At a celebratory lunch in the Brisbane City Hall today, Gina Fairfax AC was named Community Philanthropist of the Year. The awards, which are the culmination of Philanthropy Week in Queensland, highlight the diversity of the sector in the state while celebrating some individuals who have made on-going contributions to the for-purpose sector.

Gina Fairfax is well-known in Queensland: for more than 20 years, she has given extensively to support charitable causes, volunteered on for-purpose boards, and delivered Meals on Wheels. In partnership with her husband Tim, their year-on-year contributions to Brisbane Festival has been significant and since 2018 she has directly supported the commissioning of new contemporary works and enabled artists to live and thrive in Queensland.

As a Trustee of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Gina has overseen the distribution of $54 million, including substantial contributions to Queensland arts initiatives. Gina and Tim Fairfax AC were last year made Life Members of Philanthropy Australia.

Gina is Chair of Ningana Trust and through the Trust has distributed impactful grants to organisations working in Queensland and Northern Territory improving the lives of young people, particularly women and children experiencing disadvantage, for almost 20 years.

As volunteer President of the Breast and Prostate Cancer Association of Queensland, Gina raises funds to support projects which assist rural Queenslanders suffering from breast cancer or prostate cancer. As a volunteer Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Monday Art (QAGOMA), Gina oversees two State institutions. Queensland Arts Gallery was established in 1895 and the Gallery of Modern Art opened in 2006. The galleries house a globally significant collection of contemporary art from Australia, Asia, and the Pacific.

Gina served as a volunteer Director of La Boite Theatre for nine years. La Boite is Australia’s longest continuously running theatre company, celebrating its 100th year of operation in 2025.

Gina is Cultural Patron of Flying Arts Alliance. Flying Arts Alliance is an arts and cultural development organisation which has been delivering visual arts projects and services to regional and remote Queensland communities since 1971.

mibo is a new workplace wellbeing digital platform with potential to build a healthier and safer Arts and Entertainment industry in Australia. With the support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation (TFFF), La Boite Theatre will pilot a mibo trial across its entire company in response to a growing national mental health crisis among Arts and Entertainment industry workers.

In 2016, Entertainment Assist released the Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry: Final Report, after surveying 2,904 workers across a full cross section of the industry from performers to administrators and technical and production crew. The report produced several key findings of critical concern, including that Arts and Entertainment workers are:

A primary contributor to these alarming mental wellbeing statistics was irregular work conditions that put individuals at high risk of work-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents, sleep disorders, social isolation, and being less likely and able to access support systems.

This pilot will see members of La Boite administration staff, venue staff, technical and backstage crew and Artist Company co-design and participate in an eight-week program tailored to improve its workforce’s health and wellbeing.

Delivered through an individual’s smart phone, participants complete confidential self-assessment wellbeing surveys as part of their workday. This data is analysed through mibo’s advanced algorithms and smart systems, which then prompts participants to access resources and assistance personalised to their mental health needs. These resources range from movement and mindfulness exercises and seeking peer support, through to being connected with a medical professional.

La Boite is Australia’s longest continuously running theatre company (96 years) and is home to the country’s only purpose-built theatre in-the-round.

mibo was co-founded by Sean Fyfe (Physiotherapist) and Dr Anthony Ross (Psychologist), combining their elite sport mind and body expertise with wellbeing practices to create a new workplace health methodology adaptable to various industries.

CEO and Executive Director of La Boite Zohar Spatz said: “The arts sector’s challenges are unique and supporting artists and art workers’ health and wellbeing is critical. Thank you to the TFFF for supporting such an innovative pilot.”

Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation Tim Fairfax AC said the health and wellbeing of the arts community should be one of the highest of priorities right now.

“Our arts sector has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and this has only compounded the poor state of the sector’s general health,” Mr Fairfax said.

“I hope this pilot delivers a successful intervention that could then be rolled out more broadly across the sector.”

This partnership is one of the cornerstones of TFFF’s recently announced Strategy for the next three years, which will see the Foundation support organisations and endeavours which build connected, resilient, and futureproof communities across Queensland and the Northern Territory. Learn more about the Strategy here.

During an online ceremony on 16 November 2021, Philanthropy Australia has named Tim Fairfax AC as Australia’s 2021 Leading Philanthropist. The Leading Philanthropist Award recognises an individual philanthropist whose work is visionary, high impact and transformative. In addition to generous funding, Tim has provided time, knowledge and leadership to many organisations.

“For me, one of the highlights of philanthropy is not so much the giving, but the receiving, the fact that you can make a difference whether it’s helping an Indigenous arts centre in Alice Springs or empowering those who live in rural and remote Australia or giving creative arts education to young Australians, and the satisfaction and rewards of listening to the outcomes of various funding initiatives,” Tim said.

“Giving can take many forms. It’s certainly not all about dollars – we all have the capacity to make a contribution to society and I think as a nation, we lead by example. Just look at our volunteers – to me they are the unsung heroes … it is one of many forms of philanthropy which we should recognise.’’

The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation is based in Meanjin (Brisbane).