Elizabeth Cham

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Elizabeth Cham "worked with Philanthropy Australia for ten years, officially retiring as National Director in 2005. Career Highlights

"Elizabeth was educated at Loreto College. Later, a temporary position at the University of Melbourne's Department of the History and Philosophy of Science encouraged Elizabeth to consider taking on academic studies herself. Her colleagues were supportive, and she enrolled in a political science degree. It would be the first of several tertiary qualifications.

"On graduation, Elizabeth quickly found work as personal assistant to the Prime Minister's principal private secretary. She worked for Gough Whitlam until 1977, well after his dismissal. Imbued now with a thorough understanding of the machinations of government, her next post was research assistant to Professor Manning Clark. She began studying for a Masters degree in the late 1980s, supporting herself in part with paid work for the Felton Bequest and the Buckland Foundation - prominent benevolent trusts still in operation today. By 1996, she had been offered the position of National Director for Philanthropy Australia (established by the Potter and Myer Foundations in 1975). A poorly resourced secretariat at the time, the organisation has grown at the astonishing rate of 17 per cent per annum and now serves as the national membership body for grant-making foundations and trusts.

"Elizabeth's contribution to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector cannot be underestimated. Since her inception as Director, she has worked to raise the public profile of philanthropy and its contribution to Australian lives, and to change a persistent cultural attitude which dismisses philanthropy as self-aggrandisement or a tax dodge for the very wealthy. More tangible change she has brought about by way of the tax law, which until the time of her appointment was a disincentive to large-scale giving. By initiating meetings with the Prime Minister, Elizabeth sowed the seeds for the creation of the Prime Minister's Business Community Partnership. Support from this roundtable led to the creation of new laws around the establishment of foundations which should see an estimated extra $1 billion dollars in philanthropy by 2011." [1]

In 2007, while working as a Senior Research Fellow in Philanthropy (Faculty of Law and Arts, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), Cham obtained a grant from the Rockefeller Archive Center for a project titled: "The Influence of the Rockefeller Foundation in Australia: A Preliminary Investigation". [2]

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  1. Elizabeth Cham, womenaustralia, accessed April 4, 2009.
  2. Rockefeller Archive Center Grant Awards 2007, Rockefeller Archive Center, accessed April 4, 2009.