Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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How we grant

HMSTrust’s funding decisions are guided by our vision, purpose, values, and guiding principles.

Our vision
A strong, just and sustainable Victoria
Balit, noogee ba kangooeit biik

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.

Our 5-year grants strategy

Our 2021-25 Grants Strategy responds to the extraordinary challenges of today including climate change and the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the communities we support.

Equity of opportunity sits at the centre of the strategy, because we believe that all Victorians, now and into the future, should have an equal opportunity to live a full and healthy life in a sustainable environment; they should be able to participate in their community, engage in education and work, and have affordable access to relevant services and supports that will help them reach their full potential.

The strategy clearly identifies the 5 target beneficiaries, 6 focus areas and 5 levers for change that we want to support, in order to reach our 3 long-term impact goals to:

  • 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

The 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.








Past grants

View the list of approved grants in our Grantee Database or read case studies of past and current grants.