Origin Foundation: Who we are

Our Foundation believes in the power of education to help transform lives and improve communities.

Our focus

Our focus, chosen by the people of Origin, is to support programs that use education to help break the cycle of disadvantage and empower young Australians to reach their potential.

We are transitioning to a greater focus on the following areas:

  • Creating greater gender diversity in ‘STEM’ education – science, technology, engineering and maths.
  • Providing equality of educational opportunity for two groups: Indigenous students, and children in rural and remote Australia.
  • Building a stronger community sector by increasing the professionalism and productivity of the not-for-profit sector through training and development.

How we offer support

Grant program

We provide funding to Australian non-profit organisations that use education, training and development to help young people become the best that they can be.

We think it’s essential that our partnerships are well-planned, have proven results, represent good value for money and are sustainable over time.

Please note: we do not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

Capacity-building for the non-profit sector

We assist non-profit organisations improve their social impact by providing access to learning and development opportunities.

Give Time volunteering program

With fully paid volunteer leave, Origin employees donate their time and professional skills to help our partners pursue their important work.

If you’re an Origin employee and want to get involved in volunteering, check out the volunteering calendar on the Origin Intranet, Source.


Origin employees donate to their favourite charities and we match their donations dollar-for-dollar, to any registered Australian charity with DGR status.

Who we support


Through our grant program we support a range of Australian non-profit organisations who share our belief that education has the power to transform lives and improve communities.

In addition, we have partnerships with a number of charities who provide a wide range of volunteering opportunities for Origin employees.

Our partners

Our impact

Annual review

Giving money away is easy. It’s called charity. Giving money with purpose is harder and called philanthropy and that is what our Foundation does.

We are funded by the interest income from a $50 million corpus provided by Origin. Origin also funds our running costs, ensuring that all of our investment income goes to the community programs we support.

We think it’s important to be open and transparent about how we work and the impact we have, so we produce a report each year highlighting the outcomes from our activities.

The Board

Steven Sargent

Steven Sargent

Steven Sargent joined the Board of Origin Energy Limited in May 2015. He is a member of the Health, Safety & Environment and Remuneration committees of Origin.  In September 2015, Steven was appointed Chairman of the Origin Foundation.

Steven is a Non-executive Director of Veda Group Limited, Bond University Limited and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Over recent years Steven has been a member of the Australian Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council, President of the American Chamber of Commerce and a Director on the Board of the Business Council of Australia.

Steven was most recently the President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Mining, GE's global mining technology and services business. He joined GE Capital in 1993 and held a number of global leadership positions with the company, spanning the US, Europe and Asia. He was a member of the Australian B20 Leadership Group and Coordinating Chair of the B20 Human Capital Taskforce.

Steven holds a Bachelor of Business from Charles Sturt University in New South Wales and is a Fellow with the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Kevin McCann

Kevin McCann

Kevin retired as Chairman of the Origin Board in October 2013, after 13 ½ years. He was instrumental in the decision to create the Origin Foundation. He is Chairman of Macquarie Group Ltd and Macquarie Bank Ltd, and a Director of Evans and Partners, the University of Sydney United States Studies Centre and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. He is also a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney.

Kevin was previously a Director of BlueScope Steel Ltd and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Chairman of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, a Council Member of the National Library of Australia, Chairman of the AICD NSW Advisory council and a member of AICD's Corporate Governance Committee.

Grant King

Grant King

Grant has been Managing Director of Origin since the time of the company's demerger from Boral Ltd (February 2000). Grant is a councillor of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, a Director of the Business Council of Australia and Chairman of the Business Council of Australia Infrastructure & Sustainability Growth Committee.

He is a former Director of Envestra Ltd and former Chairman of the Energy Supply Association of Australia Ltd.

Brenda Cherednichenko

Brenda Cherednichenko

Professor Brenda Cherednichenko joined the Foundation Board in December 2013. She is Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Education at Deakin University. Brenda has a Masters from the University of Rochester, NY and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.

She is President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. Brenda was Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, Equity and Indigenous and Executive Dean, Faculty of Education and Arts at Edith Cowan University, and held senior roles at Victoria University. In 2009 she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar and studied community-university partnerships at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Carl McCamish

Carl McCamish

Carl joined Origin in March 2008 and is the Executive General Manager People and Culture. Carl was previously Executive General Manager Corporate Development and, subsequently, Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs. Before joining Origin, Carl was head of strategic development at the private equity firm, Terra Firma. He was previously Senior Energy Advisor in the United Kingdom Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and was deputy head of the 2006 UK Energy Review.

Before that he worked at McKinsey & Co management consultants. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Law from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Industrial Relations and Labour Economics from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Helen Williams

Helen Williams

Helen joined the Origin Foundation Board as an External Director in January 2011. Helen retired after a long public sector career. She was the first woman to head an Australian Government department and, since 1985, has headed the Departments of Education, Tourism, Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Communications IT and the Arts, and Human Services. She has been Public Service Commissioner and Parliamentary Service Commissioner, and was the inaugural Head of the Commonwealth-State Relations Secretariat.

She is currently Deputy Chair of the Australian National Archives Advisory Council, and a member of the Board of the Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company. In 1993, she was made an officer in the Order of Australia for 'services to public administration'. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Public Administration.

Sean Barrett

Sean Barrett

Sean is the Head of the Foundation and reports to the Board. He was recruited from the not-for-profit sector where he has held senior roles in managing organisations in Australia and overseas. He successfully completed the inaugural Harvard Business School Humanitarian Leadership Program for senior managers in the NGO sector.

Get in touch

Please note: we do not accept unsolicited requests for funding.
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Level 45 Australia Square
264-278 George Street
NSW 2000