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Refreshing the State Trustees Australia Foundation Strategy

Our Journey

In 2012 the Foundation was the grateful recipient of a $10.6 million bequest from Mr John Shanahan, known as the John Shanahan Donation sub-fund. Careful consideration of the allocation of the funds, and overall impact that the Foundation could have in the community, resulted in the 2013 Granting Strategy for the Foundation. The 2013 Granting Strategy focused the discretionary granting from the Foundation to support ageing, mental health and disability. It identified particular areas of impact such as elder abuse prevention and dementia care research, as well as creating an open round known as Grassroots. From the 2013 Granting Strategy the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health (ADMH) Collaborative Panel (Panel) was established.


Grassroots had a particular focus on social inclusion and participation but spanned all three areas of ageing, mental health and disability. The round was run annually, growing from grants of $10,000 per annum to $20,000. Each year a pool of $200,000 provided support to organisations to provide opportunities to those experiencing vulnerabilities in our community as a result of ageing, mental health or disability to participate and be included in the community.

Ageing, Disability and Mental Health (ADMH) Collaborative Panel (Panel)

The panel is comprised of representatives from the peak organisations for ageing, disability and mental health. Current members are:

  • Council on the Ageing Victoria (COTA Victoria)
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
  • National Disability Services Victoria (NDS Victoria)
  • Mental Health Victoria (MHV)
  • Carers Victoria
  • Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS)
  • Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV)
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Inc.
  • State Trustees Australia Foundation

The key aims of the ADMH Collaborative Panel were to:

  • Provide a forum through which to identify, discuss and profile emerging opportunities, challenges, and issues associated with the move to a market-based, consumer-led service system in line with recent reforms to the ageing, disability and mental health sectors and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme;
  • Develop a strategic project agenda to respond to the emerging opportunities, challenges, and issues associated with the transition identified by the ADMH Collaborative Panel; and
  • Disseminate information and innovative practice to support cross-sector reform to individuals, service and sector organisations, philanthropic organisations and government stakeholders.

The Foundation has provided over $1.5 million of funding, to unique projects that have arisen from the collaborative work undertaken by the ADMH Collaborative Panel, as well as back bone coordination funding for the Panel.

In 2020 we will complete an evaluation of the ADMH Collaborative Panel, with further information to be shared at a later date about the outcomes and future plans for the Panel.

2020 and beyond

The 2013 Granting Strategy provided strategic direction for 5 years of Foundation granting. In late 2018, it was decided a strategy review and refresh should be undertaken. As such, 2019 was a time of reflection and review of our granting to date, and a new strategy was developed.

We are excited to announce our refreshed strategy:


Our vision is a Victoria where everyone participates in and prospers from philanthropy.


To positively impact the Victorian community through encouraging giving in perpetuity and engaging in effective philanthropy.


Fairness – We believe in an equitable Victoria
Collaboration – We learn from and share with others
Integrity – We act honestly in all our endeavours

Guiding Principles

Supporting the vulnerable
We facilitate positive change in the lives of vulnerable people in the Victorian community.

Encouraging perpetual giving
We educate the Victorian community about the benefits of giving in perpetuity to preserve legacy and provide long-term support to the charitable sector.

Addressing systemic issues
We create enduring social change by addressing systemic issues through participation in collective impact and collaborative philanthropy.

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