39 minutes | Aug 15th 2020

Philanthropy and Research - trust, honesty and communication - with Anna Guillan Founder of NELUNE Foundation

How can researchers connect with philanthropists and supporters?

In this week’s episode of Research for What?, I talk with Anna Guillan. Anna is the Deputy Chair of

Tourism Australia and the Australian consultant to Kerzner International, a global operator of luxury resorts.

More relevant to this podcast is the fact that Anna is the co-founder of the NELUNE Foundation, which she established with her friend Nelune Rajapakse in 2001. Today, they have raised over $33M to support patients diagnosed with cancer. Their work at the NELUNE Foundation supports NSW public hospitals and research facilities to provide and improve cancer patient care.

In this episode Anna explains how the NELUNE Foundation was born to help provide better care for under-privileged or marginalised patients. Anna talks about how the NELUNE Foundation subsequently began to support long-term and complicated research projects, as new needs developed. In particular, Anna explains how the Rebecca Wilson fellowship was established to support a young cancer researcher at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. 

Anna explains the importance of relationships with the Foundation’s supporters and researchers. Without a strong scientific background, Anna and Nelune aid projects and people they can trust because of their integrity, honesty and ability to communicate. They build human connections with ‘young bright minds’ who share the same passion for helping others. Here, Anna gives some great tips for young researchers to communicate their work in a meaningful way that can be understood by potential supporters.

Lastly, Anna hopes her contribution helps foster more collaboration in research, between teams, institutions and companies. She wishes for ‘one big mega brain trying to solve major problems’ to get a better outcome for patients. 

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