The Mason Foundation (managed by Equity Trustees)

About the partnership 

The National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation (NFMRI) and Equity Trustees announced a new partnership commencing in 2018, providing $1.29 million to advance medical innovations in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Equity Trustees had conducted a review and resolved to direct the combined resources of 24 philanthropic trusts to form a new Partnership Program which will inject more than $3m over three years to health and medical research.    Other partners include the Mater Foundation and Monash Partners. 

NFMRI CEO, Dr Noel Chambers said that “he was proud NFMRI was selected as a partner following Equity Trustees’ robust selection and review process. NFMRI has worked hard to develop a unique capability and capacity to help advance medical research towards the development of new innovations including medicines, diagnostics, vaccines, devices and biologicals.”

Australia is recognised internationally to be at the forefront of medical research and this partnership includes around $600K per annum from The Mason Foundation to advance research focused on Alzheimer’s disease. With an ageing population, research into Alzheimer’s disease is of increasing importance affecting about one in ten people over 65 years, and almost one quarter of people over the age of 85.

Jodi Kennedy, General Manager of Charitable Trusts and Philanthropy at Equity Trustees said “We sought groups that have a strong focus on innovation and collaboration beyond funding, provide additional support in applying knowledge and networks to researchers to advance their careers. NFMRI is recognised as a leader, building collaborations to support medical research and translation that will provide health benefits internationally. We look forward to sharing the learnings from the process with our clients and the broader sector.”

The first special purpose grant round was held in 2018 (continued annually) to seek out proposals specific to Alzheimer’s disease that align with NFMRI’s strategy and mission. To find out more about these funding opportunities, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

The Mason Foundation

The Judith Jane Mason & Harold Stannett Williams Memorial Foundation (The Mason Foundation); the legacy of a father and daughter

The Judith Jane Mason & Harold Stannett Williams Memorial Foundation was established as a result of a generous donation in 2003 from Judith Jane Mason (nee Williams). She also made a number of top-up contributions during her lifetime. The Foundation is named in honour of the benefactor and her father, Harold Stannett Williams, who Ms Mason described as “a most intelligent, wonderful and charitable man”.

The founder directed funds to support research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Alzhiemer’s, saying “as far as Alzheimer’s is concerned I cannot think of anything worse: to be alive but not having your brain working, to me this is terrifying.” Throughout her lifetime, she suffered from ME/CFS, commenting “I don’t believe that many people understand how debilitating CFS is – in fact I believe some doctors even don’t believe in it”.

Judith Mason had the foresight to appoint Equity Trustees as the sole trustee of her Foundation during her lifetime and by doing this was able to actively shape her legacy and ensure her trustee understood well her philanthropic intent. This has enabled a seamless transition in managing the Mason Foundation following Judith Mason’s death in November 2013.

Other contributing partners include the NSW Community Foundation and the Nicholas and Phyllis Pinter Trust, also managed by Equity Trustees.