Stella Forever Fund has reached $3m target, due to female philanthropists

Stella Forever Fund has reached $3m target, thanks to these female philanthropists


Last night, at the awards ceremony of the 2022 Stella Prize, Stella Board member Melissa Smith announced that the organisation’s ambitious fundraising campaign the Stella Forever Fund, had reached its endowment target of $3 million – securing prize money for the annual Stella Prize in perpetuity. 

The fund will see the Stella Prize remain a permanent fixture in Australia’s literary culture – celebrating and rewarding outstanding books by Australian woman and non-binary writers, thanks to the collective generosity of major philanthropists and Stella’s grassroots community. 

Smith, who is also the Chair of Stella’s Fundraising Committee, said their ‘audacious’ goal to raise $3 million was ambitious.

“To reach our target, the team planned and executed one of the most ambitious female-led philanthropy campaigns in Australia to date,” she said.

“From our first extraordinary gift from visionary Patron, Paula McLean, to the contributions of leading philanthropists across the country, to our grassroots giving campaign, Stella’s success relies on the collective generosity of our entire community.”

“We started with a million dollar gift, and ended with a five dollar gift. We are so grateful to donors at every stage, and at every level of this campaign. We could not have succeeded without you.” 

In July last year, Stella launched the Stella Campaign – an ambitious, future-focused campaign which sought to achieve the full Stella Forever Fund target by April 2022, marking the award’s tenth anniversary. 

Executive Director of Stella, Jaclyn Booton, recognised the challenges associated with being a writer in Australia. 

“It’s hard to make a living as a writer in Australia and prize money can be a significant component of an author’s livelihood,” she said.

“By securing prize money for the Stella Prize in perpetuity, we are making a commitment to putting money directly into the pockets of Australian women and non-binary writers, so that they can create outstanding works of literature – now and into the future.” 

Leading patron of the Stella Forever Fund, Paula McLean, said she was ‘thrilled’ by the number of donors who offered their support.

“So many donors around Australia have participated in the Stella Forever match campaign, making the endowment goal of $3 million a reality—a Prize that will continue to support Stella writers in perpetuity.”

“It speaks to the inclusive literary culture Stella has created over its first 10 years and to the power of a truly inspirational female-led philanthropy campaign.” 

Last November, McLean, a Sydney philanthropist and a previous Deputy Chair of the Stella prize, donated $1 million to the Stella Forever Fund in one of the biggest donations of its kind. 

Other patrons of the fund include the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Karen Wilson. from The Wilson Foundation, Carol Schwartz AO from The Trawalla Foundation and Krystyna Campbell-Pretty, who is also one of the major benefactors the State Library’s Women Writers Fund.

“The Stella Prize has made an extraordinary impact on the Australian literary scene,” Wilson said.

“Showcasing and celebrating incredibly talented authors who are willing to share brave, provocative and original stories inspired by diverse experiences and perspectives that are uniquely Australian. The Wilson Foundation is delighted to support the 2022 Stella Prize.” 

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox