Simon Martin grew up in a family culture of giving. His grandparents and great grandparents from both the Gillespie and Blackwood families were prominent philanthropists, who supported education as benefactors of Knox Grammar, Pymble Ladies College, St Andrews College, and the University of Sydney. They were also donors and actively involved in the establishment of orphanages for homeless children (now UnitingCare Burnside) in the early to mid 1900’s. Simon’s parents instilled these qualities in him growing up.
Simon has spent his working career in the finance sector as a Private Wealth Manager, managing investments for clients and not-for-profit organisations. In keeping with his background he advises business contacts and clients how best to establish financial structures for charitable support.
Simon has been a long-term member of Rotary, and is involved in raising funds and supporting projects that assist the less fortunate.
Simon lives in Sydney and has three adult children. He is a regular sailor on Sydney Harbour, and is a die-hard fan and member of the Sydney Swans.
Edward’s involvement in philanthropy began when he started fundraising for charities to help create awareness for young people experiencing mental health issues.
He has previously been involved with Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation initiative that connects young philanthropists to deliver change programs in communities.
Outside of Philanthropy, Edward specialises in public policy and corporate affairs with experience in government, financial services and consulting. He gets his rugby fix as a professional Rugby Union referee on weekends and raises money for The Guide Dogs in fun runs.
Edward holds a Master of International Business and Law from Sydney University.
Felicity has been working with children and their families in a variety of different roles for over ten years. She also has experience in the mental health sector.
In 2014, Felicity volunteered for the Athletes As Role Models Program with the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASACA), and spent a week in a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory mentoring and working with young people.
Felicity holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Counselling. She is passionate about supporting mental health programmes, a key area of the The Blackwood Foundation.
Felicity regularly plays Basketball, attends Barre and Pilates classes and often participates in fun runs throughout the year.
Bill Neill is a Partner in Frank Clune & Son, where he assists corporate and individual clients with audit, taxation, wealth building and risk management services. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Taxation Institute of Australia, and a member of the Securities Institute of Australia and the Financial Planning Association.
While living in England, Vanessa spent time with the Oxford Youth Offending Team assessing a pilot scheme of youth panels, based on restorative justice principles. Her exposure developed a strong belief in the concept of rehabilitation over punishment for troubled and disadvantaged youths. Being part of the Blackwood Foundation has enabled Vanessa to continue her interest in youth issues, particularly in relation to Blackwood’s support of mental health and education.
Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University, and a Master of Laws (specialising in restorative justice and juvenile crime) from Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. Vanessa has two teenage children. She is a keen runner and teaches clinical Pilates.