Day Family Foundation

As a young boy Geoff Day (pictured with his daughter Kate and granddaughter Rosie) lived with his family in Djakarta, where he witnessed the poverty, poor health, and basic living conditions of the local community. The experience left an indelible impression, and helped him develop a sense of compassion. “Even at a young age, I understood that with privilege comes an obligation to give back to those who are less fortunate.”

Years later, while working at Macquarie Private Wealth he also saw first- hand the benefits of encouraging staff to engage with charitable causes, via the Macquarie Group Foundation. “The benefits to the community, workplace morale, and individuals’ self-esteem are very tangible. It was the Macquarie Group Foundation giving model that we adopted for the Day Family Foundation, as in my opinion the matching model is a powerful motivator for family members to engage in philanthropy.”

It was 2011 when Geoff read an article about private ancillary funds (PAFs) by APS Chairman Chris Cuffe, and felt it was just what he was looking for. Geoff had also been inspired by another South Australian philanthropist, the late Brian Fricker. “He gave significantly to public health and was a wonderful inspiration.” Geoff literally put the magazine down and called Chris, and by June that year the Day Family Foundation PAF had been established. “ Had it not been for discovering APS, I quite possibly would have left it in the ‘too hard’ basket.”

The motivation for Geoff to establish a PAF was clear from the beginning: He wanted the capacity to continue to make donations in his retirement, and he also wanted to encourage his family to engage in philanthropy. The board of the Day Family Foundation consists of Geoff’s wife Anne, their son Edward, an independent director, and Geoff himself. The grants committee includes every member of the Day family. “Our children actively research opportunities to meet our foundation’s grantmaking guidelines. We are also engaged as members of Philanthropy Australia of and our children are part of their New Gen program.”

Geoff’s extended family are also involved in a range of fundraising activities, from competing in triathlons to walking the Kokoda Track. “The Foundation then also contributes financially to those causes to help leverage the money raised by the family.” These include The Royal Flying Doctor Service, The Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and an orphanage in Cambodia. “I’m also involved with Impact100 SA, a collaborative philanthropy initiative that brings together at least one hundred members who each donate $1,000 annually. We then pool the funds, to make large impact grants to organisations annually.”

Telling the story of The Day Family Foundation is an important part of Geoff’s philosophy, but not something that he’s always comfortable with. “Going about our business quietly and privately sits much better with us, but if all donors did that, from where would we draw inspiration? If by telling our story I inspire at least one person to establish a family foundation or take a stronger leadership role in philanthropy – then it has been very worthwhile.”