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New Sub-Fund stands with Aboriginal women and girls

On the first day of summer, 40 people gathered at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square for the launch of the Chris Friday Sub-Fund of the Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust (VWBT). This special occasion celebrated the generosity of Chris Friday in endowing the Sub-Fund and also recognised the incredible importance of its purpose – supporting Aboriginal women and girls in Victoria. VWT is particularly proud of this new Sub-Fund because it will seek applications only from Aboriginal community organisations. It will make grants for projects addressing the education, health and housing needs of Aboriginal women and girls.

Chris Friday is a committed philanthropist and community worker who has already set-up another philanthropic foundation, the Harry and Clare Friday Foundation, in honour of her parents. At the launch Chris described how she was adopted as a three-year-old child and was very lucky to have been raised by adoptive parents who had strong values of service to the community. Throughout her life, Chris (a former teacher) has contributed to strengthening communities – as a regular volunteer with numerous not-for-profit organisations and supporting the Mansfield community, where she grew up, through the Harry and Clare Friday Foundation. Now she has turned her attention and support towards Aboriginal communities through their women and girls.

Chris explained how the Sub-Fund came into being. “Some years ago I needed to make a new will and as I have no partner, no offspring and no siblings, the question was, what do I do with my estate? After discussion with others, I decided that I wished to leave my estate for charitable purposes in order to make a difference, at the grass roots level, to others less fortunate than I.”

“Having had a significant birthday in 2016 and VWT having had a significant birthday in the past 12 months, it seemed an appropriate time to start a Sub-Fund!”

Happy birthday Chris and VWT again!

Chris explained that as a non-Indigenous woman she was unsure how this purpose of assisting Aboriginal women would be perceived, and was a little hesitant. “However, VWT assured me that it was okay, and having been a participant at the recent Breakthrough gender equality event and attending breakout sessions led by inspirational Aboriginal women, I no longer have any doubt that this Sub-Fund will make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal women and girls.

“If I can set-up a perpetual foundation for a community and a Sub-Fund to support vulnerable women and girls who are disadvantaged, then others can too.  I encourage people to think for the long-term and give where their hearts are.”

VWT director Leanne Miller said this Sub-Fund is a milestone in Australian philanthropy. “Chris Friday, as a white Australian woman, is standing up for Aboriginal women and girls, and seeking to contribute to their self-determination and empowerment. This Sub-Fund raises the bar for philanthropic foundations to be purposefully shaped this way.”

Thank you, Chris, we are grateful and honoured by your leadership and that you have placed your faith in VWBT.


Make a donation to the Chris Friday Sub-Fund today or get in touch with VWBT General Manager, Carolyn Munckton. to discuss creating a named Sub-Fund to remember a special woman in your life.

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