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the Fund do some great stuff but their role is not to grow the philanthropic pie, which was the passion that I had developed. I literally had two sleepless nights

and then woke up and thought, “well Peter, you’ve done a lot of research on philanthropy but you’re not an expert, why don’t you go and work with the Myer Family who’s been involved in philanthropy for eight decades”. It would be a terrific training ground and I thought I could do that for two or three years and then go off and work with some other body that is charged with growing the sector. I joined the Myer Foundation at the

start of 2003. At the time it was on the same floor as the Myer Family Company, which as you’d be aware, is a major family office providing a whole range of services to most of the 100 descendants of Sidney Myer, and there are now about 100 non-Myer families who are now clients of MFCo. So I’m sitting there in my first year at the Myer Family Foundation in the corner of the building, sitting there with my selfish hat on thinking, “wow, the Myer Family have got eight decades of giving experience and then we’ve got this very unusual beast in MFCo providing all these services to high-networth families estate planning, succession planning, tax accounting, investment services, superannuation, but there’s no dedicated philanthropic service offering”. All of our clients by definition were

high-networth families so if they chose to, they could all wander down the philanthropic path. To me it was sort of a no-brainer, a good move for MFCo, but also for me personally to set up a philanthropic services team at MFCo. After discussions with senior Myer family members and the senior management team at MFCo it was agreed that I would establish the philanthropic services team. That was 18 months after I started at the Myer Foundation in July 2004. I stayed in the same office by my employment transferred to the Myer Family Company and MFCo Philanthropic Services was born. Now of course that was just me. I

needed to bring in some clients to raise some fees so I could then afford to bring on a PA one day a week, and then we got some more clients and I brought on a PA two days a week, and then a part time grant researcher and then a second grant researcher.

It’s important to note that when the

team was established the Myer Family was keen not to make money from philanthropy and not to be seen to be making money from philanthropy. So our aim has always been for the philanthropic services team to cover its costs and that’s pretty much what we do. Our model is fee for service. Our larger clients are distributing a couple of million dollars a year and we might spend 10 hours a week on their foundation. The smaller clients might be distributing $50,000 a year so we might be spending 10 hours a year on them. We keep time sheets and charge them by the hour which we think is the only fair way to charge, and it often means it’s significantly cheaper than charging a percentage of corpus as some others do.

So why are you leaving now?

I’m very grateful to the Myer Family for allowing me to basically pursue my dream. Not many get the opportunity to do that. I’ve had that opportunity, I’ve had a lot of autonomy. It’s been a lot of fun, it’s been very satisfying, but it’s also relentless. You’re basically trying to change a culture in this country. There we were in Canberra recently

for the Philanthropy Australia Summit, Philanthropy Meets Parliament, we’ve got the [former] Minister for Social Services, Minister [Scott] Morrison, saying as many do, Australians are generous. Now, we know we’ve got a number of generous Australians, there are some families doing some amazing things, but we’ve got all the giving stats – we’re not generous. We need to have a reality check, and it’s hard. I get people constantly disagreeing with me, “Peter, you can’t say we’re not generous, we are”. And I say, “well look at the evidence, all the evidence suggests that we are not generous”. So it’s a lot of fun, but it’s relentless. Also, I’ve led the team for 11-and-a

half-years. I don’t think it’s good for anybody to have someone leading a team for much more than 10 years. You need fresh blood, new ideas, people need to move on to new challenges. I leave with a heavy heart but knowing that it’s the right time for me to wander off, it’s terrific. As you know, we’ve got a ripper team

in place, so I’m very comfortable for our clients, which is my concern. I wanted our

clients to be left in capable hands and they are. It’s now a good time for me. 29 years of the early train, let’s get off the early train, go and have a rest, gee I sound old when I say that. I cannot believe that I’ve worked for

29 years. It’s just mind boggling. It’s been a lot of fun, but you think, “where did the time go?” It’s very interesting. All of my clients are older and wiser than I am, and I had to make some very difficult phone calls to let them know I was leaving, and they all said pretty much the same thing, “Peter, we’re really going to miss you, you’ve really helped us develop our philanthropic purpose and get our family engaged in the community but the best thing that I ever did in my life was go and have a sabbatical, so it’s such a great idea”. So as I said, we’ll go and wander off, sit under a tree, spend a bit of time with my little boys that are eight and 10 and then clear the mind and think “ok, what’s the next adventure?” I suspect by the end of January I’ll be

getting very itchy feet, but I don’t know, I’ve never done it before.

You, Louise Doyle and Amanda Miller, also from the philanthropy team, are all leaving, is there something bigger going on?

No, not at all. Louise Doyle, as you know, she was tapped on the shoulder and has got a terrific opportunity with the Besen Foundation. With Lou and I leaving, we’re a very close-knit team, and Amanda Miller took the view that her passion is Impact Investing. Her husband, Quentin Miller, was a corporate finance guy at UBS for many years. At the start of this year he left UBS and set up his own shop. He’s got some corporate clients but he’s also doing a fair bit of work in the Impact Investing space. That has always been Amanda’s passion, so she’s taken the opportunity to think, “oh well, we’re a really close knit team, if Pete and Lou are going to wander off, I might go and do what I was going to do in a couple of years time anyway, I might go and do it now and do more work in the Impact Investment space”. People quite rightly say, “gee what is

going on? That’s three of the senior people”, but they’re all legitimate reasons and MFCo is committed to the future of philanthropy. Simon Lewis [Winneke’s replacement] is a really good operator and I’m really excited that he’s coming in. Deborah Morgan spent six years at the Myer Foundation and 10



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