Fred Hollows Foundation welcomes new Board Chair

Newly elected Board Chair to The Fred Hollows Foundation, Jane Madden, witnessing The Foundation’s work firsthand in Alice Springs. Photo credit: Emma Louise Murray


The Fred Hollows Foundation has welcomed Jane Madden as its new Board Chair after paying tribute to former Victorian Premier John Brumby, who retired as Chair yesterday during The Foundation’s Annual General Meeting.

Madden has more than 25 years’ experience across the public and private sectors under her belt. This includes positions at the most senior levels of the Australian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade and Prime Minister and Cabinet, and diplomatic postings to Japan, South Africa and France, including as Australia’s Ambassador to UNESCO.

Madden has also been a Board Member of the Black Dog Institute, the President of the National Foundation for Australian Women and a Member of the Lirrwi Arnhem Land Indigenous Advisory Panel, among a range of other experiences.

“I was delighted to join The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Board earlier this year, and I’m now doubly honoured to be entrusted with the role of Chair,” Madden said on her appointment.

“Recently, I saw The Foundation’s work firsthand at the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory in Alice Springs, and had in-depth conversations with staff about the challenges and social determinants of eye health outcomes. There is so much we need to do to close the gap in blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”

“The Foundation is an organisation I’ve long admired. I believe its determination to deliver on Fred Hollows’ vision of a world where no person is needlessly blind is an important goal, especially as the world grapples with the difficult consequences of the pandemic,” Madden said.

Madden replaces John Brumby, who served as a Board Director for ten years and Chair of The Foundation since 2016. He recalls Fred Hollows as someone who worked tirelessly to end avoidable blindness and restore sight.

“Like so many Australians, I remember Fred as a dedicated campaigner for justice in Australia and overseas. He was forthright, he was direct, and he got results,” Brumby said.

“I first became involved with The Foundation about 20 years ago, and it has been a true privilege to play a role in its growth over time. I’ve been fortunate to see so many examples of the great work we do here in Australia in indigenous communities as well as in poorer countries overseas.

“There is nothing more special than seeing the notes from older people with their cheque for $25, apologising that they can’t give more because of their love for the work The Foundation does and the trust they have in us to use that money well.

“I want to thank the people of Australia for their wonderful support of The Foundation and to thank our staff and partners around the world for their life-changing work, especially over the past year, which has been particularly challenging. It has been a real honour to serve such a worthwhile cause alongside some of the social sector’s best people,” he said.

The Foundation’s CEO Ian Wishart welcomed Jane and thanked John for his unwavering support.

“From walking 30km in the rain to raise funds to restore sight to attending donor events, John has been a tremendous champion for The Fred Hollows Foundation,” Wishart said.

“His former life as a Treasurer and Premier gave him a better insight than most at handling a major crisis and he provided invaluable guidance during COVID-19. I know John will continue to be a huge supporter of The Foundation and I extend a warm welcome to Jane as our new Chair. Her impressive experience will be vital to our ongoing work,” Wishart said.