Queensland’s most generous, kind and innovative community givers were honoured last night (Monday, 7th September) at Queensland Community Foundation’s (QCF) 10th annual Philanthropist of the Year Awards held at Queensland’s Parliament House.

The awards honoured community members and organisations from across Queensland who make outstanding philanthropic contributions by encouraging support and innovation for charities, medical research and community organisations.

Ground breaking medical research, domestic violence, child protection, indigenous education, remote digital learning, Covid crisis support for international students living in Queensland, legal services for vulnerable groups are a few of the inspirational stories of social innovation and kindness amongst this year’s finalist and winners.

Around 100 guests including past winners, finalists, judges and sponsors attended the Covid-Safe sit-down cocktail style awards ceremony hosted by Channel 7’s Kim Skubris with special guest speakers, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP – Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland along with the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC – Chair of the Queensland Community Foundation’s Board of Governors.

Queensland Community Foundation General Manager, Tara Castle says the winners were extraordinary Queenslanders doing extraordinary things to help others.

“Each and every winner is so very deserving of this honour as their work and kindness through their philanthropic efforts is having an incredible impact on such important social issues and medical research within our community and making a big difference to lives,” Ms Castle said.

The winners of each category of QCF’s 10th annual Philanthropist of the Year Awards are:

Community – recognising an outstanding individual, family or family foundation with a proven record of exceptional financial generosity and/or volunteer leadership to one or more Queensland based non-profit organisations:

Professor Ian Frazer AC and Caroline Frazer (Brisbane) – while Professor Frazer is best known for developing and patenting the HPV vaccines against cervical cancer, Gardasil and Cervarix, both Ian and his wife, Caroline have undertaken extraordinary philanthropic support to organisations and research fields in medicine, the arts and education.

Corporate – recognises a corporation or business (more than 200 employees) that has created a culture of philanthropy with their organisation demonstrated through financial support of non-profit organisations, leadership and involvement and volunteer participation of its workforce:

Suncorp (Queensland) – Since 1902, Suncorp has supported community initiatives and has long been a philanthropic corporate leader through employee nominated local charity partnerships and partnerships with community organisations such as the Clontarf Foundation, National Reconciliation Week and Team Girls – a Suncorp initiative helping keep girls involved in team sports.  Suncorp was nominated by the Financial Basics Foundation, who they partnered with in 2016 to improve the financial capability of young Australians.

Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) – recognising a small business (less than 200 employees) whose grass-roots level of charitable support has impacted the local community.

Wolff Coffee Roasters – CEO Penny Wolff and her company Wolff Coffee Roaster support an array of Queensland charities including Women’s Legal Service, Brisbane Festival, MS, Rural Aid, the Ponytail project and more.  Wolff Coffee Roasters also partner with OzHarvest to donate excess food goods while also contributing funds to funding supply of water tanks and books resources to communities where it sources coffee beans.

Emerging – honouring young people aged 17-35 years of age demonstrating philanthropic excellence through creativity rather than financial contribution as an individual or as part of a group.

Jack Growden (Townsville) – Jack has developed a remote learning program to provide marginalised students across the Townsville, Tablelands, Cairns, Burdekin and Charters Towers regions with access to digital devices.

Innovation – recognising outstanding social and long-term impact through innovation within the philanthropy sector made by an outstanding Queensland individual, family or family foundation:

Simon Lockyer (Brisbane) – co-founder of Youngcare, Everyday Hero Fundraising and Five Good Friends, Simon’s work across each of these organisations and initiatives positively impacts the lives of thousands and thousands of Queenslanders.

QCF Board of Governors Outstanding Achievement Award – this is a discretionary award, not always awarded each year but due to the outstanding nominations, this year there were three winners:

Perry Cross AM (Gold Coast) – former rugby league player and now quadriplegic and motivational speaker who founded The Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation and undertakes all his philanthropic work, speaking and fund raising on full 24/7 life support.  His current mission is to raise $19 million for a human trial to cure spinal cord paralysis.

Lilly Luhrmann – Lilly, 16-year-old daughter of Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, set up a crisis fund to support 19,000 international students stranded in Queensland during Covid-19 and badly impacted by job losses yet ineligible for government assistance.

Tina Worland – with two children born deaf and requiring cochlear implants to acquire speech and language, Tina has strived to give back financially and in-kind by raising awareness for The Hear and Say Centre.

The awards event also announced the winner of QCF’s 4th annual Photo Challenge where Queensland photographers were invited to capture an image of kindness or philanthropy.  The winning photographer was Anne Murray for her “Wominjeka (Welcome)” entry which captured North Stradbroke Island indigenous elder, Uncle Fred.

Anne’s chosen charity to receive her $2000 prize donation is the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

QCF’s 10th annual Philanthropist of the Year Awards were proudly sponsored by founding sponsors, Queensland Investment Corporation and The Public Trustee along with major partners, Queensland University of Technology, Northern Trust, Anglo American and media partners, Channel 7 and 4MBS Classic FM.