Stanislaw Blum arrived in Australia in 1949 – a qualified civil engineer from Poland, who spent the duration of WWII as a prisoner-of-war. The post –war years were spent working for the US army, rebuilding war-torn Germany.
Like many other migrants to Australia, he was committed to a two-year work contract. His first two years as a migrant were spent in Whyalla in South Australia, and opportunities for employment led him to Eildon (Victoria) and eventually Cooma (NSW), where he spent the last 25 years of his working life. It was there his pre-war qualifications were recognised and he was employed as an engineer.
He lived quietly and frugally in a workers’ hostel with few personal possessions. Apart from his books and personal mementos, he treasured his late 1950s Holden, which he purchased brand-new and drove until he passed away.
With retirement, Stanislaw purchased a home in Boronia, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria. He died in 1998 at the age of 90, never having married or children.
It was only with his death his level of generosity was revealed. Though hard work, he acquired properties and investments, which eventually became the basis for The Blum Foundation.
He lived with the belief that the average person can assist and make a difference even in a small way. Although he didn’t have any immediate family, he felt that he was part of a larger family – that of the Polish Australia community, which became his main beneficiary.
Close to his heart was the maintenance of Polish culture and language for future generations in Australia. He demonstrated this by dedicating The Blum Foundation to the promotion and encouragement of education of the Polish languages and culture in Australia.
Equity Trustees is sole trustee of The Blum Foundation, overseeing the distribution of $50,000 per year to Polish organisations in Australia. The Foundation gifts two types of grants: 1) Organisation Support Grants (up to $1000), for the support and development of an organisation, and 2) Special Project Support Grants (up to $5000), which go towards Polish cultural festivals and artistic endeavours. Grant applications are reviewed and decided by a National Advisory Committee representing the Polish Communities in every Australian state plus the ACT.