Self-Determination Fund appoints first CEO

Aug 18, 2023

The Trustee of the Self-Determination Fund, established by the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria to help Traditional Owners of Country prepare for Treaty negotiations, is one step closer to being operational with the appointment of its first CEO.

Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta, Dhudhuroa and Dja Dja Wurrung woman, and newly elected Assembly Co-Chair, Ngarra Murray, said the short-term goal of the Fund was to ensure all Traditional Owners could enter negotiations on a more level playing field.

“Some groups are already preparing, but others are going to need to take some time to consider their approach and decide their priorities, so the Fund is there as a shared resource to have those nation-building conversations. Later it will become a tool to build prosperity and help address the impacts of colonisation,”

Ms Murray

The Fund has been setup as a trust overseen by the Assembly and will be managed by an all First Nations group of expert directors who are finalising the Funding Guidelines and have recruited the Trustee’s first dedicated staff member.

Sandra Jacobs will start as the Trustee’s CEO in October and has extensive leadership experience in the wealth management industry, philanthropy and grant making, most recently as CEO of the Bennelong Foundation, where she was appointed CEO in 2016.

Gunditjmara man, and newly elected Assembly Co-Chair, Rueben Berg, said the Assembly is thankful for the significant amount of work done by the Trustee’s Directors in such a short timeframe.

“We have a wealth of knowledge in the Self-Determination Fund team, so the Assembly Members are pretty excited about what lies ahead on this journey. Creating better opportunities for our children and grandchildren is what Treaty is all about, so having a resource like this is fantastic. It’s going to help ensure greater freedom and power for First Nations people to make our own decisions,”

Mr Berg

Ms Jacobs has extensive leadership experience in the wealth management industry. Prior to her appointment as CEO of the Bennelong Foundation, Ms Jacobs was a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management for over 10 years. Ms Jacobs is currently an Executive Director of the Bennelong Foundation and is the chair of The Nappy Collective. She has also held non-executive directorships with several organisations that support community connections and aspirations since 2010.

Further information about the Self-Determination Fund – including how it will benefit all First Peoples in Victoria throughout Treaty negotiations – can be accessed online:

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