About Our Philanthropy

Philanthropy or the act of contribution is a key value at CI. In line with the CI Way, the Philanthropy Program is built around the ethos that if you are humble, authentic, work hard, work smart and do the right thing, good things will happen.

We seek to add value to our grant partners by amplifying the impact of CI Staff Fund donations through the ‘network effect’. One dollar’s power has far greater reach when you add in time and talent to the treasure part.

Philanthropy, the CI Way is more than just words on a wall.

Our Team
Soul in the Game
Reflections, Reports and Media
Investing in Impact: Our Grants

Our Team

The CI Staff Fund was established in 2008 with an initial commitment from the Cooper Investors Board of $150,000 per annum, over time the amount per annum has increased.  Today the fund distributes $400,000 per annum.  The CI Philanthropy Committee was established so that staff members could have a say in where donations were made. Since inception, the Philanthropy Committee has overseen the distribution of $6 million dollars to close to 100 worthy organisations. These charities are on the ground, in the community, working to deeply understand the issues faced by the most vulnerable in society.

We operate with a “portfolio” approach to our philanthropy, seeking value, good operating trends and outstanding leadership to align with the CI Way of investing.  To achieve Cooper Investors philanthropy goals, we will be directing the majority of our support to the following areas:

  • The Social Enterprise Sector:  A Social Enterprise is a business that trades to tackle social problems, improve communities and people’s lives by promoting and encouraging social change, in a financially sustainable way
  • The Mental Health sector: by supporting organisations that provide frontline services in the community that deliver early intervention and prevention initiatives
  • Overseas aid organisation and initiatives that make it easier for Australians to send charitable dollars overseas

To honour the origins of Cooper Investors’ Philanthropy we remain committed to providing funding to match contributions to staff led community fund raising initiatives.  As we move into the next 10 years and beyond, we look forward to continuing our long commitment to Philanthropy, the CI Way. 

Staff Fundraising

In September 2023, Cooper Investors Philanthropy matched fundraising efforts for the Blue Dragon Marathon Walk. The Blue Dragon Marathon Walk saw Cooper Investors staff challenge themselves across a 42km marathon walk or a 21km half one while also raising money for Vietnamese street kids and trafficking survivors!

Blue Dragon helps kids in crisis throughout Vietnam. For over 20 years Blue Dragon has worked with street kids, runaway children, victims of human trafficking, children with disabilities, young rural-urban migrants, kids affected by drugs and HIV/AIDS, homeless families, child prisoners, and the rural poor.

Blue Dragon is there for every child who needs us to see them through a crisis, and we work with them until they no longer need our assistance.

Soul in the Game

Soul in the Game is where we add the time and talent of our team to the treasure of our granting program. We have individual staff members who provide their time serving onboards of charities and participating in community volunteering.


The CI team recently volunteering at St Kilda Mums, an organisation whose mission in is a future where we waste less, share more and care for every baby and child.

As part of a volunteering team, CI staff members really ‘walk the talk’ and get their hands dirty cleaning up donated goods to make an impact in the lives of new families doing it tough.

We know poverty has increased and disadvantaged families are struggling with the cost of everyday living, let alone the essentials every child needs. A recent report from the Australian Council of Social Services shows that at September 2021 there was a 25 per cent increase of families on welfare than before the pandemic began.

To coincide with National Volunteering week, a team of CI volunteering went to the St Kilda Mum’s Clayton Warehouse to be part of a solution that helps nearly 12,000 babies and children per year receive essential nursery items and equipment.

This was such a great way to spend a chilly May morning.  As the St Kilda Mums team told us on the day, they can’t do what they do without the support of volunteers.  The work the team did on the day - picking, packing, cleaning and sorting will have an immediate impact on Victorian families doing it tough this winter.

HUGE shout out and thank you to our volunteers – Cliff, Emily, Jackson, Joseph, John, Tom, Trish, Suzanne, Warren and Nicole.

Pro Bono Funds Management

Our Portfolio Managers provide their investment talent through pro bono funds management to create tangible value to the charitable sector by participating as managers for:
Hearts & Minds Investments (committed to providing significant financial support to leading Australian medical research organisations). To date, Hearts and Minds has distributed $33.9m in donations to nominated medical research partners making it one of Australia's Top 50 Corporate Philanthropists.
Future Generation Companies (listed investment companies that deliver investment and social returns). Since inception Future Generation Companies has distributed $32.9m to nominated social impact partners supporting children and young people at risk. 

