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Berry Street’s purpose is to courageously change lives and reimagine service systems – but we can’t do this alone. With our generous philanthropic partners, we’re supporting children, young people and families should be safe, thriving and hopeful.

Our ‘Inspired Giving’ series introduces you to some of our generous supporters, like Janet Buxton and Danielle Fergus, trustees of MRB Foundation. Janet and Fergus share with us what inspired them to give, and what drew them to support Berry Street.

What inspires you to give?

We believe that if you are lucky enough to find yourself in a fortunate position in life, there is something compelling you to share your good fortune. There is also a great desire to try to improve the lives of others and create a more positive and equitable society for everyone.

What are you hoping to see as a result of your philanthropy?

To improve our society with better health, education, exposure to the Arts, a healthier planet and kindness to our animal friends will create a world we would all choose to live in. On a micro level, seeing results from donations annually shows how our contributions have made real differences.

Dame Elizabeth Murdoch said it well when she said it's perfectly easy to give away money when you’re rich. It’s the commitment to a cause that makes the difference. We would like to believe we are committed to the causes we support to effect change.

How would you describe what giving/philanthropy feels like?

Like a huge privilege. So many people scrape by to survive each week, and we find ourselves in the position of having funds to donate. This is a huge privilege that is not lost on us. Seeing the results of donations shows how the passion in our group can create change.

Why is it important to you to involve your family, especially the younger, next generation of Buxton's, in your gift decision-making?

We believe it’s important to engage the younger members of the family early on so they can appreciate how fortunate they are, recognise the difficulties in our society and find a cause they can be passionate about. This may be different for each member, but we need the debate on how to best effect change and therefore where donations are directed. Also, they will ultimately be the foundation’s custodians, so we need to all work together to ensure a common vision.

What interests you most about Berry Street?

That you work with children. Children are our future, and we see that working with children and young people from challenging backgrounds, trying to change their prospects with support, care and education, has real outcomes for their and our shared futures. We believe this is hugely important.

Where do you think your interest in giving came from?

Personally, I (Janet) did not grow up in a wealthy family. They would always make small donations where possible but giving time rather than money was more possible.

Michael Buxton is the founder of the MRB Foundation, and he has educated all the family in the importance of giving and finding the passion to be involved.

What would you like to pass on to our future generation of children?

A sense of hope for society and humanity. For us, feeling that we can be a small part of that change through giving is probably our best way to do this.

You can help support Victoria’s most vulnerable children

Inspired to give? There are many ways in which you can help the children, young people and families we work with.

If you’d like to learn more about Berry Street’s work, and how you can partner with us to support positive outcomes for Victorian children, please contact our Philanthropy team.