Image Courtesy Ardoch Youth Foundation
The Besen Family Foundation was established in 1978 to build on the philanthropic endeavours of Eva and Marc Besen.
This tradition of giving has evolved across four Program Areas: Arts & Culture, Jewish Community, Early Childhood Education and Environment.
Integral to the Foundation is the involvement of family members of all ages and the opportunity to engage in the spirit and practice of giving which can evolve and be handed down to future generations.
Eva Besen AO & Marc Besen AC
Debbie Dadon AM
Marc Besen AC
Debbie Dadon AM
Naomi Milgrom AO
Carol Schwartz AO
Christine Fleer (Responsible Person)
INVESTMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marc Besen AC
Debbie Dadon AM
Terry Christofides (Advisor)
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The Besen Family Foundation’s investments are managed with a responsible investing lens and a commitment to investing in companies and funds with a positive social and environmental impact.
In 2018, the Besen Family Foundation celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a special program of significant, multi-year grants to reflect the history of the family’s philanthropy with a focus on education, medical research, mental health, the promotion of tolerance and compassion and supporting Indigenous land rights and conservation.
The Besen Family Foundation’s 40th Anniversary Grant Program is made up of the following projects:
Ramat HaNegev High School in the Negev (Israel)
The Besen Family Foundation has funded the establishment of the very first high school in Ramat HaNegev in Israel’s southern periphery which opened on 1 September 2019. The High School project has been developed with the support of the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Jewish National Fund, Australia. Next door to the community of Sheizaf, the new high school will educate students from all over the region between the ages of 14-18 years, as well as provide a High Tech Hub operated by local experts, apprentice programs in conjunction with nearby research institutes and other after school activities.
The Great Cumbung Wetlands (NSW)
The Besen Family Foundation in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and other philanthropic foundations has purchased the Juanbung and Boyong stations, 33,765 ha in western NSW along with the properties’ water rights to protect the land for conservation and enable its transfer to co-ownership with the Traditional Owners, the Nari Nari People.
Alzheimer’s Research Program (VIC)
The Besen Family Foundation has partnered with the Myer family’s Yulgibar Foundation to fund the Young Clinician’s Program for Alzheimer’s Research over five years to collaborate across a range of medical and scientific disciplines and to research ways in which to delay the onset, slow down the progress and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s disease.
RUOK Day (Israel)
The Besen Family Foundation has partnered with ENOSH (Israel) to replicate Australia’s mental health awareness campaign RUOK Day in Israel. This campaign, which was created in Australia, seeks to empower the community to tackle the issue of mental health through a dedicated annual RUOK Day which encourages people in schools and workplaces and across social media to discuss mental health issues with friends and colleagues. ENOSH, the project partner, was also established in 1978 to support people with psychiatric disabilities and their family members.
Jewish Holocaust Centre (VIC)
The Besen Family Foundation has dedicated the Gallery of the Permanent Museum Display at the Holocaust Centre in Victoria as part of the capital campaign to redevelop the existing Centre on Selwyn Street, Elsternwick. The Jewish Holocaust Centre plays an important role in running educational tours for visitors and, programs for schools, staffed by survivors of the Holocaust which aim to combat antisemitism, racism and prejudice in the community, and to foster understanding between people.
Bialik College Creche (VIC)
The Besen Family Foundation has supported the new Bialik College Creche at the College’s Hawthorn campus. The crèche will provide an opportunity for the school to offer the full range of educational and care facilities from 3 months old right through to VCE, on one campus.
Polyglot Puppet Theatre (VIC)
The Besen Family Foundation has supported the development of Polyglot’s offices at the Abbotsford Convent. Polyglot was also established in 1978 and the Company’s relocation to Abbotsford Convent after 40 years will increase opportunities for collaboration and performance as the company continues its work as Australia’s leading creator of interactive and participatory theatre for children and families.