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8th Annual Awards Night Celebration

On Thursday, 17 November our Melbourne Women’s Fund community gathered for our Eighth Annual Grant Awards Celebration at Melbourne Town Hall. And what a night it was! Over 120 members and guests—including budding philanthropists as young as ten-years-old—attended.

Nicky Friedman, Deputy Chair of the Victorian Women’s Trust and of Justice Connect, was the event’s guest speaker. First Step, Northern Community Legal Centre and You Matter each presented for the $40,000 Nurturing Grant. Law and Advocacy Centre for Women, Tradeswomen Community Foundation and Wellsprings for Women followed, each presenting for the $75,000 Signature Grant.

Our FY21/22 members voted to award the Nurturing Grant to You Matter and the Signature Grant to Tradeswomen Community Foundation. We were very pleased to award $7,000 to each of the very worthy runners-up organisations. Additionally, representatives of private ancillary funds in the audience committed at least $33,000 across several of these organisations after hearing their presentations.

Special thanks to our Gold Sponsor, Bendigo Community Bank Elwood, and Silver Sponsors Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Melbourne Town Hall/Epicure and Audio Visual Dynamics for making the event possible.

Interested in learning about our 2022 Finalists and their proposed initiatives? Click here.

Don’t be too polite girls!’ Wendy McCarthy Book Launch

On Wednesday, 14 September 2022, Melbourne Women’s Fund partnered with Australians Investing in Women and PwC to conduct the very successful event ‘Don’t Be Too Polite, Girls’. Featuring author Wendy McCarthy AO in conversation with Catherine Fox AM and attended by over 160 people, this event highlighted Wendy’s valuable wisdom, learnings, insights and anecdotes relating to her life-long efforts to improve the well-being of women.With Catherine, Wendy addressed topics that covered her early days as a teacher, her life’s journey with her husband, giving circle work, the value of mentors and mentoring throughout your life and standing up for women particularly in the corporate and public service work.

Her memoir of the same name “Don’t be Too Polite Girls” published in 2022 refreshingly details her many examples of not taking “No” as the answer, and not being afraid to accept challenges when presented. She gave us an inkling of her steely resolve as well as her undoubted intelligence, charisma and fortitude.

The evening was a clarion call for all women to live a life with bravery, ambition and heart and she undoubtedly left the young women in the audience with the challenge to fulfill their potential in their growing careers and life journey. We were very fortunate to be able to present these two engaging women, and to reach a new audience as well.

Special thanks to Sasha Lawrence, Anglea Martin and PwC for generously sponsoring this event; the Melbourne Women’s Fund volunteer events committee for all of their dedicated behind-the scenes organisation; Julie Reilly OAM for her introduction and MC work; Eltham Bookshop for providing Wendy’s books for sale; and Sofitel Melbourne for providing Wendy’s accommodation.

'What Women Want' Panel Event

On Thursday 9 June, Melbourne Women’s Fund delivered a sold-out event titled ‘What Women Want’. Featuring Tania Farha (CEO of Safe and Equal), Jeanette Large (CEO of Women’s Property Initiatives), Dr Emily Porter (Senior Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St Lawrence) and moderated by Julie Reilly OAM (CEO, Australians Investing in Women), this panel discussion focused on the crucial issues of women’s homelessness, family violence and economic security.

This was an intensely engaging and educational event with much audience interaction. It’s worth viewing to appreciate the complex and interrelated nature of these issues and learn about the dynamics underpinning them. To view the panel discussion, click here.

Special thanks to Perpetual Private, whose sponsorship made the event possible. Our thanks also to Just Gold Digital Agency, which filmed the event pro bono for their Invisible Woman Project in partnership with the City of Melbourne.

Indigenous Cultural Awareness Workshop

On Tuesday 3 May, MWF held its first Indigenous Cultural Awareness Workshop, with valued sponsorship from Bendigo Community Bank Elwood. Its aim: to give MWF members and guests the opportunity to become more aware of Aboriginal culture to better understand the issues faced by First Nations’ organisations and people.

Presenters Josh Wanganeen and Drucilla Morgan from VACSAL (Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited) created inspiring, insightful and thought-provoking content. The event’s venue—the Koorie Heritage Trust rooms overlooking the current and traditional meeting place of Birrarung (Yarra River) and Federation Square—further enriched the workshop experience. In this beautiful setting, social and intellectual exchanges continued over morning tea by Bunji Catering, a corporate catering venture with certified Indigenous ownership and management. 

Extremely positive participant feedback called for more events of this kind. The workshop identified significant topics to pursue: the importance of dadirri – deep listening; belonging, connectedness and communication from the heart; as well as strategies for empathy and being better allies and champions. This was a rich experience of insights and learnings that engaged everyone involved.

Welcome back Celebration Dinner

The MWF Welcome Back Celebration Dinner was held on the 24th February at The Terrace in the beautiful Botanic Gardens, South Yarra.

A perfect late summer evening saw a wonderful turn-out of members and guests gathering at the Ornamental Lake for drinks and canapes – all enjoying the thrill of socialising once more.

Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Professor Tim Entwisle, kindly welcomed us and reminded us just how truly amazing our local botanic gardens are.


We then sat down and enjoyed some light-hearted entertainment provided by comedian Alex Ward. There was a buzz in the room throughout dinner as we enjoyed fine food and company.

The evening was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate being together again, to welcome new members and to get excited about our work ahead supporting vulnerable women and families in our community.