Photo credit Love Bree Photography

The Brunner family

Claire, Nic, Jonny, Jasmine and John Brunner founded the donkey wheel Charitable Trust and Fund in 2004. 

With backgrounds in economics, the arts, design, and film, they wanted to create an organisation that wouldn’t simply follow in the path of others, but would try different ways of creating change, that would be audacious, a catalyst, and that would fund projects others wouldn’t. 

They wanted to search for stories that would both light them up and light up others, inspiring other people to take risks and try new ways of addressing old problems.

Originally from England, the family has chosen to avoid the spotlight, instead placing all the focus on the people and projects they’ve supported. 

Claire was the driving force behind donkey wheel from its conception until 2010, when her health first began to limit her involvement. 

Presently the Brunner family is represented through our members.

Photo of Paul Steele and Col Duthie

our people

The Board of Directors

Col Duthie

Col’s commitment to social change infuses the work he does to facilitate cohesion and clarity among senior leaders.  Starting out as a senior high school maths teacher and within the community sector he then developed a consulting practice to give expression to his belief in the power of business to make a positive impact in the world.

He has worked with the executive teams and boards of some of Australia’s and the South Pacific’s best known social purpose organisations including Intrepid Travel (Foundation), World Vision Australia, Care Australia, Baptcare, Victoria Legal Aid, Salvos Stores, The PNG Sustainable Development Foundation, Arup and many others including the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Justice Connect and Ethinvest. He has served as Chair and Director on many boards including a stint as Chair of TEAR Australia and in addition to his Executive Chair role at donkey wheel is currently a Director of Ethical Property Australia (Chair), STREAT Ltd, and the Give Where You Live Foundation (Geelong).

Col holds a BSc DipEd and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dave Piggott

Dave was a successful business owner in the healthcare industry for 14 years, before selling to Telstra.  Wanting to give something back to the community, he sought a position in the NFP sector – hence his directorship at donkey wheel.  David brings practical experience as an IT entrepreneur and general management competencies to his commitment to making a difference via the donkey wheel board.  He has a particular focus on customer engagement, product management, sales and marketing.   Dave is currently the Business Development Manager for hospitals at Telstra Health and holds a Masters in IT (Open Systems) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth has been Chief Financial Officer at Victoria Legal Aid since 2011.  Prior to this she was the Head of Strategic Finance at World Vision Australia.  She has held senior financial roles in government and not-for-profit sectors.  Her commitment to social justice is reflected in a prior board role at the Leprosy Mission Australia.  Elizabeth has degrees in Commerce and Arts, a Master of Assessment and Evaluation from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Business from Swinburne University.  She is currently a director of both donkey wheel and Ethical Property Commercial Ltd, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Our Staff

Paul Steele

Paul has been working in the social enterprise space before the term ‘impact investment’ entered common usage. A serial entrepreneur with experience in a range of industries, Paul has worked extensively in the philanthropic and social enterprise sectors in Australia and overseas, leveraging philanthropic capital for greatest impact.

Jacqui Ralley

Jacqui Ralley is donkey wheel’s go to person.  She is passionate about making sure our numbers add up and has our books firmly in line.

Abbie Matthews

Abbie enjoys words, whether she’s writing her own or reorganising other people’s.