Building Capacity

Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Annual Report 2021

Photo by Natalie Grono



On the eve of its 60th birthday, VFFF undertook a far-reaching strategic review to set our path for the next five years. In developing our next focus, we sought to honour the legacy of our Founders, apply the learnings from almost $200m of grant making and seek input from some great experts. Our goal was to set VFFF on a path that would have maximum impact for those we support as well as engage the Rising Generation of Family members.

Chairman James M. Millar AM and CEO Jenny Wheatley

We are proud of the result and the enthusiasm for the next five years shown by the Board, VFFF Members and team. From 1 July 2021 VFFF’s new granting will be focused on supporting initiatives in the areas of decent work, the environment, Christian faith and values and contributing to society that seeks to benefit young people ranging in age from 15 to 24 years. Focusing on young people is well-aligned to the history, values and grant making experience of VFFF. Learn more about how VFFF landed on Backing Young People in this report.

While FY21 started nervously, VFFF stepped up and exceeded its gifting target committing $9.9m to beneficiaries. Legacy grants rounded off the Thriving People and Places strategy. Alongside White Box Enterprises, VFFF found an opportunity to grant and invest in a mission-aligned way to encourage employment. A gift to the Centre for Media Transition and The Guardian is a once only opportunity to support journalism in rural and regional NSW, acknowledging the strong media pedigree of the Fairfax family.

We focused on initiatives to build capacity in the system for organisations and individuals. We were excited by the response to the introduction of Social Impact Leadership Australia. We supported external research with our peer foundations to develop our understanding of the value placed on funding that supports the building of capacity.

We thank Directors and the team, David Hardie, Claire Mannion, Camilla Chapman and Natalie Buckett for their intellectual curiosity and willingness to make hard choices. We thank Peta Rennie for managing our logistics and keeping us on track. In FY22, while Claire is enjoying time with her growing family, VFFF welcomes Dr May Lam to the team as Program Manager specialising in Decent Work.

Our portfolio performed very well this year. Strong investment returns facilitate increased granting and confidence in the long term. We acknowledge the diligent work of Riccardo Briganti, Cambooya’s Chief Investment Officer in thoughtfully managing VFFF’s portfolio. Kathryn Young, Head of Investments at Cambooya supported VFFF’s interest in enhancing fund manager alignment with VFFF values and our target of having at least 5% of the VFFF portfolio invested in mission-driven investments. Riccardo and Kathryn work closely with Joel Hassin, Sam Wood, JANA Asset Consultants and the Cambooya Investment Committee.

While Backing Young People narrows our granting focus, VFFF maintains its preference for supporting capacity building, connecting to rural and regional areas and for listening to members of communities. We look forward to continuing to work with existing and new peers and strategic partners as we commence this journey.

Family Philanthropy

Strategic Review

Grants Snapshot

2021 Highlights




Acknowledgement of Country

The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, and extends this acknowledgement to all Traditional Custodians of nations where we fund organisations and activities. We pay respect to Elders past and present, and to the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.