Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation - The heart of community philanthropy in Melbourne



In 2023 we are celebrating our centenary and honouring the inspiring vision of founding Lord Mayor Sir John Swanson and the history of Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to mark this incredible milestone.

From our early fundraising appeals in 1923 to today’s social impact investment, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has always been at the heart of community philanthropy in Melbourne. We have helped to create Melbourne’s reputation as the home of philanthropy in Australia.

Today we are one of Australia’s largest philanthropic organisations, leading a community of people who work together to influence and support positive social change through our inspired philanthropy.

Over the past 100 years, with the support of many generations of Melburnians, we have fundraised to provide $197 million in grants, valued today at approximately $590 million. Our impact on the health and wellbeing of Melbourne is significant.

We have always been prepared to identify emerging issues and be early funders of innovative projects that minimise the impact of these issues on our community.  We continue to be visionary and have our eye on the future. This is achieved through our research, grants program and our support of collective giving, social impact investment, social enterprise and the decarbonisation of our investment portfolio.

As a community foundation we are by and for the people of Melbourne. We connect people together to tackle the issues affecting Melbourne through collaborations and convening networks. Our projects bring together people from different sectors of our community - business, government, academic, commercial and not-for-profit sectors - that would otherwise not work together on issues as a collective group.

Our grantmaking initiatives and philanthropic services for donors support our vision for Melbourne as an inclusive, sustainable and thriving city for all people.
 
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More Century of Impact articles
Homelessness and Affordable Housing: Solving Melbourne’s Most Pressing Crisis
Homelessness and Affordable Housing: Solving Melbourne’s Most Pressing Crisis

Homelessness has always been part of the agenda for Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. But 100 years on, it is invested in solving the problem once and for all.

Responding to the Climate Challenge: Fighting for Melbourne’s Future on a Changing Planet
Responding to the Climate Challenge: Fighting for Melbourne’s Future on a Changing Planet

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has faced down a century’s worth of crises. But the looming threat of climate change is probably its greatest challenge yet.

Community Giving: Melbourne’s Generous History
Community Giving: Melbourne’s Generous History

The Foundation has never just been about wealthy donors and big cheques – the community has always had a collective and essential part to play.