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About Our Foundation

at a glance

Our Key Milestones


Supporting Sydney’s women in need since 1928


Funded/operated in Sydney from 1928-1976


Provided for aged clients at Miranda from 1976-2004

Million +

Donated to the local community organisations since 2004

Our past


The Big Sister Movement was founded in 1928 by Mrs Minnie Gates (M.B.E.) and members of the Sydney branch of the National Council of Women.

Throughout the Depression, the Movement provided hostel accommodation for destitute single girls moving to Sydney from rural NSW. The first hostels were located in Hoskins Place, Bligh St and York St in Sydney.

As the Movement expanded other hostels in were established to assist elderly, disadvantaged women. Hostels were established across Sydney in Pennant Hills (1936), Burwood (1953) and Cronulla (1958).

Money was always scarce, and the Movement depended on fund-raising, donations and voluntary help to run the hostels. As a tireless fundraiser and leader of the Movement, Minnie Gates continued her efforts right through to her passing in 1966.

With community needs changing in the 1970’s, the Big Sister Movement transitioned its services to providing accommodation and care for both elderly men and women in these hostel locations.

In 1976 these aged accommodation services were consolidated into one facility, The Big Sister Hostel, a 75 bed aged care hostel built in Miranda, south of Sydney.

The hostel was sold in 2004. With the capital invested, the Big Sister Movement changed focus from a primary service provider to a philanthropic organisation, bridging funding gaps in local community organisations who support women and families.

In 2010 The Big Sister Movement changed its name to Big Sister Foundation, reflecting our evolving philanthropic role in the community and supporting our long-term mission of giving a helping hand to women and families need.

Mrs Minnie Gates M.B.E
(1878 -1966)
How we do it all


Operating with transparency and efficiency we keep our costs to a bare minimum.

The Foundation is governed by an honorary board of directors who meet monthly. The directors bring a deep understanding of the challenges of delivering and accessing community services. Together, the directors represent a diverse range of community interests, life and professional experience; they strive to manage the Foundation’s capital to deliver optimum returns.

Two part-time employees are engaged by the Foundation to undertake all administrative functions and they are supported by a range of professional organisations providing services at reduced rates or in some cases, pro bono.

The Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and is subject to an annual audit. It is compliant with the ACNC financial reporting obligations and governance standards. Financial accounts are available to interested parties on the ACNC website.

Big Sister Foundation has been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as Tax Concession Charity and Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), all donations are fully tax deductible.

Whilst we do not conduct large public fundraising campaigns, we do actively seek donations from organisations and individuals who are passionate about supporting women and families in need.

Partners working with us to make a difference