The Walter and Eliza Hall Trust
Over 90 years in partnership
'His concern for the needs of others, especially those in disadvantaged circumstances or suffering from long term illness or disabilities’ are the words used by the Trustees of the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust in honouring Sir Vincent Fairfax on his retirement in 1993, after serving as a Trustee for 39 years.
The Walter and Eliza Hall Trust was established in 1912 by Eliza Hall in memory of her husband Walter Hall. The principle aim of the Trust is to assist individuals and families experiencing financial disadvantage. The Trust’s association with the Fairfax family commenced in 1927 when Geoffrey Evan Fairfax was appointed Trustee, followed by John (Hubert) Fairfax (Trustee 1932-1950) and Sir Vincent (Trustee 1953-1992). The continuous association of the Fairfax family and the Trust has now spanned over 90 years. In this century alone, VFFF has distributed over $3 million to the Trust to provide direct, essential assistance to those in our community who are experiencing significant hardship.
There are few charitable organisations with the capability to operate a grants program directly to individuals, and it was this particular focus which was so attractive to Sir Vincent. He commented that this was ‘a suitable way for our family fund to provide for individuals who are in need in a way that could not be accomplished by ourselves without an agent to administer it’. He was particularly concerned ‘to help individuals who suffered from special, unforeseen, emergency setbacks’.
Today, the Trust is a small and nimble organisation that promptly assists people with one-off small grants towards their critical daily needs.
John has received a Disability Support Benefit for the past 18 years. He is skilled and passionate with fixing motor cycles and wanted to establish his own business and has been collecting tools over many years. John travels by public transport to the library to use their computers. WEHT provided $400 for the purchase of a laptop which will enable John to establish his business.
“I’m the proud owner of my own PC. I really appreciate it. I would never be able to buy a personal computer without the help of a life changing charity ….”
Joanne and her 9 year old son Brian fled their home as the result of domestic violence. They resided in a refuge prior to securing their own rental accommodation. WEHT provided funding for the purchase of a washing machine, dryer and bedding.
“thank you … for your help at this complex time of our lives. It has literally rescued us from an impossible situation financially. I know you will never really know the depth of our gratitude”.
Recognising the increased demand on the Trust’s resources and their unique expertise, in 2019 VFFF increased the annual distribution to $500,000 for the next five years. VFFF is proud to continue this long tradition of charitable giving and to maintain this type of granting within our portfolio.