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Melbourne Women’s Fund (MWF) was co- founded in 2014 by Patricia Burke and Gillian Hund.

In 2023 we became Melbourne Women’s Foundation.

Friends and colleagues with an extensive history of community service that has included board positions for organisations ranging from children’s charities to foundations, managerial roles in the for-purpose sector, fundraising and the championing of others in their own social impact endeavours, they recognised a need in Melbourne for the establishment of a giving circle committed to the needs of vulnerable women and families.

Both women were inspired by visiting and learning from philanthropic collective giving leader and luminary Colleen Willoughby, who co-founded the Washington Women’s Foundation (WWF) more than 20 years ago. WWF has served as a guiding light for many similar giving circles across the USA and now in Australia. 

Colleen was brought to Australia on a speaking tour regarding “The Power of Collaborative Giving” by the Australian Women Donors Network in 2013. She was instrumental in providing advice and encouragement in launching MWF and continues to provide valuable support.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation supported the establishment of Melbourne Women’s Fund since its launch in 2014 to 2023 as a sub fund of the Foundation. Dr Catherine Brown OAM, CEO and her staff were instrumental in ensuring MWF became of the leading collaborative giving organisations in Australia.

MWF made inaugural grants of $81,000 in 2015 to nonprofits supporting Melbourne women and their families. It has continued to grow its membership numbers and donations, granting to date approximately $707,000 to 36 non-profit organisations. For further details about our grant awards click here.

In January 2020, Gillian and Pat were both awarded Order of Australia Medals: Gillian for service to charitable organisations and Pat for service to the community through charitable organisations. Both women feel that these awards also recognise the work done by all the volunteer members who provide their time, talents and treasure to have a collective impact with their giving.