Who we are

About Us

The Reichstein Foundation was established by Lance Reichstein in 1970. Lance was an engineer, industrialist, entrepreneur, civic leader and quiet philanthropist. Upon his death in 1979, the Foundation inherited a significant proportion of his wealth.

Jill Reichstein, Lance’s daughter, is Chair of the Foundation and, with many partners and supporters, has profoundly influenced the Foundation’s approach over the decades. From a traditional supporter of established charities, the Reichstein Foundation is now actively involved in nurturing systems change and community and changemaker development.

The Reichstein Foundation has made a significant contribution to the development of more effective public and private giving practices in Australia both by example and by sparking and supporting networks of donors. These include the Australian Women Donors Network, the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, the Law and Justice Funders Network and the sector peak body Philanthropy Australia. The Reichstein Foundation has been part of collaborative efforts to safeguard the right of civil society organisations to advocate in the public Interest.

Our mission is to stimulate and invest in policy change and inspirational organisations and people to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth and power and a healthy and sustainable environment.

Our vision is for a more equitable society that celebrates diversity and mutual respect for all peoples, seeks the elimination of discrimination and oppression and strives for environmental sustainability.

Our lens is the lived experience of people facing economic or social injustice, discrimination or the transition to environmental sustainability.

To date, the Reichstein Foundation has made available more than $17M in grants to more than 1,600 projects. As it has done for over 40 years, the Foundation welcomes new partners, supporters, learning and ideas.

Photo of Jill Reichstein speaking at a lectern. Photo by the Australian Communities Foundation, reproduced with kind permission.

Photo: Jill Reichstein OAM in 2018. Photo by the Australian Communities Foundation, reproduced with kind permission.

Our Priorities

Some of the key challenges facing us today include economic inequality, climate change, a loss of trust in the democratic process and race based discrimination. We support community organisations and change-makers who are influencing change in these areas, with an emphasis on empowering the voices of people directly affected. For more detail on some of our major partnerships see our Featured Projects.

In summary, our current funding priorities are:

  • A Fair & Just Society
  • A Thriving Democracy
  • A Sustainable Environment

These priorities are aligned with the key pillars of Australia Remade.

The signature areas of our past few years of funding are:

  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Gambling Reform
  • Indigenous Rights & Empowerment
  • A Just Transition to a New Economy

The challenges we face are too big for any single funder to tackle themselves. We have seen that some of the most powerful results happen through collaborations when we all play to our strengths. We work to build and strengthen strong coalitions across philanthropy in support of social change and policy reform, including the development of alliances with public, family, community foundations and private donors to invest strategically in social change projects.

Find out more about our approach to social change philanthropy here.

Photo: Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) staff alongside applicants in the Race Discrimination Case (Haile-Michael v Konstantinidis) which settled in December 2013 with a landmark agreement for Victoria police to publicly review its training and field contact practises.

Photo: Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) staff alongside applicants in the Race Discrimination Case (Haile-Michael v Konstantinidis) which settled in December 2013 with a landmark agreement for Victoria police to publicly review its training and field contact practises.