The problems and shortcomings in our society are there if we want to see them. The question is: who among us is willing to take a really good look and contribute to solutions?


Good ideas can turn sour pretty quickly if they aren’t implemented properly, assiduously, rigorously. Jane Hansen and Paul Little know this. They applied and followed those same principles during their highly successful individual careers in business: look for opportunities, face up to the challenges and stay committed to implementing more effective solutions.


Jane spent more than 25 years in stockbroking, finance and investment banking, specialising in large domestic and international mergers and acquisitions.


Paul devoted himself for 26 years to building Toll Holdings into a global logistics giant dominating the Asia Pacific region.


Now, Jane and Paul have established The Hansen Little Foundation, a philanthropic body built on the values and methods the couple applied in their corporate careers. They believe the skills developed and the lessons learned in their business lives can be adapted to ensuring effective use of the substantial funds now allocated to The Hansen Little Foundation.


For many years, Jane contributed her commercial and managerial skills to public and community bodies. She has served on the boards of the State Sports Centre Trust, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, the State Hockey Centre, Athletics Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust.


Her passion for culture has led to positions on the Foundation boards of the State Library, Humanities at Melbourne University and the Melbourne Theatre Company. She also sits on the MTC management board, where she combines the discipline and focus that she applied during her commercial career with an enthusiasm for live storytelling. Other board positions include acting member of the Council of the University of Melbourne, the Finance sub-committee and Deputy Chair of the second phase of the University’s Believe Campaign to raise a further $500m.


What started Paul on the journey towards the establishment of The Hansen Little Foundation was a determination to ensure that one essential element of Toll’s structure – the performance and health of all operational employees – was beyond reproach.


The desire to ensure a drug free work environment gave Paul an insight into the wider problem of addiction, which led to his involvement in the treatment program, First Step. In turn, his exposure to the social challenges created by addiction led to the Second Step rehabilitation program which offered ex addicts and the incarcerated the opportunity to rebuild their lives through a supportive work environment.


Those experiences form some of the key philosophical antecedents and practical goals of The Hansen Little Foundation.


The Foundation is not a cheque-writing exercise, where a donation is passed off to a charity. It is more about targeted programs where the founders have had extensive involvement in the design and impact of their investment.


Those programs will be large and specific in their nature, and deep in their commitment. The Hansen Little Foundation is the product of the hearts and the minds of two Australians who have not accepted half-measures in their business career. It is a large-scale, active philanthropic undertaking that has the singular objective of leaving a legacy of significant and positive change.

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