2015 Great Australian Philanthropy Award: Mr John Gandel & Mrs Pauline Gandel

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 AskRIGHT Great Australian Philanthropy Award

The Great Australian Philanthropy Award recognises personal philanthropic contributions over a period of time by an individual or family to health and medical research

Award Winners

Mr John Gandel, AO &
Mrs Pauline Gandel
Gandel Philanthropy

Gandel Philanthropy is one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic funds. Gandel Philanthropy has been the vehicle for charitable giving by the extended Gandel family since its formation as the Gandel Charitable Trust back in 1978.

John Gandel AO and Pauline Gandel are actively involved in the philanthropic work and they are universally recognised for their generosity and commitment to both Jewish and general Australian causes. Through Gandel Philanthropy, over the years they channeled tens of millions of dollars towards supporting various charitable causes in the community.

While they provide support for a range of programs and fields, including arts, education, Jewish identity and leadership, youth at risk and Indigenous programs, their support for health and medical research has always been one of the strongest interests.

The statistics on granting done by Gandel Philanthropy over the past three years showed that Health and Medical Research category was, in fact, by far the biggest recipient of funds, registering 38% in funding in 2012/13, 49% in 2013/14 and 32% in 2014/15 of all funds distributed. In each of the above years the amount provided in this category exceeded $2 million.

While direct financial support for research and other medical programs has always been important, both John and Pauline have over the years also been passionate advocates for the sector, taking a hands-on approach to a range of initiatives.

One such activity was the Alfred Hospital Appeal, which John Gandel chaired from 1987 to 1991, raising nearly $6 million to establish the William Buckland Radiotherapy centre. John also served on the hospital Board of Management for several years. Subsequently in 2002, on the 10th anniversary of the centre and the opening of the new $93 million research centre, John was appointed Life Governor of the Alfred Hospital.

John also served on the Board of the Australian Drug Foundation for a number of years and was appointed the Life Governor for the organisation.

Pauline, on the other hand, has been the Patron of Emmy Monash Aged Care for many years and more recently she supported The Women’s Hospital with the establishment of the Pauline Gandel Women’s Imaging Centre which at the time helped revolutionise care for women and newborn babies.

Most recent support for medical research projects includes some innovative and cross-sectoral partnerships aimed at tackling complex medical conditions or challenges.

A recent example of this is the grant awarded to Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), for the research project titled “A Multifaceted Intervention Using iPad Technology to Prevent Falls, Reduce Fear of Falling and Increase Physical Activity in Older People: a Double-blind, Randomised Controlled Trial”.

This was a “challenge grant” for the trial stage, allowing NeuRA to raise the remainder of the funds from other donors, as well as help build a case for support from government.

Another innovative example is the funding for the proof-of-concept study, initiated by Vision Australia and in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Victoria and Deakin University. The study is looking at the viability of using guide dogs to support people with Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Together John and Pauline have supported a whole range of research projects and initiatives that span different medical fields and conditions, including but not limited to diabetes, ageing-related research, mental health, Crohn’s and Colitis, cancer-related research and allergies.