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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thinkers & doers jill reichstein

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              philanthropists, Reichstein helped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to establish the Social Change
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Network in the 1980s, insisting that

                 for the better
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              traditional charities were addressing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the symptoms rather than the causes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of society’s problems.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Through the ’80s and ’90s, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reichstein Foundation funded a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              range of ambitious projects that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              focused on the root causes of
                                                                       by briony goode                                                                                                                                                                                                        social and economic injustices,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              including the Victorian Foundation
         JILL REICHSTEIN, CHAIR OF THE REICHSTEIN FOUNDATION, HAS                                                                                                                                                                                                                             for Survivors of Torture, Somebody’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Daughter Theatre Company — a
        BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF “SOCIAL CHANgE” PHILANTHROPY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 theatre group of former women
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              prisoners — and the Koori Health
        IN AUSTRALIA SINCE THE 1970s, RAISINg AWARENESS AROUND                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Worker Training Program. Of

       ADVOCACY, HUMAN RIgHTS AND WOMEN’S ISSUES. SHE TALKS TO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                this training scheme through the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aboriginal Health Service in 1989,
       WellBeing ABOUT SOME OF THE ExPERIENCES THAT HAVE SHAPED                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Reichstein noted at the time, “The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Health Commission wouldn’t touch it.
        HER JOURNEY FROM SCHOOLgIRL ACTIVIST TO TRAILBLAzER OF                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “There were no Aboriginal people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              working in healthcare at that time.
                THE SOCIAL CHANgE PHILANTHROPY MOVEMENT.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Through our project, we were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              training about 27 people a year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              from all over Australia to be the go-
      The only child of engineering magnate and multi-millionaire                 me. I was going to anti-Apartheid demonstrations in my school                                                                                                                                               between between the mainstream
      entrepreneur Lance Reichstein, Jill Reichstein enjoyed a privileged         uniform and I got into big trouble for that. I was seen and it was                                                                                                                                          medical system and the indigenous
      upbringing in Toorak but grew increasingly self-conscious about             brought to my father’s attention.”                                                                                                                                                                          communities. Years later, Ian
      her family’s wealth. However, her father Lance would leave her an              After studying Liberal Arts in England, Reichstein returned to                                                                                                                                           Anderson, who was one of the first
      enduring legacy worth far more than his millions.                           Melbourne in 1968 to study sociology and anthropology at Monash                                                                                                                                             indigenous doctors in Australia,
         Lance Reichstein had become involved in philanthropy in an               University. The radical atmosphere suited her temperament and                                                                                                                                               was chairing a session around
      inconspicuous way, directing his charitable impulses towards                further fuelled her commitment to anti-war politics and social                                                                                                                                              indigenous health and started to
      established charities and hospitals in Melbourne’s west, the home           activism. Antagonism was brewing at home, however, where her                                                                                                                                                talk about the program. He asked
      of much of his business empire. He established the Lance Reichstein         parents, concerned about her political bias, became critical of                                                                                                                                             how many of those in the room
      Charitable Foundation in 1970 and, on his death 10 years later,             her friends. “The easiest way for me to get on with my life was to                                                                                                                                          were trained by the program and so
      left most of his substantial fortune to the                                                        move out.”                                                                                                                                                                           many people put their hands up. Ian
      foundation as a means of giving back to the
      community that helped create his wealth.
                                                                I was going to                              Reichstein’s involvement in the women’s
                                                                                                         refuge in Kew — the first community-based
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              remarked that it was an enlightened
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              approach to working with indigenous
         At 25, Jill Reichstein was appointed to
