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The Power of Giving

The Power of Giving

In conversation with Jane Hansen AO

Music Always is an access program run by Melbourne Recital Centre, which brings high-quality live music performances into the lives of those living in aged care homes throughout Victoria. This program has been secured for the next three years, through the generosity of the Hansen Little Foundation and Lady Marigold Southey AC. We spoke with Jane Hansen about why she chooses to support Music Always.

Jane Hansen

What inspired you to support our Music Always program?

I believe that music can be a great source of joy, and one that should be available to everybody.  I have read a lot about how it can help people who are isolated and elderly, or have early onset dementia. And sadly, I have watched some very dear people close to me pass, but also observed how particularly beautiful classical music provided them with a great amount of comfort. I think the program at Melbourne Recital Centre in this area is amazing.

What is the importance of multi-year giving?

I am active on both sides of fundraising, and I know it is very useful for the charity or arts organisation to have multi-year gifts, as it allows for greater certainty in programming and you can rely on that source of income. And for me personally, I find it easier to administer as I know it will happen automatically which allows me more time to think about other worthwhile projects in addition to this one.

I had read about Music Always and I thought it sounded interesting, and I knew you were coming up to requiring new funding. 

You visited a Music Always performance last year. What was that like?

It was fabulous. I visited the Emmy Monash Centre, and the performing ensemble were just so vivacious, animated and beautiful. There was an infectious energy in the room which I am sure the older people enjoyed.

Besides the music, it was also wonderful to see the way the musicians were engaging with all the residents - very warm and lively. They would respond to how the residents were receiving the music, and adapt accordingly. I think the energy lifted everyone in the room. 

What is it like working with other philanthropists, and inspiring others to give?

I think it’s even more rewarding when philanthropists work together. I was delighted to work with someone else who could also see the value of the Music Always program, and it has been a nice bonus to connect over this experience as well. I do think it can be inspiring to others to see you act and support, the enthusiasm is catching. In fact, I attended a large fundraising event recently, but did not want to buy any of the auction items but was keen to contribute to the cause. So, in response to a call for general donations I raised my hand which prompted five other people to join me, and that was purely because I got the ball rolling. I didn’t know that was going to happen, but it prompted other people to think ‘I should do that as well’, so was a great result all round.

To find out more about how you can support our Music Always program, please contact Alistaire Bowler, Interim Head of Development, on (03) 9207 2653 or