ABOUT THE Barlow foundation

The Barlow Foundation is a grant provider and impact investor that seeks to help people improve lives through innovation and education. We deliver grants to organisations that work towards balancing inequality in Australia, Asia and The Pacific. We believe that fostering self-reliance and self-empowerment, particularly in women and children is a key to addressing social inequality. 

The hope is that the work of this Foundation will allow others the opportunity to thrive, finding their way out of disadvantage and towards self determination, happiness and success.

The Family Background

bev award.jpg

Our founder Beverley Barlow passed away suddenly in July 2017, but she left a legacy and an inspiration that carries on.  Bev inspired us all through her lifetime of giving and generosity. She was the treasurer on the Royal Children's Hospital Fund Raising Committee which earned her an Honorary Life Governor award, she was President of the Melbourne Football Club Gold Pass raising much needed funds for the club at the time, and she always gave generously to various causes and supported grass roots fundraising through her tireless community involvement. She began her career as an educator in Papua New Guinea before changing careers to help build the family business. She not only set up a multi million dollar corpus to kickstart this foundation, but has guaranteed it's future impact by bequeathing further funding. Her life philosophy was "get on with it" and that is exactly what we intend to do.

Bev and her Canadian husband Douglas moved back to Melbourne together in the 1960's where they ran a small grocery store, and then had three children. Those children have since also had children and together they have continued to expand and grow their business interests. They are now co-owners of one of the largest private companies in Australia. They jointly own over 650 retail stores, a major coffee store chain as well as a substantial diversified investment portfolio. 

The Barlow Foundation was established in 2014. The now multi-generational family want to honour their founders long term commitment to grow the corpus and continue to expand the work they do in order to have the largest possible impact in improving the lives of others in Australia and overseas. 

Vision & Mission

Improving the capacity of individuals to be able to help themselves out of disadvantage is the best way to achieve real fundamental change, not only for the individual, but for their community and for future generations. Studies have proven that focusing on women and children means that long-term change is even more likely .

Therefore the foundation supports organisations whose projects focus on systemic change, self-empowerment and opportunity creation through education programs, training programs and other innovative ideas for women and children.  Education, by our definition, is the formal and informal acquiring of knowledge, skills, values and habits. 

Board Members

Deborah Barlow - Chair and CEO

Deborah holds an Arts Degree from La Trobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Communication from the University of California, a Masters in Business Arts Administration from Deakin and a Law Degree from Monash University (focusing on human rights and international law.)  She has worked as a lawyer assisting asylum seekers in their claims for refugee status, and for many years in various areas of the film and television industry culminating in producing her first feature film with her writer/director husband "Is This The Real World" in 2015.   Deborah lives in St Kilda in Melbourne and has two grown children. Deborah and her husband Martin (also a board member) feel passionately that philanthropy, impact investing and story telling are powerful agents of change. 


Lisa Blundell – Director

Lisa is a best-selling author of four fiction novels, two of which are published in five languages. She has worked in advertising and marketing; from account management to design. She is a director on the board of the family company and and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Languages from the University of Melbourne. Lisa speaks French and each year spends time visiting the recipients of various philanthropic investments in emerging nations around the world. Lisa lives in inner-city Melbourne and has four children.

Greg pic.jpg

Greg Neave – Director

Greg is the CEO of the wider family office group. He has held various finance and senior executive roles within both the Group’s retail business and its Family Office practice. Prior to joining the retail business, Greg spent four years as the Finance Manager of MIC, a Singapore based trading company that represented a number of global brands in emerging markets. He also has held various finance roles in the technology industry. Greg has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and an Advanced Diploma of Business Management. He has attended the General Management Programme at INSEAD Business School and the Private Wealth Management Programme at Wharton Business School. He is a member of CPA Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Greg is married with two daughters.


Kate Kennedy – Director

Kate is a passionate global human rights leader. Her work has affected the lives of tens of thousands of exploited women and children in poverty and slavery. She has worked on rights issues in executive roles including Strategic Director of World Vision, CEO of Hagar Australia, Program Director of The Pratt Foundation and more recently as New York based Managing Director of the Freedom Fund. Kate is a well regarded international advocate on ending child exploitation, supply chain reform and strengthening protections for the world’s most vulnerable populations. She regularly makes public addresses and appears as witness at forums from United Nations to US State department. She studied at Monash and Harvard Universities and been an active non-executive Director for MacKillop Family services, Jesuit publications and goodcompany.


Martin McKenna – Director

Martin has a Bachelor of Arts and comes from a long career as a writer and director in television and film. His first feature was produced in 2015. Since 2014 Martin has been informally involved with the Barlow Foundation travelling to partner programs in Bangladesh, India and Cambodia to gain a deeper understanding of the Foundation and the work it does. He is a part time mentor for VCA screenwriting students and a full time developer of feature films and documentary. Martin is also a very keen impact investor. Martin is based in Melbourne and is married to Deborah - they have two adult children.