      the foundation’s all-male board of trustees.
                                                                anti-Apartheid                           halfway house — was a turning point for her.
                                                                                                         In the 1970s, services for victims of domestic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              communities. He didn’t know we
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              funded that. He had no idea. So I’m
      Frustrated by their preoccupation with the             demonstrations in                           violence were limited, with refuges such as                                                                                                                                          really proud of those sorts of projects
      investment of funds, as opposed to their                                                           the Halfway House straining to accommodate                                                                                                                                           because we really made an impact.”
      distribution, she instigated a radical change          my school uniform                           those women and children who needed help.                                                                                                                                               Although the program eventually
      of direction and personnel. “They were men
      from the Collins Street end of town who knew
                                                              and I got into big                            “When we originally set it up, we didn’t
                                                                                                         realise that domestic violence was such an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “went off the rails”, Reichstein holds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              strong hopes for the future of young
      very little about community development,”
      Reichstein says. “They thought buying blankets
                                                               trouble for that.                         issue. I was really shocked to come across a
                                                                                                         whole lot of women with small children who
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              indigenous Australians. “Once upon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              a time, I would have thought that
      and helicopters was a good thing and I didn’t.          I was seen and it                          were terrified of living with their husbands and                                                                                                                                     scholarships were a bit naff, really,
      I was never going to educate them. When they                                                       fathers and the brutality that occurred in those                       no longer available and, in the most desperate situations, children       but many of these young indigenous people who have come up
      retired, we consciously brought community              was brought to my                           domestic situations,” she says.                                        were often left at home to fend for themselves. Reichstein’s              through the system with private money, going to private schools,
      activists to the board to bring new skills and a
      healthy diversity, and ended up with a board of        father’s attention.                            “One of the critical experiences for me was
                                                                                                         that by giving these women the opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                extensive work in community childcare and the women’s refuge
                                                                                                                                                                                during this period showed her the importance of including the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and who have been to universities and on to post-doctoral or post-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          graduate work, many of them are just fabulous and making an
      all women, who were a joy to work with.”                                                           to voice the issues, to voice their fears and                          people using these services in the decision-making and running of         amazing contribution.
         Chair at 35, Reichstein and her new-look board propelled the             encourage them to speak out, they could actually have a lot more                              the services themselves.                                                     “So I have a lot of hope that we will see generational shifts in the
      foundation to support a range of innovative, high-risk projects at          control over their own lives, (instead of) being sat on by either                               “Social change philanthropy didn’t really exist in Australia at that    indigenous community. I think there will be people who may fall by
      a time when social change philanthropy was virtually unheard                the community systems that were around them or by their own                                   time. It wasn’t until I went to America and saw what they were doing      the wayside, but we’ll see change. The language of social change is
      of in Australia.                                                            husbands. They were totally disempowered. By being supported by                               over there in the progressive philanthropy movement that I realised,      becoming more understood, I think. People talk about social change,
                                                                                  a group of women, they actually found their voice. So that was a real                         ‘Well that’s right — that’s exactly what we’re doing.’ And they’d put a   but many of the more conservative foundations don’t necessarily do it.
      Passionate about her Cause                                                  yardstick for me in understanding how we would then go on and do                              name to it.”                                                                 “Having soup kitchens is not going to change the way people lead
      Jill Reichstein thinks her passion for social justice emerged while she     our philanthropy.”                                                                                                                                                      their lives. Housing homeless young people is not enough. You’ve got
      was still a schoolgirl at prestigious St Catherine’s in Toorak. “I always      Childcare was also a pivotal concern for many Australian women                             Change, not Charity                                                       to get down to the nitty gritty and support them to find education
                                                                                                                                                            Photo: Tim Turner

