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From the Chair

As communities across the country continued to grapple with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic over the last year it was extremely heartening to see the donor community at Australian Communities Foundation (ACF) respond with new levels of generosity.

In 2020/21 we distributed $13.4 million via 1,085 grants to 688 organisations and individuals throughout Australia, including $2.3 million in crisis response funding, providing a lifeline to community-based organisations on the frontline struggling to respond to the 2019/20 bushfires and Covid-19.

During a difficult year, ACF’s flagship collective giving vehicle, the Impact Fund, increased its distribution times five, mobilising over $1 million. The Fund continues to back partners at the forefront of progressive change in this country, including support to protect our sector against regulations that attempt to subdue or curtail the critical voices that underpin civil society.

Other milestones include the launch of our Foundation Support Services, our national crisis relief partnership with organisations such as the Paul Ramsay Foundation and Fire Relief for First Nations Communities Fund, achieving our target of ensuring 100 per cent of our portfolio is responsibly invested, and making our first impact investments in the environmental and First Nations sectors.

At board level, we farewelled long-time ACF directors Emma Woolley and Steve Rothfield and welcomed Sue Woodward, Glen Noonan, Chris Croker, Rueben Berg and Malinda Wink who each bring extensive experience from the professional services and non-profit sectors. 

My thanks to my fellow directors, to Maree and the ACF team for their dedication during another year of significant disruptions.

As we look ahead to ACF’s 25th anniversary in 2022, I am confident that we will continue to build a fairer Australia and grow the culture of giving by helping even more people get started on their giving journey. 

Eric Beecher

Eric Beecher


“As we look ahead to ACF’s 25th anniversary in 2022, I am confident that we will continue to build a fairer Australia.”


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.

2020/21 Board of Directors

  • Eric Beecher (Chair)
  • Penny Burke
  • Sue Dahn (joined July 2020)
  • Michael Gilmore
  • Sarah Hosking
  • Adam Milgrom
  • Glen Noonan (joined March 2021)
  • Steve Rothfield (retired June 2021)
  • Cath Smith
  • Malinda Wink (joined June 2021)
  • Sue Woodward AM (joined March 2021)
  • Emma Woolley (retired June 2021)

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 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

I had always tracked the organisation from the sidelines because of how progressive it has been, particularly in things like responsible investing which is an area where the Foundation has shown great leadership.”

Sue Woodward AM on joining the Board in March 2021 | Read the story

From the CEO

In this time of ongoing uncertainty, community philanthropy has never been more valuable. Community foundations like Australian Communities Foundation facilitate accessible, agile and responsive funding, and in the past year we have been able to provide funding where it’s needed most. 

Our giving community, which expanded to include 40 new funds and foundations this year, continued to help create a fairer Australia by supporting the critical work to tackle social, environmental and cultural injustice. A full breakdown of funding by focus area is available in this Annual Report. 

As we continue to grow, we are using our experience to support other foundations and invest in the growth of our sector. In 2020/21, Australian Communities Foundation helped launch Australia’s first new community foundation in five years, Foundation SA, as implementation partner and trustee. I was delighted to be able to make it to Adelaide to attend the launch in between lockdowns. We also launched our Foundation Support Services for corporate and private foundations seeking philanthropic support services or wanting to join our dynamic community of giving. 

Another of the year’s highlights was our first live giving event for the Impact Fund, Reimagining Australia: Meet the Changemakers. More than 400 people from across Australia took part in the event, which ultimately raised over $700,000 to support four nationwide campaigns. 

The ACF team were delighted to introduce a new and improved database system and integrated online portal for fundholders to donate and manage their funds in real time. The new system also streamlines the grant agreement and reporting process for our grant partners, reducing the administrative burden and allowing them to focus on their important work. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and supported Australian Communities Foundation this year, particularly our Board, fundholders and donors, the incredible ACF team and the changemakers and organisations that are leading the way to a fairer and more sustainable future. 

Maree Sidey

Chief Executive Officer

In this time of ongoing uncertainty, community philanthropy has never been more valuable.

Our team

In 2020/21, our team continued to grow as we welcomed Claudia Bellote (Marketing & Events Coordinator), Thomas Lopez (Relationship Manager), Tinashe Nyandoro (Finance & Operations Officer), Madhulika Rajawat (Grant Support Officer), and Madeleine Shea (Executive Assistant & Office Manager).

We also said farewell to Rebecca BridgesChristine Selle and Daphne Tan.

Annual Report 2020/21

Next: Our Impact »