By providing pro bono investment services to these organisations and waiving management fees, CI is part of a collective that has directed more than $65m over the past five years to the charitable sector supporting kids doing it tough and enabling vital medical research.

Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds Investments Limited (HM1) is a unique listed investment company that was established in November 2018 with the combined objective of providing a concentrated equities portfolio of the highest conviction ideas from leading fund managers, whilst also supporting Australian medical research institutes.


Cooper Investors’ talented investment team dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to ensure that the very best support and investment ideas are provided to the listedHM1 vehicle.  The appointed team conduct a formal meeting regularly to discuss and assess our stock picks to provide the best value for the fund, its investors and for the betterment of Medical Research in Australia.


Cooper Investors elected Mental Health research as its focus area for the Hearts and Minds distributions. We then selected the world-renowned institution of Orygen, The Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health as one of the recipients.

To date this partnership has resulted in the distribution of over $2m to transformthe delivery of mental health services.

We recognise mental health as the health challenge of a generation and believe that, wherever possible, we should look to support institutions like Orygen to conduct vital translational research.  We seek to support organisations with a track record of working with the private sector, government and young people to redefine what is possible in global youth mental health research, policy, education and clinical care.

Sector Support

Philanthropy Australia

Cooper Investors is proud to be an advocate for more and better philanthropy through our three-year commitment to Philanthropy Australia’s Philanthropy Champions initiative. 

Cooper Investors is particularly invested in supporting the ‘Philanthropy Blueprint’. The purpose of this Blue print is to outline the roadmap for how the philanthropic, not-for-profit, business and government sectors can work together to supercharge structured giving in Australia – with the objective of doubling this type of giving by 2030. 

Growing structured giving helps support and reinforce other pro-social giving behaviours, such as mass market giving, impact investing, volunteering, and other initiatives that benefit the community. 

Along with Philanthropy Australia, Cooper Investors recognises there is a growing momentum for philanthropy in Australia . The experience and knowledge of traditional philanthropists, combined with new philanthropists and social entrepreneurs is creating exciting opportunities for innovation, growth and impact. To harness, sustain and enhance this momentum, a collective response is required.


In March 2021 Cooper Investors was delighted to be a Gold Sponsor of the 2021 NEXUS Australia Summit, bringing together the next generation of philanthropists and social entrepreneurs. The Summit offered delegates the chance to connect, share, learn and create at a time when meaningful connections were needed most. The theme of the 2021 Summit was ‘Building Tomorrow Today’. NEXUS Australia creates a space for young people of wealth and leading social entrepreneurs to leverage private capital to tackle complex global challenges. In the wake of intersecting crises during 2020, we were inspired to see young leaders discuss new approaches to the immense difficulties facing our communities. Speakers and presenters at this year’s event included world renowned conservationist, Dr Jane Goodall DBE; chair of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Valerie Rockefeller; founder and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios, Bronwyn King AO; and Australia’s first Indigenous consul-general, Benson Saulo. We particularly enjoyed the session with Suparna Bhasin, Director of the MaiTri Foundation in conversation with Zak Williams on good mental health and well-being. Zak is an entrepreneur, angel investor, mental-health advocate and son of the late, legendary Robin Williams. Zak and Suparna discussed the importance of putting a value on your mental and emotional hygiene and living a life of purpose and service. A truly inspirational session for all in attendance.

Our Grants

Social Enterprise Program - $170,000 pa

Social enterprises exist to change the world for the better. A social enterprise is a business that trades to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. Their main purpose is to promote, encourage, and make social change - in a financially sustainable way.  Social Enterprises make and do things that earn money and make profits like any business. It is how they work and what they do with their profits that is different: working to make a bigger difference, reinvesting the profits to do more good. It’s this combination of doing business and doing good that makes social enterprise one of the most impactful area of modern philanthropy.

Social enterprises are businesses that:

  • are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit
  • derive a substantial portion of their income from trade
  • reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission
Social Enterprise Map

Investing in...social enterprise

In June 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic the CI Philanthropy Committee approved its first round of grants to social enterprises working in the area of food security.  One of those grants was to STREAT in support of the Moving Feast Initiative.

STREAT is a social enterprise helping homeless young people to have a stable self, stable job and stable home. Through its six hospitality businesses in Melbourne, STREAT provides young people with supported pathways to employment – including assistance finding stable housing, vocational skills, improved mental health and well-being.

