Family Philanthropy

Left to right: Bruce Macarthur, Ruth Armytage AM, Sally White OAM, Geoffrey White OAM, Gina Fairfax AC, Tim Fairfax AC, Libby Fairfax, John B Fairfax AO.


In honouring our founders’ beliefs and intentions, VFFF seeks opportunities to benefit and care for Australians and our country


Backing Young People with innovative opportunities that advance their independence, social purpose and future security

Sir Vincent and Lady Nancy Fairfax fly-fishing at London-Lakes, Tasmania
Three generations of the Fairfax Family, c. 1987
Three generations of the Fairfax Family, 2023

In 1962, Sir Vincent Fairfax established a charitable trust that is now the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF). Lady Nancy Fairfax was a Founding Trustee of the Foundation where she served with dedication for nearly 40 years. Lady Fairfax bequeathed a large amount of her Estate to the Foundation in 2007, transforming VFFF’s potential to benefit many generations of Australians. Since inception, VFFF has distributed over $200m to Australian communities.

Today, VFFF is a thriving, family foundation with three generations of family members involved in its work. The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Sir Vincent and Lady Nancy take great interest in the organisations that VFFF supports. They attend site visits and sit on the VFFF Board and Grants Committee, sometimes with a next generation baby over a shoulder as they look at proposals, ask questions and learn more about community needs. Over the past year, VFFF has enjoyed watching the younger members of the Fairfax family, known as the “Rising Generation”, engage with the Foundation’s work. We were particularly pleased to have a member of our Rising Generation lead a session at our 2022 Annual General Meeting. We look forward to continuing to build their knowledge about the practices of philanthropy and hearing their views on the future of the Foundation.

Sharing stories has been pivotal in passing on history and values for the Fairfax Family. This year, the legacy of capturing stories continued with the internal publication of the VFFF History Book: Volume Three, spanning 14 years of VFFF granting history from 2009-2023. The third volume of the VFFF History Book was authored by David Hardie. David’s efforts reflect his commitment to honouring the Founders and engaging their family with the work of VFFF. 

Thank you David

"David has contributed so much to VFFF through his humour, empathic mindset and commitment to social justice. David's ability to handle any situation with delicacy is outstanding and, importantly, he has been a patient and kind mentor to me and other family members. Thank you David, your passion for philanthropy will be deeply missed."

In 2011, David Hardie started at VFFF on a short-term contract to project manage a discrete piece of work and soon after became VFFF’s Program Officer. In 2015, David was promoted to Senior Program Manager and then in 2020 to Foundation Manager.

In his time with us, David led our work on over 100 grants approved by the Board. Grantees reflect that David’s support and guidance has been at least if not more valuable than the dollars they received. 

David has significantly contributed to increasing family engagement with philanthropy through the Grants Committee, which brings younger members of the Fairfax family together to participate in grantmaking for VFFF grants of up to $50,000. This Committee formed in 2012 and David has played an integral role in supporting the Committee to make 178 grants to organisations up until 2022. In 2023, the Grants Committee embarked on a new path in their granting and David supported the younger generations of the Fairfax family to develop the Backing the Future grants program.

David stepped down from his role of Foundation Manager on 1 September 2023. We wish David all the best and acknowledge his significant contribution to the Foundation, the way he nurtured partnerships in the community and supported family engagement with VFFF’s work.

"David gave 100% commitment to honouring the Founders, engaging their family with the work of VFFF and reamining true to VFFF's Vision of seeking opportunities to benefit and care for Australians and our country. We are grateful for David’s time with us and confident that his impact on our work will last well beyond his physical presence at VFFF."

Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Foundation

The Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Foundation (VFELF) continues to partner with the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership (CCEL) to deliver the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship (VFF), a year long program that provides leaders with the skills and knowledge to be ethical and effective leaders.

In December 2022, VFFF and CCEL celebrated the graduates of Cohort 26 of the Fellowship providing the opportunity for Fairfax family members to meet the graduating Fellows and hear firsthand the impact of the program.

Vanessa Pigrum resigned as Chief Executive Officer of CCEL in November 2022. VFFF would like to acknowledge the dedication, commitment and passion that Vanessa demonstrated in her five years of leadership at CCEL. In February 2023, an alumnus of the VFF program, Matt Finnis commenced as CEO and has been a welcome addition to the team.

At the start of the 2023 calendar year, 17 outstanding leaders became Cohort 27 of the Fellowship. VFFF is pleased to see the continuation of Sir Vincent’s legacy through this work. 

Family Members and VFFF Board Directors at the Vincent Fairfax Fellowshop Cohort 26 Graduation



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.