Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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About Us

Helen Macpherson Smith Trust is an independent philanthropic trust established by Helen Macpherson Schutt (née Smith) in 1951. On her passing in 1951, Helen left £275,000, the majority of her wealth, to establish a perpetual philanthropic trust to benefit Victorian charitable institutions. Launched as the Helen M. Schutt Trust, the name was changed to the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust in 2001 to acknowledge the Macpherson and Smith families as the prime source of her legacy.

Since HMSTrust was established, over $130 million has been approved in grants to a wide range of Victorian charitable institutions and a diverse range of projects benefiting Victorians.

Our vision
A strong, just and sustainable Victoria.
Balit, noogee ba kangooeit biik.   We proudly feature our vision in Woiwurrung language as a sign of respect.

Our purpose
HMSTrust works to advance equity of opportunity for all Victorians

Our values
Respect. Integrity. Stewardship. Collaboration. Accountability.

Our guiding principles
HMSTrust’s grantmaking is based on Helen’s Will which defines our legal remit and provides an insight into Helen’s legacy.

  • The Trust’s legal remit is to fund charitable institutions and purposes in ‘Victoria only’.
  • The original corpus was largely built on the landholdings of Helen’s pioneering forebears, which is recognised by an ongoing commitment to rural and regional Victoria.
  • Our grantmaking is informed by Helen’s own philanthropy, which remained largely unchanged until her death in 1951. She was committed to relieving disadvantage through her annual support of: children’s health and wellbeing; disability; access to health care; welcoming strangers to our shores; animal welfare; and communities impacted by natural disasters.

Helen’s philanthropy reflects a generous, determined and committed woman who sought no fuss or fanfare. Her choice in establishing a trust in perpetuity for the benefit of Victoria reflects a bold and visionary woman for her time.

Helen Macpherson Smith was a very private woman who left few insights into the type of person she was. Her close friends and relatives described her as thoughtful, kind and caring, and there would be little doubt that this spirit of generosity was central to her interest in philanthropy.

Helen’s vision continues to guide HMSTrust today.  She was a life-long donor and supporter of organisations in Victoria including community service charities, children’s causes and medical institutions, and in her Will requested her Trustees consider ongoing support for “…such charitable institutions in the State of Victoria…”.

HMSTrust will honour the wishes of our benefactor in perpetuity. Our Trustees will also ensure the grants program remains relevant and effective in a rapidly changing world.  The grants program is designed to meet current community needs and expectations, and also maximise the major social impacts and long-term benefits that can be delivered through strategic philanthropy.

HMSTrust acknowledges and pays respect to the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we work.