What Structures do Australia's Biggest Philanthropists Use to Donate Money?

Who are Australia’s biggest charity donors? What are the types of structures they use for philanthropy? All questions we have the answers to!

What Structures do Australia's Biggest Philanthropists Use to Donate Money?

Who are Australia’s biggest charity donors? What are the types of structures they use for philanthropy? All questions we have the answers to!

Australia’s top 50 philanthropists were revealed recently, with the combined total of donations from this cohort topping $1bn for the first time. That’s a huge amount of money and there are some eye-popping grants on the list, with 4 of the top 10 philanthropists or organisations giving $100m or more.

But what structures do Australia’s biggest philanthropists use to donate money? In this article we take a look at who’s on the list and examine the different ways to give money in Australia.

The Top 10 Philanthropists in Australia

Rank Name Amount Areas of focus
1 Yajilarra Trust $165m Australia’s First Nations people, climate change, disability, Christian faith
2 Minderoo Foundation $136m Flourishing Oceans, plastic waste, fire and flood resilience, Collaborate Against Cancer, Thrive by Five, Walk Free and Generation One
3 Paul Ramsay Foundation $114m Thriving children, employment, justice and safety, communities
4 Geoff Cumming $100m Part of $250m for the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics at the Doherty Institute
5 Judith Neilson Foundation & charitable trusts $41m Arts, slavery, homelessness, children’s health, affordable housing, climate change and food scarcity
6 Ian Potter Foundation & Cultural Trust $37m Arts, community wellbeing, early childhood development, environment, medical and public health research
7 Kinghorn Foundation $34m Medical research, poverty and talented Australian youth
8 Pratt Philanthropies $31m Food security, mental health, arts, education, cancer care, Jewish life, environment, bushfires and flood relief, COVID
9 Susan McKinnon Foundation $31m Enhancing effectiveness of government through “effective elected representatives, robust state institutions and quality policy dialogue”
10 Terry Snow and Snow Foundations $28m Canberra Grammar, medical research, homelessness, domestic violence, disadvantage, Indigenous health, ageing, disability

Philanthropic Structures to Donate Money

  1. Private foundations: This is a popular option for philanthropists who want to establish a permanent and independent organisation to manage their giving. A private foundation can have its own board of directors and staff, and can make grants to a wide range of charitable organisations.
  2. Donor-advised funds: This structure allows the donor to make a tax-deductible contribution to a public charity and then advise the charity on the distribution of funds to other nonprofit organisations.
  3. Public Ancillary Funds: If you don't want to deal with the administrative and investment management responsibilities that come with setting up your own foundation, then a sub-fund or charitable fund account might be a better fit.
  4. Private Ancillary Funds: PAFs are established by trust instrument and can be funded by donations from associated parties. The funds are invested and managed by a trustee (generally a corporate trustee) and distributions are made to other deductible gift recipients (excluding other PAFs).
  5. Direct giving: Some philanthropists choose to make direct contributions to the causes and organisations they support, without using any intermediary structure.
  6. Social impact bonds: This is a relatively new structure that allows philanthropists and impact investors to fund social programs and receive a return on their investment if the program achieves its goals.
  7. Charitable trusts: This is a legal arrangement that allows the donor to specify how the trust assets will be managed and used for charitable purposes.

The choice of structure will depend on the specific goals and preferences of the philanthropist, as well as the type and scale of the giving.

Discover Bluerock’s Philanthropy Consulting Services

When you work with our philanthropy experts and the Be BlueRock Foundation, we take care of the administration of your philanthropy, including maintaining financial records, distribution requirements, secretariat services and reporting to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).

When it comes to the good stuff – supporting charities you care about – our grantmaking service can help you and your family or business decide on your giving philosophy and the causes and charities that you would like to support…all with the right tax strategy in place.

Get in touch with our BlueRock philanthropy consultants to discuss what option best suits you.

Stay up to date with the Be BlueRock Foundation, learn about philanthropy and discover different ways to get involved with your business or your family.