It’s fair to say our Tenth QCF Philanthropy Awards didn’t play out quite as we planned and yet in many ways it’s our most successful ever.  Despite having to cancel the glamorous gala lunch we hoped for to bring together Queensland’s philanthropists in person and take a look back at the past ten years of giving in our community, we have been thrilled by the depth and breadth of record breaking numbers of nominations from across our state.

Every nomination contained stories of incredible generosity of spirit, kindness and thinking of others. Our judges loved reading them and debated long and hard to whittle entries down to a list of finalists whilst recognising that each nominee was an inspiration and to be commended.

The Finalists of the QCF 2020 Philanthropy Awards are:

Community Philanthropist of the Year

Bob Bryan AM – Queensland business identity Bob Bryan AM, has supported Queensland charities for over 50 years. Bob’s business success led to the formation of The Bryan Foundation in 2009, as a means of giving back to the community while creating a perpetual family legacy that would help vulnerable young Queenslanders for many generations to come. Bob believes that having access to a good education is fundamental in giving young Queenslanders the opportunity to reach their full potential and secure fulfilling, meaningful and productive employment.

Perry Cross AM – As the only philanthropist and motivational speaker on 24 hours a day life support, Perry Cross is an example of bold and determined leadership in philanthropy.  The funds he has raised towards medical research and a cure for spinal cord injuries originated in his unique individual experience and has increased through his resolute and unwavering efforts. The Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation has led to funding significant research projects that have the potential to changes lives as a direct result of his indomitable spirit.

Prof Ian Frazer AC and Caroline Frazer – Ian and Caroline Frazer’s leadership and philanthropic support has had an indelible impact on the Queensland community. At the heart of all of their activities is education. In particular, their ongoing support of the arts has been critical in helping to maintain a generation of young artists in Queensland. They are passionate about discovering, educating and celebrating the next generation of talent. In addition, Ian’s advocacy for the health sector has had an undeniable impact on Queensland and the health of our state and nation.

Elena Gosse –  Elena is a ‘game changer’, has been named in Australia’s 100 most influential women and has won over 40 national and international awards for her leadership, advocacy and philanthropy.
Elena’s late father was a perpetrator of Domestic Violences so Elena chose to use her experience to help first hand. Another of Elena’s passions is to raise awareness of the role we must play in preserving our most precious resource, water. Elena’s company, AIS Water’s technology saves millions of litres of water waste from swimming pools daily and she is working on a philanthropic initiative tied to water conservation.

Dr Joanna Tait – Dr Tait’s exemplary philanthropy is evident through the participation of her large family – their giving culture will transcend generations. As a busy doctor, she has innovatively designed WANTZ to engage clinicians united to work to raise funds to support many of those they serve. During her medical career spanning more than 35 years she  has been a medical adviser, member Qld Medical Women’ Society, previous President AAMSAA and AMA Council member and awarded the AMA Award of Distinction.

Emerging Philanthropist of the Year

Kathryn Dorante – Kat is an inspiration to primary and high school students from low-socio economic, rural, and Indigenous backgrounds. She works to ensure there are support systems in place for Indigenous students to feel welcome in higher education, to thrive, and to succeed in their chosen careers.

Jack Growden –  Townsville-born and raised, Jack built LiteHaus from a dream funded by $20 into an international organisation staffed by 45 volunteers. In Queensland, the impact of Jack’s generosity has been profound, with over 200 students receiving access to digital devices since March 2020.  In 2020, Jack, thinking on his feet, developed the Remote Learning Program to provide marginalised students across the region with a digital device as schools went online, leaving many behind. Jack had devices in students’ hands within a few weeks from as far afield as the Tablelands, Cairns, the Burdekin and Charters Towers.

Tina Worland – Having had 2 children born deaf, who wear cochlear implants to acquire speech and language , Tina has strived to give back financially and in kind by raising awareness about The Hear and Say Centre.  She has volunteered as a parent member working in many roles as a mentor/support for newly diagnosed families of children with a hearing impairment lobbied for better services and treatment for children who are hearing impaired or have special needs.

Corporate Philanthropist of the Year

Auto & General – has supported Act for Kids since 2012. This year, in response to COVID-19, which saw both demand for Act for Kids’ services increase and philanthropic and corporate support decline, A&G made a staggering end of financial year donation of $500,000 – the largest
single donation in Act for Kids’ 33-year history. This donation was on top of the $250,000 donated by A&G throughout the year. Social isolation measures have meant that many children have been spending more time with people who harm or neglect them, and without connection to their usual support networks. A&G’s philanthropic support has helped Act for Kids reach many more isolated children through telehealth, and give them a second chance at childhood through trauma-informed therapy.

