60 Years of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust [18.05.2011]
On 19 April 2011, the Trust marked the 60th anniversary of the death of our benefactor, Helen Macpherson Schutt née Smith with the launch by Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Blainey AC of a new biography of Helen and a celebration of her philanthropic legacy. Trustees and staff, past and present grant recipients, members of the philanthropic sector and dignitaries from across the Victorian community gathered to commemorate the milestone occasion. The venue, fittingly, was the State Library of Victoria, home to the Helen Macpherson Smith Genealogy Centre, one of the Trust’s most recognised gifts to the people of Victoria.
Following introductions by the Trust’s new Chief Executive, Andrew Brookes, and Chairman, Darvell Hutchinson AM, Janet Michelmore AO from The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health spoke on behalf of grant recipients to thank the Trust for its long and proud history of supporting charities across Victoria:
“…what intrigues me about the projects the Trust supports is that these social benefits will be fundamental to changing the lives of the target beneficiaries, and therefore enduring …the Trustees take the long view of social benefit, trust the niche expertise of the program leaders in their assessment of risk and benefit, and are open to innovation. They understand that an innovative project is not always going to be big and dramatic. They know that often, small changes result in big rewards. These are wonderful characteristics in a philanthropic body. They create a double effect. By encouraging innovation, the Trust gets to hear about other novel ideas. And when those ideas are supported by the Trust, we all benefit through realisation of program aims and objectives. Or, as they say, all ships rise with the tide.”
Following Janet’s speech, author Jane Sandilands made some recollections of “the joy and long journey in writing Helen’s story” before Professor Blainey officially launched Helen Macpherson Smith: Her Life and Lasting Legacy, summing up its contents in a witty yet succinct style much to the delight of the audience.
In addition to biographical information on Helen and her husband, William Schutt, it includes chapters on her pioneering forebears, the Smith and Macpherson families, as well as a detailed history of the Trust to date and a concluding chapter on the often unsung contribution of women philanthropists in Australia.
Copies of Helen’s hard cover biography (155pp) are available free of charge and can be picked up from the Trust at 27 Windsor Place, Melbourne.