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Our Story Together

Our founders, Marion Webster OAM and Hayden Raysmith AM, meet with members of our giving community.

As with all communities, our story is one of evolution

We’ve been making strategic philanthropy accessible since 1997 when our founders, Marion Webster OAM and Hayden Raysmith AM, pioneered the community foundation model in Australia, establishing Melbourne Community Foundation which became Australian Communities Foundation in 2011.

As a community foundation, we’ve grown and learned a lot along the way. One thing that hasn’t changed is the special role we play in Australia’s philanthropic ecosystem and our commitment to being collaborative, agile, responsive and risk-tolerant.

Today, our giving community includes people from all walks of life, from across the nation, serving communities that span geography, gender, race, identity, culture and more. What unites us is an intention to use whatever resources we have, to make things better for people and our planet.

Together, we’re creating a fairer Australia – one where social, environmental and cultural justice is the norm.

Our Timeline


Melbourne Community Foundation (now Australian Communities Foundation) is the first community foundation to be established in Australia


First grants are distributed to the Melbourne community


Melbourne Community Foundation initiates the establishment of a peak body for community foundations in Australia and New Zealand


The first themed funds are created to bring even more donors into the collective giving model


$1 million in grants given since Melbourne Community Foundation’s establishment


New milestone of 30 new sub-funds and over $1 million in grants distributed in a financial year


Phase 1 of MacroMelbourne launched to bring sectors together to develop strategic responses to disadvantage


Scholarship Fund launched

Another milestone with more than 100 sub-funds and over $30 million funds under management


Gumnut Accounts launched to help donors build to a sub-fund


Melbourne Community Foundation becomes Australian Communities Foundation reflecting its national presence and scope


Founders Marion Webster and Hayden Raysmith honoured in Australia’s Top 50 Philanthropic Gifts of All Time


Australian Communities Foundation transitions to an environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment approach


Impact Fund launched to inspire investments in bold solutions to the biggest issues facing Australia today

Australian Communities Foundation’s Refugee & Asylum Seeker Donor Circle wins 2016 Best Small Grant at the Australian Philanthropy Awards


20th anniversary celebrations

Inaugural Impact Fund grants announced with over $600,000 to be given to seven projects


Australian Communities Foundation announces its intention to transition to 100 percent responsible investing


The National Crisis Response Fund was launched as a collective fund to support vulnerable communities in uncertain times


Australian Communities Foundation has won multiple awards for its grantmaking, including most recently the Best Grant Program Award for the Rapid Advocacy Fund at the Australian Philanthropy Awards

Australian Communities Foundation became a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and was recognised as a Responsible Investment Leader by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia

About Us

We are a community of giving, powered by a courageous ambition for a fairer and more sustainable Australia.