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about us

Creating positive & lasting change in our community since 2002

Established in 2002 by the Bangarra Family Office, the Bennelong Foundation aims to enhance community wellbeing and provide opportunities for positive and lasting change in our community. The Foundation also aims to provide opportunities for people within Bangarra Family Office and within the Bangarra Family Office community to personally get involved in the activities of the organisations it supports.


The activities of the Foundation are overseen by an independent Board working with selected Key Advisors.


The Foundation also has a sub-committee of volunteers from the various Bangarra businesses, known as P.A.C.E. committee (Philanthropy and Community Engagement) . The P.A.C.E. committee consider smaller, innovative and grassroots grants within the Bennelong Foundation's key focus areas. The P.A.C.E. committee actively seek out and work alongside these organisations to assist in their project application and development.

Our People
Carena Shankar


Carena Shankar is Chairperson of the Bennelong Foundation and an Executive Director of Bangarra Family Office. She is also the Manager of the Bangarra Family Office Private Portfolio. Carena has a degree in economics and has worked in various areas including hospitality, finance, television production and property. Carena has previously held Non-Executive directorships with the Australian Opera Capital Fund, Asialink and Noosa Chances.

Jeff Chapman AM

Non-Executive Director

Jeff is the co-founder and previous Chairman of the Bennelong Foundation. Jeff is the founder and Chairman of Bangarra Family Office, a privately owned Family Office with extensive operations in the wealth and funds management sectors. His early career was spent in Australian manufacturing, retailing and investment banking. Jeff has degrees in law, accounting and business. In 2019 Jeff was appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) as part of the Australia Day honours 'for significant service to the community through philanthropic initiatives'.

Laura Cochrane

Chief Executive Officer

Laura Cochrane joined the Bennelong Foundation as CEO in 2023. Prior to this, she led National Australia Bank’s philanthropic portfolio, overseeing the NAB Foundation and volunteering and giving programs for the organisation’s 30,000 employees. Laura has previously held roles managing corporate communications at National Australia Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland  and worked as a journalist for Euromoney Institutional Investor and Bloomberg News in Australia and the UK.

Kelly Chapman

Non-Executive Director

Kelly Chapman joined the Bennelong Foundation board in 2020 following a Non-Executive Directorship of Bangarra Family Office since 2009. Kelly is also a Non-Executive Director of Sanpoint Pty Ltd, Chair and Founder of the Studio 64 Group. Following a move to Western Australia, Kelly joined the senior management team of Hawaiian Pty Ltd, a leading private equity property company. Kelly is currently the Managing Director of Western Australian property group, Rpoint Properties. Kelly commenced a professional association with the Bangarra Group in 2007 through her involvement in one of the Bennelong Foundation committees.

Christine Fleer

Non-Executive Director

Christine Fleer is a Partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler, providing strategic advice to high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and family groups, as well as to global hedge funds, listed companies and insolvency administrators. She is a member of the Boards of the National Theatre St Kilda, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, the TarraWarra Museum of Art and the Besen Family Foundation.

Hon. Phil Honeywood

Non-Executive Director

Phil is a Non-Executive Director of Bangarra Family Office and the Bennelong Foundation. Phil is also the Chief Executive Officer of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), Convener of the National Council for International Education and a member of the Higher Education Standards Panel, New Colombo Plan Steering Committee and the Education Visa Consultative Committee. Phil was a Member of the Victorian State Parliament, Australia, for 18 years (1988–2006). During this period Phil served as the Victorian Minister for Tertiary Education, Training and Multicultural Affairs. He was also Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2002–2006.

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Liem Nguyen

Grants Manager

Liem is the Grants and Administration Manager for the Bennelong Foundation. Liem brings over 10 years of technology experience from various tech/business roles in startups, corporates and not for profits. Liem is on the Committee of Management for CultureSpring, a Peer Educator for the Dancewize Program, as a part of Harm Reduction Victoria and a Community Mentor for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation GOAL Program. He is a Partner of the OKIRU Collective which hosts a podcast sharing stories of social and cultural identity and overcoming struggle from his communities.

the impact hub


John Pirie Secondary School urgently needed to introduce a Numeracy Intervention Programme for a targeted group of under-achieving Year 8 and 9 students.


These years can be make-or-break, as many of the students arrive at the school with numeracy skills that are well below national standards.



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