One of the key goals of Impact100 WA is to provide valuable educational opportunities for West Australians interested in philanthropy. Every year we hold our Generous Australians event where well-known Australians who have given back to our community are invited to a Q&A session to discuss their stories, their motivations and their activities, in order to provide insight and inspiration to the wider public.

  • 2013 – We spoke to leading businessman and philanthropist Andrew Forrest.
  • 2014 – Janet Holmes à Court shared her lifelong experiences of social and business entrepreneurship.
  • 2015 – Malcolm and Tonya McCusker, both high profile WA community people and generous givers.
  • 2016 – Kerry Harmanis, champion of philanthropy in Western Australia.
  • 2017 – Nicola Forrest openly and honestly shared her journey of philanthropy.
  • 2018 – Gerard Neesham took us through the challenges and highs of building the Clontarf Foundation.
  • 2018 – Charlie Bass, founder and Chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research & Innovation (CERI).
  • 2019 – George Jones, former board member of Parkerville Children and Youth Care and a strong supporter of both the George Jones Child Advocacy Centre and the Ear Science Institute of Australia.
  • 2020 – Annie and Caitlyn Fogarty, a mother and daughter team who are the Executive Chair and Executive Officer, respectively, of the Fogarty Foundation.
  • 2021 – Dr Bruce Robinson, founder of the Fathering Project and WA of the Year in 2013.
  • 2022 – Dr Fiona Wood, leading burns specialist, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, medical researcher, mother of 6 and was the 2005 Australian of the Year
  • 2023 – Professor Lyn Beazley AO, distinguished neuroscientist as well as a passionate ambassador for education and science.

Generous Australians for 2023 – Professor Lyn Beazley AO

Professor Lyn Beazley AO

Lyn is a distinguished neuroscientist as well as a passionate ambassador for education and science. She was the first female Chief Scientist in Australia, serving in WA from 2006 to 2013 and continues to work tirelessly to promote education, the Arts, and philanthropy across Australia and internationally. Her contribution to society is enormous and her enthusiasm and energy are highly infectious!

Lyn’s job title is ‘Science Ambassador’, which is certainly appropriate for this dedicated neuroscientist who has spent her career creating and promoting science outcomes. Despite the fact that she is officially retired, she continues to be a whirlwind of action.

From the incredibly long list of organisations that Lyn is still working with and supporting in all sorts of ways, she picked a few highlights to share with us and explained why she felt they were so important.

Just a couple of examples from the many we heard about:

  • Brightwater Oats Street rehabilitation program for acquired brain injury where she initiated a scholarship to investigate the science behind brain regeneration.
  • The PRISM Alliance to support WA’s brightest and best students (across all fields) in achieving their potential (and then bringing it back to WA!).
  • Your Toolkit which provides information and assistance with financial literacy for those experiencing Family and Domestic Violence and which needed a determined ambassador to make sure it had the support to get off the ground.
  • The Autism Academy which is training and promoting the now very much valued skills of individuals with Autism in the software testing industry.

It is evident that one of her greatest skills is inspiring and connecting others in order to achieve wider and more powerful outcomes than any one person could do alone – which sounds remarkably similar to Impact100 WA’s goal with our collective giving model.

Lyn also shared advice on how to keep our brains healthy: it boils down to plenty of physical and mental exercise, which we probably already know, but her extra input is that keeping our brains active and making new brain connections is most effective when we are happy, feel we are achieving something and have a positive outlook. And giving back is her go-to solution for that.

Lyn told us that her driving force is wanting “to feel I’ve done a little bit of something each day to make the world a better place”. Well, we can safely say that this very Generous Australian is achieving this in spades!

Generous Australians 2022 – Dr Fiona Wood

Fiona Wood speaks at Impact100WA Generous Australians Event

Being a world-leading burns specialist, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, a medical researcher, an active champion for her foundation and a mother of six definitely keeps her life very full and we were eager to learn what motivates her.