In response to COVID –19 STREAT led the development of an alliance called Moving Feast and provided backbone coordinating support to over 200 participating food security social enterprises.

On Saturday 4 July 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19, the Victoria government made the decision to close and contain nine public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne.  Moving Feast lived up to its name by quickly stepping in to provide culturally appropriate, nutritious and timely food deliveries to residents of the locked down public housing towers. In the first few days of the hard shut down, Moving Feast delivered 3,200 halal, vegetarian and culturally appropriate ready-made meals and continued to deliver about 1,500 more each day of the duration of these restrictions.

Additionally, Moving Feast worked to procure over 5 tonnes of produce that went into produce boxes delivered to residents based on the cultural preferences of the tower communities.

Since that time, the Moving Feast initiative has continued to enable those supported by food security social enterprises to retain their jobs and remain engaged in education and training during this time of uncertainty.

Mental Health Partnerships Fund - $170,000 PA

Experiences of mental ill-health will affect almost half of the population in Australia within their lifetime, with an estimated 20% of the population (over 4 million people) experiencing mental ill-health in any given year and is widely recognised as a serious health issue that is growing nationally.  Despite ongoing investment and attempts to reform the mental health and suicide prevention service systems, the current state of care is fragmented, uneven, costly, compromising to individuals’ human rights and has not lead to significant changes in national health outcomes. Prevention and early intervention strategies produce the greatest impact on people’s health and well-being. This is particularly true for youth mental health where prevention and early intervention are recognised as key elements for minimising the impact of any potentially serious condition.

Mental Health Map

Ocean Minds

Cooper Investors recognises mental health as the health challenge of a generation and we want to use our philanthropy funding to support world class research and programs to better the mental health of communities across the country.

Consistently, official reviews and inquiries have called for far greater investment in early intervention and prevention. This is why the CI Philanthropy Committee approved grant to support the work of Ocean Mind in September 2021.

Ocean Mind is a charity that provides therapeutic surf programs for young people who are experiencing mental health challenges, social isolation and disabilities. Using a simple mix of surfing, mentoring and fun they create a therapeutic environment for young people to challenge themselves, learn new skills and flourish.

We have chosen to partner with Ocean Mind as they use an evidence-based model which has demonstrated outstanding results in helping young people who are experiencing difficulties to make them feel more accepted, positive and comfortable with their lives. All of Ocean Mind’s programs are evaluated and assessed to measure the impact on participants lives.

As one of our newest partners, Ocean Mind’s future is bright as they strategically seek out opportunities for growth and renewal that are aligned with their values and deliver positive outcomes and benefits for the community and the environment.

International Initiatives

Blue Dragon

Blue Dragon received one of the first donations from the CI Staff Fund in 2008 and we are still incredibly proud supporters 14 years later. Blue Dragon’s purpose is to provide exceptional care to Vietnamese children and families in crisis while creating long-term change for a better world.

Blue Dragon now serves the needs of over 10,000 highly disadvantaged children and families, including children and youth who have been trafficked; street children; and children with disabilities.

Their mission is driven by a belief in development, not charity and the Blue Dragon team works to help children develop fully as they grow. They do this through providing a broad range of experiences and opportunities. Rather than simply providing a handout, they provide a hand-up for those who choose to better their circumstances and themselves.

Here are a couple of recent examples of Blue Dragon living their values by doing just this.

Hoa has been struggling for years to have a regular income. A mother of two daughters, she knows how important it is to have a stable job.

Today she finally has just that. With some financial training and seed funding, Hoa has set up a banh mi (sandwich) stall and is serving her happy customers every day.

And Quan, a father of two boys, has a similar story. After many years of hardship, his new porridge stall is already earning enough money that the family no longer needs help to pay their rent.

Hoa and Quan are just 2 of the 27 disadvantaged families Blue Dragon has helped to establish a small business this year!

Current Recipients

Blue Dragon
Blaze Your Trail
Cultivating Community
Cambodian Kids Can
End Ed
Free to Feed
Igniting Change
Ocean Mind
Moving Feast
School For Life
Philanthropy Australia
Sharing Stories Foundation
St Kilda Mums
Sleep Bus
School of St Jude
The Nappy Collective
Wind of Change

Get in Touch with Cooper Investors.