Philanthropy is part of the ANU story

13 Apr 2022

From donations to establish infrastructure to gifts helping students purchase books, philanthropy advances The Australian National University (ANU) community.

Philanthropy is key to the University's story, even before the Bill establishing ANU is passed by Federal Parliament in 1946. In fact, it is four years prior to the establishment of ANU when the Association of Universities in Canberra gives the Tillyard Prize to the Canberra University College.

When Canberra University College and ANU amalgamate in 1960, the Tillyard Prize is endowed to ANU. To this day, the Tillyard Prize remains the oldest and most prestigious award available to bachelor degree students at ANU, helping shape a culture of academic excellence at the University.

Philanthropy continues to help shape ANU culturally, and later, physically. On 1 March 1975, Miss Joy London bequeaths a 348-hectare property to ANU, the Kioloa Coastal Campus.

The Campus is the University's outdoor classroom and continues to provide a natural surrounding for learning.

With these founding gifts and a developing culture of giving, in 1996 the University establishes the ANU Endowment for Excellence for better governance of philanthropic gifts. That same year, the ANU Alumni Association launches to foster a sustained connection with its alumni, coinciding with the University's 50th anniversary.


Remarkable gifts lay the foundations of philanthropy

By the 2000s, the University has an engaged philanthropic community, backed by a proven ability to positively impact change in society. A number of individuals donate gifts that remain significant to ANU staff and students and continue to shape the University's culture.

In 2013, ANU alumni Graham and Louise Tuckwell establish the prestigious Tuckwell Scholarship program. At the time, the gift is the largest donation made by individuals to an Australian university. The first cohort of 25 scholars commences a year later. In 2016, a further contribution to the University expands the scholarship program and provides more students a chance to live on campus. 

In 2014, Emeritus Professor John Love establishes the flagship Love Scholarship Program at ANU, to help students whose circumstances would have prevented them from studying at university. The Love Scholarship is committed to supporting equity, excellence and diversity at ANU, and creating opportunities for students to reach their full potential. Professor Love's generous bequest endows the program, ensuring the scholarships continue in perpetuity.


Our donor community grows and diversifies

To add to these generous gifts, ANU creates annual initiatives that allow more people to become involved in philanthropy.

In 2014-2015, our donor community grows as more individuals than ever before give to ANU during the University's inaugural telephone and mid-year appeals. This outreach fosters deep, personal connections between ANU donors, alumni and students, and builds strong philanthropic support.

The Springbank Circle also launches in 2015, to publicly recognise individuals who have confirmed their wishes to leave a gift to ANU, as stipulated in their Will.

By 2018 the University's donor community is growing in visibility, and more alumni are becoming interested in how they can give back to ANU. In addition to eight geographically based alumni networks, four new interest-based networks enhance alumni affiliations. The ANU LGBTQI Alumni Network, Young Alumni Network, Women's Alumni Network, and Indigenous Alumni Network allow students and alumni to remain connected with each other and ANU.

That same year, Alumnus Craig Edwards gifts his personal Indigenous art collection to ANU. Valued at over $9 million, the collection includes works by many influential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and is the largest collection of Indigenous artwork ever given to an Australian university. In 2020, Craig donates further paintings from his collection by leading Western Desert artist Naara Nungarrayi, in addition to a donation supporting the University's arts collection and Drill Hall Gallery. These gifts have a total value of $10,730,000. 

In 2019, the University receives a $10 million bequest from Jenny and Bruce Pryor, to boost research for dermatomyositis - a rare autoimmune disease. The donation is the largest bequest ANU has ever received and establishes the Jenny and Bruce Pryor Research Fellowship at the ANU Centre for Personalised Immunology.


Giving is as important today as 75 years ago

On 1 January 2019, the University establishes the ANU Foundation. The ANU Foundation is the governance framework for all gifts made to the University. It ensures that gifts are used for their intended purpose, and that the highest standards in fundraising activities are maintained. The new ANU Foundation replaces the ANU Endowment for Excellence.

In early 2020, the COVID pandemic hits Australia's shores. The ANU community comes together to support each other in challenging times throughout 2020 and 2021. Alumni and donors give generously to provide urgent support to students and staff during the global pandemic, ensuring scholarships and research grants remain available when needed most.

Additionally in 2020, the ANU Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre and Indigenous Elders in the University's community co-create the Kambri Scholars Program. The scholarships ensure that talented Indigenous students at ANU have everything they need to succeed, and ANU commits to providing $25 million in matched funds to create a $50 million endowment that will fund the scholarships in perpetuity.

The University's alumni and donor community continue to give generously, donating more than $21 million through the Support Australia's Students campaign from 2018-21. These, along with the many other valued contributions highlighted in this report, create opportunities for students with immense potential, regardless of their background.

Thank you to the ANU donor community for your longstanding support. Your commitment and generosity have been integral to ANU since before its inception. Your giving - whether through philanthropy, volunteering, networking or advice - is fundamental to the University, to our staff and students, to their research and education.

This impact story is a feature in the 2021 Report to Donors

Page Owner: Philanthropy