      had a strong sense of ‘that’s not fair’,” she recalls. “I don’t know        in the 1970s, particularly migrant women. Most migrant women                                  Historically, Australian women had been conservative in their             and employment and support them through into a different pathway
      where it came from, but I think my sense of outrage at Apartheid            with families had to work, but childcare was virtually non-existent                           philanthropy, giving to hospitals, universities, the arts and welfare     within their lives.
      and the Vietnam War came from conversations with a social studies           or built around the needs of Anglo-Australian families. The extended                          organisations traditionally favoured by wealthy male donors.                 “It’s really pleasing to see a lot of the foundations we work with
      teacher in Year 11 or 12. Miss Sterling had a significant impact on         family that so many had relied on in their countries of origin was                            Determined to change the public perception of philanthropy and            — as they start to see the way we function and our commitment

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thinkers & doers jill reichstein

      to structural change, how we find an issue and                                                      Reichstein’s pride in her children’s
      work with it — want to fund in the same way.”                                                    achievements is obvious, yet she still carries
         Reichstein thinks many Australians struggle                                                   the fears all parents have for their children’s
      to understand the concept of social change                                                       future. “I fear that my children will inherit a
      philanthropy. “We work in partnership with                                                       planet that’s spinning out of control, that my
      the groups we fund,” she explains. “So we                                                        grandchildren will never have the opportunity
      try to break down the sense of the donor and                                                     of seeing a tiger or an elephant in the wild,
      the donee. When you talk about philanthropy                                                      that they’ll probably never eat clean fish from
      and you talk about giving a lot of people                                                        the ocean, that the pollution will probably
      shut down, you can see it in their faces. I see                                                  destroy the Barrier Reef ... whereas I’ve had
      myself more as a social activist and I use my                                                    the opportunity to see all those things.
      father’s philanthropy to engage in that. I think                                                    “Environmentally, I think we’re losing the
      philanthropy has a strange old-fashioned                                                         game. I’m disappointed in our government
      notion of giving alms and in some ways                                                           and I’m disappointed that we’re not getting
      Australians don’t identify with that.                                                            any good outcomes. I think Copenhagen was
         “If people have a lot of money, then they                                                     an absolute disaster and now it’s gone off
      think you’re skiting or being smart giving away                                                  the agenda.”
      money or trying to big-note yourself. I never put
      myself out to do that. I never ever seek publicity.                                              aPPlying the gender lens
      I only do it if I think it will contribute to people’s                                             Reichstein is still heavily involved in
      understanding and the growth of philanthropy.”                                                     developing partnerships towards growing
                                                                                                         progressive philanthropy and mentoring new
      Personal Challenges                                                                                donors who are seeking to clarify their own
      On the domestic front, Reichstein was facing                                                       philanthropic direction. As well as chairing
      a different challenge. Her first marriage to               Soup kitchens are                       the Reichstein Foundation, she is also active
      barrister Robert Larkins had broken down and
      she was trying to find a way of moving forward           not going to change                       on several other community boards,
                                                                                                         including Pilotlight Australia, Trust
      with two small children on her own.
         “Fortunately, Rob and I did a lot of work over
                                                               the way people lead                       for Young Australians, Melbourne Health
                                                                                                         Ethics Committee, Changemakers Australia
      that period of time and worked through the               their lives. Housing                      and the Australian Environmental
      issues. We went away and independently did                                                         grantmakers Network.
      intensive personal growth seminars and were                 homeless young                            The Reichstein Foundation is currently
      then able to say to each other: we both are
      to blame, we both made mistakes. The most                    people is not                         involved in the Women Mobilising Millions
                                                                                                         campaign, which follows in the footsteps of
      important thing to us was that we parented
      well and that we had a close relationship with
                                                                  enough. You’ve                         the American funding movement, Women
                                                                                                         Moving Millions. Established in 2008 by
      the children.”                                            got to get down to                       American philanthropist Helen LaKelly Hunt,
         The hard work they invested in maintaining                                                      daughter of legendary oil tycoon H. L. Hunt,
      a good relationship has paid off. So much so, in          the nitty gritty and                     the Women Moving Millions campaign aims to
      fact, that Larkins now joins Reichstein and her                                                    inspire gifts of a million dollars and above in
      second husband gus every year for Christmas                 support people.                        support of women’s funds across the globe.
      at their retreat in Flinders on Melbourne’s                                                           Reichstein was invited to join a loose
      Mornington Peninsula. They also regularly meet up for what the             network of women called the Australian Women Donors, which
      family refers to as “Monday night dinner” with their children, Lucy        was initiated by lawyer and former Westpac board member, Eve
      and Tom.                                                                   Mahlab, several years earlier. Their aim is to promote and increase
         “Rob’s writing a book on divorce at the moment. Dedicated it to         the funding of projects that invest in women and girls. “Women
      me. I feel very fortunate that we worked that through. We’re not           Donors Network has really taken off and we’re now doing the
      enemies by any means like so many people are. He’s a family law            project with Women Moving Millions,” Reichstein says. “We used
      barrister, so he sees the devastation of families, of parents hating       to run workshops for women of wealth to try to get their heads
      each other and what it does to the kids and there was no way he was        around social change philanthropy and this has evolved into
      going to let that happen.”                                                 something similar.”
         Lucy has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has been a                 While in the US more than 100 donors have already made gifts of
      trustee on the board of the Reichstein Foundation since 2001. She          US$1 million each, in Australia — where there are far fewer women
      is currently working at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, a         capable of donating $1 million — the emphasis will be on raising
      non-profit law firm that represents people facing the death penalty in     awareness and on encouraging men and women to donate their
      Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.                                          time, influence and whatever money they can to the cause of women
         “Lucy has a really fabulous handle on what the foundation is            and girls.
      and what it does and what it represents and what it can achieve,              “A lot of people ask why we need to worry about funding women in
      mainly because she is very involved in her own way. She’s working          particular. Why not just fund disadvantaged people? But there’s a lot
      with reprieve in the US and currently writing up a manual on mental        to be gained by getting your head around how, by funding a
      illness and people on death row for the use of attorneys. So she really    particular group within the community, you can actually raise the
      understands social justice and is passionate about it.                     standards for that whole community. To target, support and educate
         “We put Tom on the board and encouraged him to think about being        women is to build capacity across the whole community and to have
      a trustee, but he’s not active, he’s not engaged at all. He’s rowing for   the broadest possible impact.”
      Australia and I think until the up-and-coming Olympics are over and        Briony Goode is a freelance writer based in Rye on
      done with he probably won’t be thinking about too much else.”              Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula.

28 wellbeing.com.au

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