Suncorp – Suncorp’s philanthropic leadership is demonstrated through its partnerships that build the capability of partner organisations through sustainable program development. The employee nominated local charity partnerships are decided through a collaborative approach with Suncorp employees. In 2019 over 1,000 staff responses were received. Since launching a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in May 2018 Suncorp has partnered with community organisations such as the Clontarf Foundation and supported National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week with events across Australia. Team Girls, a Suncorp initiative, is helping keep girls involved in team sport by nurturing perseverance, resilience and confidence through sport.

Technology One – Under TechnologyOne’s Pledge 1% commitments, team members are each eligible for 2.5 days of volunteering leave per year. In 2019 that amounted to a total of 3,744 hours of volunteering across the company. Much of that was achieved during Foundation Fortnight in November, a new initiative introduced last year, which resulted in 2,376 hours of volunteering from 1000 employees, 700 of these employees based in Brisbane. The organisation also has a commitment to re-use. In 2019 it donated 1.5 tonnes of unwanted IT equipment to social enterprise Substation 33 for use in training at-risk youth. It also donated the proceeds from the sale of 300 pieces of IT equipment to charity partners.

Philanthropy Innovation of the Year

Zoe Black – Founder of unique social enterprise Happy Paws Happy Hearts Foundation a innovative connection model that helps rescue animals, aged care and veterans to support individuals to receive important training, skills development opportunities and gain confidence so they may go forward with further integration in employment and society generally.

Simon Lockyer  – co-founder of YoungCare, Everyday Hero Fundraising platform and Five Good Friends, Simon has proven to be a successful serial entrepreneur and through his ventures has achieved significant outcomes across all aspects of social and environmental impact. He has given of his time, made significant personal investments and done all of this very professionally and rather quietly. Simon has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals in Queensland and with his boundless energy, incredible vision and desire to create models that generate sustainable outcomes there will be many more people in future.

Lily Luhrmann – Through jobs lost from shutdowns and ineligibility for JobKeeper, 19,000 international students living in Queensland were deemed at risk during COVID (Deloitte).
Lilly Luhrmann stepped up to develop an appeal that has now become  a $10 million Crisis Assistance Fund spread across Queensland universities and TAFE international student bursaries and a specially designed portal where internationals studying VET and ELICOS could apply for $500 grants.
Lilly highlighted how international students had fallen through the gaps of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response in this multimedia campaign and financial appeal


SME Philanthropist of the Year

50-50 Foundation – The 50-50 Foundation is a Queensland-based ACNC registered charity that aims to transform the Australian fundraising landscape. It operates two not-for-profit fundraising products, Play For Purpose and 50-50 Charity Raffle with the majority of funds to date going directly to Queensland organisations. Since its inception the 50-50 Foundation has facilitated over 30,000 hours of support from volunteers through its corporate and not-for-profit volunteering program.

Senex Energy – Senex Energy has demonstrated its ability to make a positive impact on the lives of Queenslanders, helping motivate other industries and businesses to do the same.
Senex illustrates philanthropic leadership and initiative through its community involvement and enthusiasm to make a difference in the communities in which it operates. Senex does not just donate money, and instead encourages partnerships through longer-term commitments, embedding philanthropy into business-as-usual. Senex then communicates the impact of their philanthropy, which includes support for initiatives that save lives and make a difference in the lives of those living in the areas in which it operates. This illustrates that Senex is delivering on its dedication to being a good neighbour, and an active member of the community.

Wolff Coffee Roasters – (WCR) are roasters with a big heart. Driven through CEO Penny Wolff and filtering through the entire organisation, the company supports an array of Queensland charities, notably Women’s Legal Service and the St Margarets Foundation. WCR also operates a significant giving program, responsible for funding numerous international coffee producers, to schools for example supplying of water tanks (Kenya) books/resources (Costa Rica).  WCR partners with Oz Harvest to donate excess food goods and all student roasted coffee beans from their College. These bags of quality, specialty roasted coffee and food supplies are then distributed to organisations to help those in need.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the amazing work these philanthropists have been quietly undertaking with no need for recognition or accolades.  QCF is delighted to shine a light, on their achievements and thank them for their thoughtfulness and generosity which makes such a difference to Queenslanders and our future generations.  We look forward to acknowledging them personally at a small, COVID compliant presentation at Parliament House on 7th September when the awards will be presented.