Just over twenty years ago, Australia did not have tax-efficient philanthropic structures compared to those available in the USA and UK. The introduction of private ancillary funds (originally called Prescribed Private Funds, or PPFs) in 2001 provided people with the ability to tax-effectively donate to a trust of their own, and then gift funds to a range of eligible charities.
Chris Cuffe AO, our founder and chairman, first came up with the idea for Australian Philanthropic Services (APS) in 2009 when he commissioned a research project to look at why more wealthy Australians weren’t engaged in structured philanthropy. He found the experience with his family’s PAF, the Christopher Cuffe Foundation, very rewarding. However, he was frustrated by the low awareness, lack of expertise and poor quality service that was available at the time to establish and administer PAFs. The research showed that there were many barriers preventing people from participating in structured philanthropy.
Chris decided to take steps to inspire and support more individuals, families and companies to use private ancillary funds to manage their giving. In September 2010, Chris founded what is now known as Australian Philanthropic Services, after originally operating as a division of Social Ventures Australia. In 2012, the APS Foundation was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of APS, providing structured philanthropy at a more accessible entry point.
In its short history, APS has grown very quickly, proving the need for its services. It is now the leading independent not-for-profit, philanthropic services organisation in Australia. Our 800+ clients donated $162m to charity last year and have committed over $2 billion to charity held in structures we support.
In 2022, Chris wrote a book about the history of APS which can be found here.