Our move to online communication and data capture commenced in November 2013 with the launch of our new website. This was followed by our online application process going live in February 2014, and in recognition of reaching $100 million in total grants, we developed a searchable public database in November 2014 listing over 4,500 approved grants. This year’s interactive Annual Report draws all of its information from our website’s database, while still providing readers with the choice to download and/or print the Annual Report.
Last year’s Commemorative Annual Report focussed on HMSTrust having reached two significant milestones – Darvell Hutchinson’s retirement after 50 years of outstanding stewardship and HMSTrust reaching $100 million in total grants. These milestones were celebrated this financial year, culminating in a wonderful reception at Government House on 13 November 2014. HMSTrust’s newly appointed Chairman, Dr Philip Moors AO, expressed the sentiment shared by the many friends, colleagues and grantees, when he said: “Darvell Hutchinson’s legacy is so much more than our corpus of $100 million, it is the culture of astute management, empathy, respect, collaboration, transparency and continuous learning.”
Philip Moors was appointed Chairman of HMSTrust in August 2014 and Darvell Hutchinson officially retired at the Annual Meeting of HMSTrust in November 2014. We welcomed Catherine Walter AM as Trustee in September 2014 and Chairman of the Investment Committee in December. Both transitions have been seamless, reflecting a deep respect for HMSTrust’s history while responding to changing social and economic environments.
This year, Trustees approved 77 grants for a total of $5,069,392 (before withdrawn grants) across our four grant levels. The full listing of our FY2015 grants is in the Grants section of this Annual Report and can be searched on the Approved Grants and Case Studies section on our website.
HMSTrust remains committed to our smaller grants, with 46 Community One-off Grants approved for a total of $1,137,633. This grant level attracts a broad range of applications that identify trends across sectors and place, highlight potential collaborative clusters and generally inform our grants strategy. In addition to conventional project funding, this grants level has supported some organisations to scope a larger long-term project or pilot a trial before embarking on full implementation. We are delighted that Sarah Bartak has extended her role by taking on the responsibility for our Community One-off Grants from July 2015.
Building organisational capacity is one of HMSTrust’s five key objectives and in May 2015, HMSTrust trialled a one-off funding initiative. The focus was strengthening the effectiveness and efficiencies of organisations servicing the needs of disadvantaged communities in Shepparton. Eleven organisations were funded across a range of sectors, including a self-identified cohort of four agencies who have come together to work collaboratively on a range of essential back-of-house functions common to all four organisations, under the title Shepparton Community Share.
Our larger grants reflect escalating social issues that challenge traditional service delivery and in turn challenge funders to review what and how we fund. Increasingly, HMSTrust is supporting strategic capacity-building projects that enable organisations to be more effective, efficient and sustainable. Two Lead Grants this year, $274,606 to Western Chances and $200,000 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Dandenong, not only support essential staff roles, but are extensions of previous grants that had delivered outstanding outcomes to their respective organisations and are testament to the wisdom of supporting good people doing good work.
We feature thirteen new case studies in this year’s Annual Report, representing a range of grants across our four funding levels and five programs. These case studies showcase HMSTrust’s grants matrix at work and are a valuable resource for grantseekers to better understand HMSTrust’s funding criteria.
Two major Lead Grants awarded in our 2014 milestone year commenced operating in FY2015. $1.2 million was granted to The Monash Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences for the establishment of the HMSTrust Laboratory. This global facility opened its doors in April 2015 and was officially launched by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, on 12 August 2015. The headline in Australian Life Scientist magazine perfectly captured the spirit of the grant: “From little grants big labs grow’.
The second milestone grant in 2014 was the establishment of the perpetual Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship with a grant of $1.045 million to the University of Melbourne. Victorian multi-disciplinary artist, Tiriki Onus, was awarded the inaugural Hutchinson Fellowship in November 2015, leading the way for generations of Victorian Indigenous artists to undertake this unique 12-month Fellowship at the University of Melbourne.
Measuring social impact has become an important focus for grantees and grantmakers alike, however it is often years before the full impact of a grant may be realised. In 2010, HMSTrust approved a grant of $600,000 to the Royal Children’s Hospital to develop targeted diagnostic sequencing. This project is now delivering well beyond our original expectations, having leveraged $8 million of additional funding and, in response to the overwhelming number of national and international diagnostic requests, the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service is transitioning into a fully accredited clinical diagnostic service. We understand that long-term impact requires us to be patient in our grant making expectations.
Building. Enabling. Leading.
HMSTrust’s strategic aims of Building, Enabling, and Leading continue to guide and link our three areas of operations from investment and finance through to grantmaking. We are building our corpus for the long-term, achieving financial efficiencies and developing in-house capabilities to be more effective funders, and working closely with grantees, sector colleagues and government to share information, learnings and opportunities.
As we move from transition into consolidation and strategic development, I thank our Chairman, Philip Moors for his support and leadership and extend my appreciation to our Trustees for their thoughtful consideration and guidance. I especially acknowledge the tremendous work of our small team of talented and committed professionals who deliver against our strategic objectives: Glen Thomson Finance Executive and Peter Wetherall Investment Executive; Lea-Anne Bradley Grants Manager, Sarah Bartak Grants and Communications Officer, and Michelle Springall Executive Assistant and Project Officer.
We are all passionate about what we do and continue to be curious about what we can do better.
Lin Bender AM