrons, Marion Webster OAM and Hayden Raysmith AM.

The Foundation was established in 1997 as the Melbourne Community Foundation and ran out of Marion’s spare bedroom in its early years. It is difficult to imagine that Marion and Hayden could predict at the time just how far the Foundation would come in 25 years. As one of the largest charitable foundations in Australia today, we are indebted to their ongoing guidance and support.

In 2021/22, we achieved new giving records with 38 per cent more funding out the door than last year. Thank you to our giving community for stepping up in these uncertain times.

While this time of crises has resulted in volatile financial markets, the Foundation’s dedication to supporting communities is clear: this year we distributed 16.2 per cent of the corpus (up from 12 per cent last year).

In a difficult year for investors, we remained committed to 100 per cent responsible investing and were named a leader in this space by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.

Other milestones include our ongoing Covid relief funding, the expansion of our impact investments into social housing, and the publication of our first report on the Impact Fund’s achievements to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

As Chair, I would like to thank my fellow Directors for another year of inspirational work. This year the Board farewelled long-standing members Michael Gilmore and Sarah Hosking, and welcomed Rueben Berg, Chris Croker and David Ritter, who each bring extensive experience from the for-purpose sector.

My final thanks go to Maree Sidey and the ACF team. Their hard work provides the crucial infrastructure that supports our growing and vibrant giving community.

Eric Beecher

Eric Beecher


“In 2021/22, we achieved new giving records with 38 per cent more funding out the door than last year.”


Australian Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Operations are overseen by a voluntary Board of Directors made up of leaders representing a broad cross-section of the community.

2021/22 Board of Directors

  • Eric Beecher (Chair)
  • Rueben Berg (Joined July 2021)
  • Penny Burke
  • Chris Croker (Joined July 2021)
  • Sue Dahn
  • Michael Gilmore (retired June 2022)
  • Sarah Hosking (retired June 2022)
  • Adam Milgrom
  • Glen Noonan
  • David Ritter (joined April 2022)
  • Cath Smith
  • Malinda Wink
  • Sue Woodward AM (since retired in November 2022)

The ACF Board consists of four committees, which meet quarterly: the Finance, Risk, Audit & IT Committee; the Investment Committee; the Philanthropy & Impact Committee; and the Nominations Committee.

Lastly, ACF co-founders Hayden Raysmith AM and Marion Webster OAM continue to provide guidance as Patrons of the organisation. The ACF Board and team appreciate their ongoing support and dedication to community philanthropy.

We thank our Board, committee members and Patrons for their generous contribution of time and talent to the organisation.

Meet our Board

Australian Communities Foundation is a structurally important institution, crucial to the mission of building a more deeply democratic and compassionate Australia – a nation with the best interests of people and nature at the heart of decision-making… the strength of the ACF community – it is a precious thing.

David Ritter on joining the Board in April 2022 | Read the story

From the CEO

In this year of challenges, Australian Communities Foundation has again stepped up alongside our partners, demonstrating the crucial role that community philanthropy plays in this country.

In 2021/22, our giving community distributed more than ever before – $18.5 million (up from $13.4 million last year) via 1,240 grants to 716 organisations and individuals. This figure is all the more remarkable when you take into account the challenging economic conditions of the last 12 months.

Throughout the year, the Foundation responded to the needs of communities most affected by Covid, the floods in eastern Australia, and the crisis in Ukraine, giving a total of $3.2 million in crisis response funding.

We also saw a rise in collective giving this year with more contributions to our flagship funds, the Impact Fund and the National Crisis Response Fund. In its fifth year, the Impact Fund increased its distribution times nine, mobilising $1.6 million for partners at the forefront of progressive change in Australia.

The Fund continues to back partners doing important work to progress the Uluru Statement, develop meaningful climate change policy, and promote integrity in politics. Celebrating the Impact Fund’s fifth anniversary at the Victorian Pride Centre was one of the year’s highlights.

Across the year, we welcomed over 100 new givers to our community through 74 new funds and foundations. The stories in this Annual Report showcase the unwavering generosity of our community during difficult times.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Australian Communities Foundation this year, particularly our Patrons, our Chair and Board, our fundholders and donors, the fabulous ACF team, our sector partners, and the changemakers and organisations we’re supporting on our shared journey towards a fairer and more sustainable Australia.

Maree Sidey
Chief Executive Officer

Maree Sidey

Chief Executive Officer

In this year of challenges, Australian Communities Foundation has again stepped up alongside our partners.”

Our Team

“I work with hands-down the best team in philanthropy. We have great leadership across the organisation and a group of passionate, enthusiastic professionals who come from many different walks of life but are united around the belief that we can support people and inspire great giving.”

Maree Sidey

Meet our team

Annual Report 2021/22

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