The Florey Future Fund launches

Two major gifts, each of $5 million, have launched the Florey Future Fund, an endowment to secure the future of brain research.

Long-term supporters, Carl and Wendy Dowd, made the initial gift, announced at the Fund’s launch event held at the Melbourne Museum on Monday night. During the evening Harold Mitchell AC, who chairs the Florey’s Board, gave another $5 million.

100 per cent of the interest earned will be ploughed back into funding research, with the principal amount being untouched in perpetuity.

The Fund  will fast track brain research at Australia’s largest neuroscience institute, enabling its scientists to continue work uninterrupted by cyclical shortfalls in government grant incomes.

Mrs Wendy Dowd, Mrs Patsy Patten and Mr Carl Dowd

The Institute aims to improve lives through its cutting-edge research into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and stroke amongst others.

More than 600 researchers will benefit, generating fundamental insights into brain function, shedding light on disease processes and feeding the treatment translation pipeline.

Carl Dowd said: “The Florey is a brilliant institution, the third biggest brain research centre in the world, employing some incredibly clever people doing great work.

“We did the easy part — they now have to spend it very wisely and do all the work,” Mr Dowd joked.

Harold Mitchell heaped praise on the Dowds for kickstarting the Fund, “The Dowds are brilliant, lovely, lovely, lovely people,” Mr Mitchell said.

“This makes an incredible difference to our scientists, who spend a major amount of their time writing for grants, which is time wasted. But this will support them.”

Mr John Gandel AC and Mr Harold Mitchell AC, Chairman of the Florey Board

On his own significant donation, Harold said, “I am so utterly excited by the work of the Florey’s brilliant scientists. I am very proud to be able to contribute to just a few of their achievements, and ask others to reflect on how and why they might support this jewel in Melbourne’s crown.”

Professor Steven Petrou, the Florey’s director, said “These two major gifts are absolutely game changing. They are inspirational for our scientists who will be driven to improve the human condition.

“Florey researchers are deeply aware of the privilege to be working in one of the world’s top brain research institutes. Together with my fellow researchers, we are facing one of the greatest challenges in modern medicine – to understand and treat disorders of the human mind and brain.”

Donations to the Florey Future Fund [PDF] can be made online or by emailing [email protected]