At a glance

View the Foundation's Strategic Plan 2022 - 2025 »


A thriving Melbourne for all.


As a community foundation, we work in partnership with our stakeholders to lead positive change. We do this through innovative and inspired philanthropy. This includes granting, community engagement, partnerships, research, sharing knowledge, influencing policy and impact investment.


Accountable: We are accountable to our donors.

Brave: We believe in philanthropy’s role in supporting the testing of new ideas and demonstrating innovative solutions.

Collaborative: We work as a team internally and understand the added value of working collaboratively with diverse partners.

Creative: We learn from what we do and fund.

Ethical: We apply an ethical lens to our granting and investments.

Relevant: We use research and learning to make sure we are funding and working on issues that are relevant to the community today.

Respectful: We respect difference within our team and our community.

At Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation, we are passionate about strategic and donor-advised granting as part of our philanthropy.

As well as providing donor-advised services, we also raise funds for our special Initiatives that are tackling current community challenges.

As the community foundation for Greater Melbourne, we enable our community of donors and grant partners to make a difference to local communities across Greater Melbourne.

Our vision is for a thriving Melbourne for all people.

As a leading Australian foundation, with a commitment to building the capacity of the charitable sector and growing philanthropy, we provide grants of national importance.

Through our inspiring place-based grantmaking program, commitment to sector capacity building and expertise in philanthropic giving, we provide our community with a range of collaborative grantmaking programs and philanthropic giving options.

This allows people to contribute effectively and meaningfully to important social change initiatives.

Learn more about our place-based giving and grantmaking in Greater Melbourne and beyond.


Our approach to philanthropy

As a macro community foundation, we collaborate with our stakeholders to drive positive social change across Greater Melbourne.

Our approach is founded on innovative and inspired philanthropy, encompassing various elements from the philanthropy toolbox including grantmaking, community engagement, collaborative funding partnerships, research, knowledge sharing, policy influence, impact investment and a range of philanthropic services for donors.

Our Impact Areas include Healthy & Climate Resilient Communities, Homelessness & Affordable Housing, Generous Melbourne (charity sector capacity building) and Inclusive, Sustainable Economy & Jobs.

Our current Initiatives are Affordable Housing Challenge, Next Economy Jobs Challenge, Climate Resilient Neighbourhoods and our NFP Impact Accelerator Hub (to open in October 2023).

Established in 1923 by Lord Mayor Sir John Swanson to centralise and organise fundraising and grantmaking in support of Melbourne’s public hospitals, the Foundation continues to lead an innovative and proactive philanthropic community.

In 1930 a Victorian Act of Parliament was passed, and an endowment fund was established to ensure the Foundation would continue to support Melbourne in perpetuity.

Partnerships are vital to our work, as we establish relationships with like-minded organisations, businesses, and individuals who share our commitment to community philanthropy. Our WISE (Work Integration Social Enterprise) grant program is an inspiring example of this.

Through collaborations, we have pooled resources, expertise, and networks to amplify our impact and achieve meaningful results together. Our Affordable Housing Challenge Initiative with Housing Choices Australia and City of Darebin has resulted in 39 affordable housing units in Preston.

Our giving circles, Youth in Philanthropy program and community funds with local government also highlight our community connections.

Research plays a crucial role in informing our strategic plan. Through rigorous studies, networking and gathering insights, we gain a deeper understanding of the pressing issues facing our community.

This knowledge allows us to make informed decisions, develop effective strategies, and address challenges with precision. Our Greater Melbourne Vital Signs is an excellent example of our capacity for research.

In addition to grantmaking, engagement, and collaborative partnerships, we place great emphasis on sharing knowledge and influencing policy. Our knowledge, expertise and impact, enable our grant partners and donors to benefit from our experiences and contribute to the collective efforts of community philanthropy.

Furthermore, we leverage our expertise to advocate for policy changes that promote positive social change to create a more supportive environment for community initiatives.

Our Community Collaborative for Resilience and funding of Renew's work on the National Construction Code to increase energy efficiency rating for new housing from 6 to 7 stars NatHERS rating are other wonderful examples of our work.

We understand that Australia needs a strong charitable sector and a growing philanthropic sector.

Our seed funding alongside Gandel Foundation and further scaling up funding of the NFP Digital Transformation Hub (an initiative of InfoXchange) and our support of various peak philanthropic bodies are examples of this work.

We also recognise the importance of impact investment. By strategically investing in projects and initiatives that generate both financial returns and positive social or environmental outcomes, we maximise the value of our resources.

Through responsible investments and a decarbonised investment strategy, we contribute to sustainable change while also helping to support our grant partners.

By integrating these approaches - grantmaking, community engagement, partnerships, research, knowledge sharing, policy influence, and impact investment - we strive to create lasting and transformative impact within our community.

As a community foundation ‘by and for the people’ of Melbourne, our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of individuals and communities across the city and leave a positive legacy for future generations – a thriving Melbourne for all people and a thriving Australian charitable sector.