New leaders, new focus for the Menzies Foundation

The Menzies Foundation has recently undertaken a strategic review leading into its 40th year and will be shifting and refining its priorities.

From 2018, the Menzies Foundation will continue to invest in visionary and inspirational Australian leaders, focusing on three key areas:

  • new investment to identify and support the development of entrepreneurial leaders to harness and exploit new opportunities from innovation in science and technology
  • new investment in school-based education leaders (eg: principals) from all sectors and systems who have the capacity to revolutionise student learning.
  • continued investment in international law specialists who can help shape Australia’s response to increasingly complex global issues.

Chair of the Menzies Foundation, Professor Simon Maddocks, said decisions about the future work of the Foundation were shaped by three guiding principles which come from the original intent of the organisation to:

  • honour the memory of Sir Robert Menzies, particularly as it relates to education
  • invest in initiatives of national importance, and
  • make a difference to the lives of Australians, where we can demonstrate the greatest need and impact.

“As we approach 40 years since the establishment of the Menzies Foundation, we have taken the opportunity to conduct a strategic review, to take stock of our achievements and look to the future,” Professor Maddocks said.

“We are very proud of our past work and we want to continue having far-reaching impact.”

Professor Maddocks said early investment in areas of need had been extremely valuable and produced an incredible array of talented leaders. “In many instances however, there are many other organisations now offering similar scholarships to those we have supported over recent decades, and the Foundation is looking to where it can continue to identify new potential leaders but in areas of greater need and impact for the Australian community,” Professor Maddocks said.

The Foundation was established following the death of Sir Robert Menzies in 1978. A public appeal raised $6.2 million including contributions from the Australian Government. These funds were invested to support the Foundation’s work.

Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than 200 prestigious post graduate scholarships to bright and inspiring young Australians in a range of fields including law, engineering, medicine, allied health and more. It has also invested in and supported the establishment of four health and medical research institutes and supported a range of other legacy activities in line with Sir Robert’s endeavour to improve the quality of life for all Australians.

CEO Sarah Hardy said, as the Menzies Foundation makes the transition towards its new key focus areas, some tough decisions have been made on continuation of some of the existing initiatives.

“All current commitments will be fulfilled, including scholarships underway. The majority of our existing initiatives will be completed by the end of this calendar year. Most of our current scholarship program will no longer be offered, and w e will not call for applications for any scholarships in 2017 whilst we undertake work to transition the Foundation into the new focus areas.

“This is a very exciting time for the Foundation as we identify the next wave of leaders who can have an impact on the lives of many Australians.”

The Menzies Foundation will spend 2017 shaping its new priorities and unveil them during the 40th year celebrations.