We heard tales of:

  • How she was brought to WA by her new Aussie husband, where she reckons the opportunities have been greater and the community immensely supportive.
  • How she moved from cleft palate reconstruction to plastic surgery, where she felt the need was so huge and she could really make a greater impact.
  • How, in 1999, she set up (and still runs) the Fiona Wood Foundation to fund the cutting-edge research, support and education that she wants done. Through her hard work and perseverance, starting over 20 years ago, the foundation is now even bringing in royalties to help support its continuing work.
  • How she has upheld and passed on her belief that ‘we don’t get up in the morning to be average’.

Fiona also gave us insights into how research is highlighting the multi-faceted negative impact of serious burns – from the more obvious physical and mental health challenges to how burns can affect our blood in the same way that depression can, and even cause heart disease and cancer.

Professor Wood’s advice on immediate first aid for burns?
Ideally, cool, clean, running water for at least 20 minutes (and up to an hour).
No ice (it will cause ice burns on top of the heat ones!).
If it can’t be running water, make sure you change it regularly so it doesn’t get warm.
You can also use a cold water spray

Fiona’s philanthropic philosophy of “giving people the opportunity to give” seems to play out every day for her.
It also happens to be one of Impact100 WA’s core goals.
Naturally, there were many questions from the floor and the conversations continued well after the session had officially ended.

It was wonderful to have such a large crowd join us for this evening and we’re sure all those who attended were inspired by her passion.

Special thanks go to The Grove Library and Silverstream Wines for their support in making this event such a success.

Generous Australians 2021 – Dr Bruce Robinson

Bruce is the founder of and a passionate advocate for The Fathering Project. 

Bruce is a born & raised Western Australian and has served the community through medical practice, research, and training, supporting fathers and father figures, and by providing volunteer medical help to our Asian neighbours in the north.

In the early 80’s, he decided that research was a passion that would help him turn his medical training into new medical discoveries. He loves learning how the body works and remains in awe of how brilliant the body is but also how much we have left to learn. He still gets excited every day when one of the research team comes in with interesting new results.

As a doctor who has to often break the bad news of terminal illnesses he could not help but notice how commonly patients said “If I had my life all over again I would have spent more time with my family”.

So, he thought I will try to help young men who are starting out on the journey as dad’s. After reading the published research on fathering, conducting >1,000 hours of interviews with fathers and children and undertaking some research, he published Fathering from the Fast Lane and another 5 books on parenting. Publishing became opportunities to speak in schools, workplaces and community events. From this The Fathering Project was established as a UWA based activity driven by the compelling statistics that show that the most powerful but missing factor in reducing youth substance abuse, crime, low self esteem, poor attitude to school and loss of values is a strong father/father-figure. Bruce and the team are very excited to know that the work through The Fathering Project has benefited well over 50,000 children.

Bruce has been a popular speaker at leadership seminars in WA and overseas. His leadership philosophy is that of a ‘servant leader’.

These activities have seen him win prestigious awards, most recently an Order of Australia (AM) and becoming Western Australian of the Year (2013/2014) and WA Australian of the Year (2014).

Generous Australians 2020 – Annie and Caitlyn Fogarty

Annie and her husband, Brett, founded the Fogarty Foundation some 20 years ago with a view to addressing disadvantage in WA by focusing on education, in order to support young people to reach their full potential and to build stronger communities. Caitlyn has been part of it for the last 12 years, firstly on the board and now as their chief exec. They shared their knowledge of the sector and their views on how it could be improved. Their passion and commitment was clearly on display for all to see!

Generous Australian 2019 – George Jones

George shared the story of how he grew up at Parkerville Children’s Home and later became a member of their board.  He had to work very hard to achieve his current position in life.  He left Parkerville when he was 15, with £20 given to him to last a month.  He caught a train into town and found a place to board.  He talked about fundraising for charities as well and believes it is a matter of asking the question (maybe multiple times) and not being turned off by receiving a no in response.

Generous Australian 2018 – Charlie Bass

Charlie generously hosted us at the organisation he founded, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation and gave us a tour of their facilities. Charlie shared some of his experiences as an entrepreneur – both great success and, at times, failures. He is also a highly regarded philanthropist, having established the Bass Family Foundation back in 2006 to provide education for disadvantaged rural children and he happily discussed the great pleasure this has brought to his family.

