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Paul Ramsay Foundation announces new strategic direction

“We want to inspire our partners and the rest of our society to challenge norms”.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation has announced its new strategic direction with a focus on innovation, systems change, and a commitment to improving health and education outcomes for the entire Australian population, with a particular additional focus on some of our most disadvantaged communities.

Last financial year, the Foundation committed more than $82m to health and education projects. The Foundation will continue to refine its strategy around the key focus areas of chronic health conditions and mental health, early childhood, teaching quality and education at key life transitions.

Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO, Simon Freeman, said the Foundation was well positioned to make significant investments across health and education at a critical time in Australian history.

“We want to reduce the proportion of Australians facing chronic disease by identifying and supporting interventions that have strong evidence for preventing modifiable risk factors and improving service delivery,” Freeman said.

“We will also be looking at the evidence around how interventions at different life stages might offer different returns on investment.

“Within the Education portfolio, we believe that a high-performing, equitable education system in Australia, where no child is left behind, is crucial for a thriving Australia. Because of this we are investing in early childhood education and care, ways in which we might support teaching quality, and strategies for successful transitions through critical life stages. Where possible we will be looking to link the education and health work together, particularly around the early years and other key life stages such as adolescence.”

Freeman said the Foundation’s new strategy articulated its commitment to working with the brightest minds, organisations and institutions in Australia and across the globe, to identify root causes, and find scalable, strategic and innovative solutions to bring about systemic change.

“Through bold, thoughtful investment in these areas over the next decade, and working collaboratively with key change makers, organisations and government, we have the potential to catalyse genuine, long-term change in Australia’s health and education systems,” Freeman said.

Established by iconic Australian businessman Paul Ramsay, the Paul Ramsay Foundation is one of Australia’s largest philanthropic foundations, having received a $3 billion bequest from its founder upon his death in 2014.

Freeman said that the values and legacy of its founder, in particular, Paul’s passion for helping communities and individuals reach their full potential, continued to guide the organisation’s work.

“We want to inspire our partners and the rest of our society to challenge norms and think and do things differently.”

“We recognise that complex problems need multi-faceted solutions. This is why we will focus on systems change approaches and co-design methodologies that foster and harness community engagement, cross-sector partnerships and knowledge exchange.”

He said the Foundation aspires to be known not simply for the scale of its investments, but for the way in which it invests, and the change that type of investment can enable. “Money is only one part of the equation. We are looking to bring stakeholders together to work with each other and the Foundation on an ongoing basis. We certainly won’t be looking to fund and forget.”

“We also remain committed to using and sharing our experiences to grow the knowledge and depth of philanthropy in Australia. We will direct a significant proportion of our annual investments towards initiatives that build the capacity of Australia’s social sector.”

“A strong and vibrant sector is absolutely critical to the success of the Paul Ramsay Foundation,” he said. “Only by partnering with the best and giving them the resources they need will we begin to unlock the true potential of Paul’s legacy.”

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