A 70 year legacy

A 70 year legacy

2021 marked 70 years since the death of our benefactor, Helen Macpherson Smith in 1951. In her lifetime, Helen’s own philanthropy specifically supported disadvantage and equity. It is also recorded that Helen regularly donated to Victorian bushfire appeals until her death in 1951.

HMSTrust has been making grants since 1955. Throughout the Trust’s existence, the Trustees of Helen’s estate have reflected Helen’s philanthropic philosophy and applied an equity lens across the social and environmental issues of the day. Today, our Trustees maintain this tradition with an ongoing commitment to the key programs that have defined the Trust, including support for rural and regional Victoria, women and girls, Indigenous communities and migrants and refugees. As at 30 June 2021, the Trust has made 4,908 grants totalling $132,843,048. All grants are listed in a searchable database on our website.

In 2021, a revised granting strategy came into effect, representing outcomes of a review by the Trust. The granting strategy addresses some of the key issues of today, including climate change and the devastating impact of COVID-19.

The strategy addresses five beneficiary groups, six focus areas and five levers for change, in order to address three long-term impact goals.

Our Impact Goals:

  • build sustainable and capable organisations that are well-positioned to respond to the needs of Victorians;
  • support solutions that have the potential to change sector practice across the Trust’s areas of interest; and
  • address the root causes of the social problems that impact the communities we choose to support, by focusing our resources on the components and structures of the systems that drive social change

Our target beneficiaries:

  • Women and girls
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Migrants and Refugees
  • Communities experiencing inadequate resources and opportunities
  • Future generations impacted by current social, economic and environmental practices.

Our focus areas:

  • Education – Engaging and retaining P-12 students
  • Community – Advancing early childhood development
  • Community – Building community financial resilience
  • Arts & Culture – Supporting the sustainability of the arts sector
  • Environment – Supporting restoration and protection of sustainable environments
  • Health – Improving access to affordable mental health care

Our levers for change:

  • Capacity building – Projects that develop and strengthen the skills, processes and resources required by an organisation to deliver its mission effectively now and in the future.
  • Innovation – Projects that prototype, develop and/or pilot smart ideas to solve challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues.
  • Delivery – Projects delivering quality programs to address unmet or under-served community needs. Ongoing programs are not eligible for funding.
  • Scaling – Strategic expansion of a proven project or program, to increase social impact outcomes and contributes to long-term community benefit.
  • Advocacy – Research and dissemination; Raising awareness, Community organising, and Policy development