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Australia’s leading specialist trustee company releases third annual Giving Review

• $91 million total grants and bequests in financial year 2020 • $83.4 million total grants from charitable trusts, up from $78.8 million in 2019
• Over 3000 grants made
• 204 grants over $100,000 to not for profits and charities
• Largest single discretionary grant - $1.3 million in medical research

Leading provider of philanthropic funding, Equity Trustees, today released a report containing analysis of $91 million of philanthropic granting and bequests overseen by the Company in the 2020 financial year.

Carol Schwartz AO, Equity Trustees’ recently appointed Chair, said while the catastrophic bushfires and pandemic had made 2020 a tough year for the for-purpose sector, Equity Trustees had made significant progress on its three-year goals around measuring its social impact.
“The for-purpose sector needed immediate support to keep the lights on and to keep vital services going, while also needing to work towards the resilience of the sector in the long term.

“This year, that meant being faster, more flexible and more innovative than ever before in our funding – adapting ourselves to what our partners told us they needed to support the community through these tough times,” she said.

Ms Schwartz welcomed the opportunity to Chair Equity Trustees, which is one of the largest sources of philanthropic funding in Australia.
“It is difficult to recall a time when philanthropy has been so critically necessary to help us meet the challenges before us,” she said.

Ms Schwartz noted that the practice of philanthropists establishing their giving throughout their lifetime, rather than leaving their giving in bequests, was gaining momentum in Australia in 2020.

“We’re observing that Australians are becoming much more active in this area. We are seeing an increasing trend of parents engaging their children and grandchildren to discuss their family values and agree on how their philanthropy will make a difference as a family over multiple generations,” she said.

Some examples of the initiatives supported by Equity Trustees philanthropic granting and its partners in the for-purpose sector in FY 2020 include:

• Rapid response grants to communities affected by the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic
• Collaborations to strengthen the conservation and climate change movement
• Working to empower Indigenous organisations
• Funding collaboration around key reform in the out of home care sector
• Catalysing a campaign aimed at fighting ageism in Australia
• Backing leading Medical researchers; and much more.

The Annual Giving Review sets out Equity Trustees’ blueprint for responsible stewardship in the philanthropic sector and measures impact in four key focus areas:

1. Children and young people
2. Ageing and aged care
3. Medical research and health
4. Animals and environment

Mick O’Brien, Managing Director, Equity Trustees said a key focus for the business in 2020 had been establishing a responsive, flexible approach to supporting the community in the unusually tough times which were the hallmarks of 2020.

“This has been clearly demonstrated by the establishment of two Disaster Response Trusts after the summer bushfires, which are designed to support those impacted by the disaster, by providing our clients  our employees and the business community impassioned by the crises, a means by which to help,” he said.

“We have contributed a huge pro-bono effort to establish the trusts and efforts to scale our ability to make rapid response grants to those in need, into the future.”

Equity Trustees is continually moving towards a more quantitative approach to measuring its impact, not just via philanthropy but across the board as an ASX-listed company.

“By caring for our community, our people and our shareholders, we stand to do incredible things in the future,” Mr O’Brien concluded. 

The report can be viewed at



Alicia Kokocinski
General Manager – Marketing & Communications
03 8623 5396 / 0403 172 024

Equity Trustees was established in 1888 for the purpose of providing independent and impartial Trustee and Executor services to help families throughout Australia protect their wealth. As Australia’s leading specialist trustee company, we offer a diverse range of services to individuals, families and corporate clients including asset management, estate planning, philanthropic services and Responsible Entity (RE) services for external Fund Managers. Equity Trustees is the brand name of EQT Holdings Limited (ABN 22 607 797 615) and its subsidiary companies, publicly listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: EQT) with offices in Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, London and Dublin. Philanthropy services are provided by Equity Trustees Wealth Services Limited (ABN 33 006 132 332) (AFSL 234528), part of the EQT group of companies.