Generous Australian 2018 – Gerard Neesham

Gerard shared how the Clontarf Foundation uses sport as a vehicle to deliver life lessons to vulnerable and at risk boys. They aim to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. With costs of juvenile detention running up to $350,000 per child per year the $7500 per boy per year participation cost in a Clontarf Foundation program is quite literally a bargain.  Their success speaks for itself with 80% of program participants going on to employment within 6 months of finishing.  Gerard’s enthusiasm for the Foundation and its future plans was contagious and he is aiming high, wanting to make Clontarf Foundation sports programs available to every government school in Australia.  Click here to read more about Clontarf Foundation

Generous Australian 2017 – Nicola Forrest

Nicola shared her philanthropy insights into:

  • Why she does it – instilled from early on and once she’s involved, she just want to do more.
  • Who inspires her – Jeff Skoll, ex-eBay president, philanthropist and founder of a production company designed to bring about social change.
  • How they choose what to support – they look for people who are being innovative and creative (very much like Impact100 WA).
  • Why they are leading the charge in being loud and proud about their work – to provide leadership to others with the capacity to make a big difference.
  • How to pass on the culture of giving to the next generation – ignite the spark through their particular interests.

Generous Australian 2016 – Kerry Harmanis

Beginning as a lawyer, moving on to selling fish then to prospecting and nickel mining before turning his attention to the philanthropic scene, Kerry had a multitude of interesting stories and experiences to share as he spoke to the full house about his giving and imparted his hard-earned wisdom to those wanting to do their bit, too. His advice ranged from the general (“Give with no expectation of getting anything back” and “Have fun, every day is a gift“) to the specifics of his giving philosophy, such has how to say no (“I’m maxed out on my budget for giving” which he usually is!) and how he measures the outcomes of his gifts (“I go with my instincts and then I have to trust“).

He named prominent Western Australian philanthropists such as Nicola Forrest, Janet Holmes á Court and the McCuskers as providing inspiration to him but also expressed his admiration for all those who work hard behind the scenes.  Kerry was the very first official donor to Impact100 WAback in 2012 and he was happy to acknowledge his admiration for those who give their time and support to make it the success it is.

Generous Australians 2015 – Malcolm & Tonya McCusker

Malcolm and Tonya McCusker are possibly Western Australia’s best recognized philanthropist couple particularly after Malcolm’s stint as Governer of WA from July 1, 2011 to 30 June 2014. Malcolm was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to law in 2005, a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to the community (2012) and has received 2 WA Citizen of the Year Awards.

He has been patron of more than 100 organisations and remains actively involved in WA’s philanthropic culture through the family foundation: The McCusker Charitable Foundation of which Malcolm is Chairman and Tonya is a Trustee and Administrator.

The former WA Governor and his wife discussed their pursuit of philanthropy as a platform for change, their experiences with it and what they see as the future of giving.

Generous Australian 2014 – Janet Holmes a Court

Janet is one of Australia’s most awarded women. She has 6 honorary degrees, is an Office of the Order of Australia as well as being a Companion of the Order of Australia.  She has won UK Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman of the Year, become a National Trust Living Treasure and received the esteemed John Shaw Medal.

Janet Holmes à Court also has a very public face as a leading philanthropist.  She is currently the patron of 20 organisations and board member to many of WA & Australia’s key arts institutions including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Generous Australian 2013 – Andrew Forrest

Around 200 people filled the lecture theatre at UWA on a very chilly evening to hear Andrew outline how any why his family gifts funds to charitable causes.  After an introduction to the work of Impact100 WA, Andrew took to the floor and fielded questions covering many aspects of his philanthropic journey.

He discussed indigenous affairs as they relate to his business and philanthropic activities.  He was asked whether he believed wealthy people should give more for which his response was that he felt they could be considered to be ‘doing their bit’ if they were busy creating jobs and boosting the economy.  And, despite causing a few gasps with his statement “when I gave away my first 100 million dollars” he did raise the point of how generous Australians have been accused of going for the ‘tax dodge’ when they stick their heads above the parapet, declaring their generosity.

The take home message of the informal interview style presentation focused on how all individuals within a community have the opportunity to contribute at any scale and make changes for the better