Tara Hunt has always believed that money doesn’t bring happiness. As a young girl, Tara was deeply influenced by a nun at her school who gave an enormous amount of time and energy back to her local community. Although the sister had no material wealth to share, her generosity of spirit remained with Tara, and when she was fortunate to receive an inheritance, it shaped part of her inspiration to give back to society.
Tara used her inheritance to establish one of Australia’s first private ancillary funds (PAFs), back in 2004. “I realised that I had enough, and wanted to give back. Discussing philanthropic ideas rather than buying a bigger car or house is really valuable.” Tara had read an article about PAFs (then Privately Prescribed Funds), and moved quickly to establish The Hunt Foundation.
For a number of years the foundation’s grantmaking focus was on critical indigenous and environmental projects, and included programs working to improve the health and nutrition of indigenous mothers and children. Tara is also concerned about climate change, and in 2011, she decided to turn her attention to addressing this challenge. Since then, The Hunt Foundation has made it a priority to support projects that focus on climate change, and also help to educate the public around the issue.
Through her support and involvement with 1 Million Women, Tara is achieving this goal. 1 Million Women is an organisation that is fighting climate change through teaching women how to make simple, daily choices in their lives that will make a difference. Tara also lends a hand to the organisation, helping with fundraising and strategic planning. Her teenage twin daughters are also involved, with one of them acting as a youth ambassador, which saw her travel with Tara to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland in 2013.
Tara relishes the opportunity to teach her children that the world of privilege in which they live is not shared by everyone. The Hunt Foundation PAF is a powerful tool for Tara and her husband to help instill the joys of giving in their daughters and help them to realise that to give, and not just money, is what happiness and satisfaction is all about. And while Tara doesn’t expect her children to take over the PAF when they are older, she hopes that their early exposure to philanthropy will teach them how to contribute to the world, in their own way.
Supporting the community has been the most rewarding aspect of having a PAF for Tara, and she has one tip on grantmaking for newcomers. “You have to go with what you’re most passionate about. When you think you’ve found it, keep narrowing it down further. That’s where you’ll make the most difference.”
Philanthropy is a way of life for Tara now, and she couldn’t be happier. Ask her what advice she would share with others who are considering a PAF? “The most rewarding thing I have done, and our family has done together. Just go for it.”
Tara Hunt established The Hunt Foundation in 2004 in the hope that it may continually inspire and influence her children and others around her. Tara is an active member of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN).