Transfield Holdings, the private company, floated its service division, Transfield Services, on the Australian stock market in 2001. From that time on until 2012, Transfield Holdings’ Directors, Luca and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis were Directors of Transfield Services. This association led to discussions between the two companies about creating a vehicle for corporate philanthropy and thus the Transfield Foundation was formed.

Chapter One

The inaugural meeting of the Transfield Foundation took place at Transfield Holdings on Wednesday, 9 September 2009. Discussions centred on: legal structure, shareholders’ agreement, appointment of directors and the nominated responsible person, governance, board charter, strategy, funding and a launch. Key outcomes were that Catherine Baldwin as Chair would also be the responsible person and the Foundation’s board directors would be Luca and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis from Transfield Holdings. Transfield Services would be represented by Managing Director, Peter Goode and Director Human Resources, Elisabeth Hunter. Graeme Hunt and Jo Sofra would later replace Peter Goode and Elisabeth Hunter.

An Advisory Committee was established to handle the administration, communication and liaison functions of the Foundation. During the course of the Foundation’s history from 2010 to 2015 the Advisory Committee comprised Liz Jurman, David Jamieson, Neil Birtchnell, Eve Roberts and Tony Hunt from Transfield Services. Transfield Holdings’ representatives were Phil Hayes St-Clair, Stephen Bradley, Dennis Tritaris and Raksha Pathak who acted as the Foundation’s Company Secretary. Members of the Advisory Committee were assigned to maintain direct, individual contact with each of the Foundation’s grant recipients.

Chapter Two

By March 2010 the Transfield Foundation had finalised its objectives and pronounced on its website: ‘The Transfield Foundation has been established by Transfield Holdings and Transfield Services to continue to develop the philanthropic support of both companies in the communities in which we operate. In keeping with the pioneering record of both companies, the Transfield Foundation’s mandate is to invest in innovative programs that help support communities, with particular emphasis on the arts, technology and education. The Transfield Foundation provides funding and pro-bono services to eligible charities and non-profit organisations to assist with their operational, capital or project specific requirements, whether locally or internationally. The Transfield Foundation’s priorities are: employment and education, particularly for indigenous people; research programs advancing innovation in resources management; support for ground-breaking arts projects and organisations.’

Chapter Three

Building on the legacy of the Belgiorno-Nettis’ philanthropy in the arts, the Foundation supported the Biennale of Sydney and Australian Chamber Orchestra for organisational funding and Accessible Arts for an innovative public project. The Board tasked the Advisory Committee with researching potential grantees in the other two priority areas which led to a grants for early-career researchers at universities who were investigating innovation in resources management, and leading organisations addressing employment and education barriers for Indigenous people.

An Expert Panel of Transfield Holdings’ David Iverach and Transfield Services’ Peter Goode, supported by Transfield Services’ Tony Hunt, resulted in the Board agreeing to support Jayashri Ravishankar and Robert Taylor from the University of NSW, Thomas Jeffries and Olivier Laczka from the University of Technology, and Mark Wiggins from Macquarie University. These one-off grants of approx. $20,000 were given in FY2013, and extended for a second year, addressing a diverse range of applied technologies.

The four leading national organisations working in Indigenous employment and education were awarded multi-year grants were the Clontarf Foundation, Many Rivers Microfinance, Australian Indigenous Mentoring Program (AIME) and Career Trackers. Three-year grants were provided in FY2011 and extended for a further three years for completion in FY2016. The Transfield Foundation’s focus on providing operational funding signified a commitment to the staffing and infrastructure requirements of not-for-profit organisations, in itself an innovative approach to corporate philanthropy.

By the end of 2015 the relationship between Transfield Holdings and Transfield Services had changed. In 2012 Luca and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis had stepped down as directors of the public company, and in 2014 Transfield Holdings sold its shareholding. It had also become plain that there was significant confusion in the market place between the two companies, and that their respective interests had diverged. Holdings accordingly served notice on Services of termination of the Trade Mark License Agreement with effect from February 2016. As a result of these changes the two companies agreed to wind up their joint venture in the Transfield Foundation.