A gift was given sometime during the last century to build an “intermediate hospital” to care for low income patients in the inner Melbourne Suburb of Richmond, which established the Epworth Hospital, and was voted the most popular gift at the people’s choice awards.
People were asked across social media, news networks and more to submit their votes online nominating their favourite gift from a list of the best 50 gifts ever given in Australia.
The most popular gift was the original donation to start the Epworth Hospital.
The second most popular people’s choice gift was from”Dr Willian Wyatt from the Wyatt Trust” an English surgeon who was decided to help after seeing many of the early South Australian settlers living in poverty. The Wyatt Trust over the years has given grants to tens of thousands of people in need for over a century now ranging from a few pounds to two million dollars.
Number three in the people’s choice awards was the establishment of the Human Rights Law Centre in 2006 which became the first legal centre established for human rights law in Australia. It was first funded by the R E Ross Trust for the amount of $15,000, the Victoria Law Foundation contributed $80,000, plus donations from the National Australia Bank, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Allens Arthur Robinson.
The awards bought together representatives from the Myer Family Company, The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, Swinburne University and Pro Bono Australia to preside over the awards. Peter Winneke from the Myer Family Company said, “The Top 50 gifts celebrate Australia’s most significant philanthropic achievements from the 1800s until today. Each gift has been responsible for shaping Australian society, culture and public policy in areas including the arts, environment, health, housing, science and education.”
Gifts over the years have come from a broad range of people, companies and organisations including Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE, the Vincent Fairfax Foundation, the Ian Potter Foundation, Sidney Myer, Political leader Dr Bob Brown of the Greens party, as well as gifts from lesser known people like the three friends who gave $150 to start the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.
“By sharing and celebrating these unique gifts and achievements, we hope to inspire all Australians to give,” Winneke said.
The long term benefits of the top 50 gifts isn’t always about the amount of money given, and is often about the initiative of caring enough to start something and get the ball rolling for others and generations of the future to join and grow in to something that will effect peoples lives.
Amongst the various gifts given over the years are the Walkley Awards, the Heart Foundation, the Parkes Telescope, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, St Vincents Institute of Medical Research, the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), and the founding gift that started the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Pro Bono Australia Founder Karen Mahlab said, “You dont have to be a Myer or a Murdoch to give. Anyone can do it as the legacies of these pioneering givers have shown. You just need passion for a cause and a dose of risk-taking to start something worthwhile and innovative.”
The Top 10 Gifts Voted by the Australian People Choice Awards are:
Establishment of the Epworth Hospital
The Wyatt Trust
Establishment of the Human Rights Law Centre
Establishment of the Royal Botanic Gardens Australian Gardern, Cranbourne
Bush Heritage Australia
No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)
Miles Franklin Literary Award
Establishment of Burnside Homes
Establishment and Launch of The Heart Foundation of Australia
Multi-channel Cochlear Implant – Electrical Stimulation of the Hearing Nerve
“I am truly inspired by these people where even a random act of kindness can contribute to someone’s life and compound over time – and shows a wonderful meaningful way to live and legacy to leave we can all aspire to”. Robert, founder of Gift Of The Month Clubs.
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