‘How We Raised It’ Podcast Series

Sharing extraordinary stories of mega gifts and multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns from the arts leaders who delivered them.

How We Raised It Podcast. Photo: Tim Lee

How We Raised It Podcast. Photo: Tim Lee

The past decade has had more record-breaking multi-million-dollar gifts announced than ever before, transforming Australia’s cultural sector. Hosted by Australian philanthropy and fundraising expert Melissa Smith, this podcast series celebrate the philanthropists who have given generously to these campaigns and shines a light on the often hidden stories of how these gifts were established.


Join us as we draw back the curtain to hear directly from the individuals who made these campaigns happen. Meeting the leaders of some of Australia’s greatest arts companies – The Australian Ballet, Sydney Theatre Company, the National Library of Australia and others – and hear how they galvanised Boards, fundraising teams and donors into making the impossible, possible.

Subscribe now via Apple Podcast, Spotify or your preferred podcast channel.

Listen to the trailer for a preview of ‘How We Raised It’.

Episode 1

Global financial crisis, Simon Mordant, 3 months and a call from Anthony Albanese: this is the story of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s $53 million campaign.

Featuring Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, former CEO, Museum of Contemporary Art.

From the verge of bankruptcy, Liz Ann Macgregor shares the extraordinary story of engaging artists, audiences, government and donors to secure Australia’s largest philanthropic gift for contemporary art at the time, and the MCA’s transformation into one of the world’s most visited contemporary art museums.

Episode 2

Hidden rooms, John Wylie, Jane Hansen and tattooed skateboarders: this is the story of the State Library of Victoria’s $28 million philanthropic campaign.

Featuring Kate Torney OAM, former Director, State Library of Victoria.

From humble beginnings and hidden rooms, the extraordinary story of the State Library of Victoria securing two of the largest gifts to libraries in Australia and making it a place of learning and inspiration for everyone.

Episode 3

The $30 million shower curtain: this is the story of Sydney Theatre Company’s landmark Wharf Renewal campaign.

Featuring Patrick McIntyre, former Executive Director, Sydney Theatre Company

It took both ‘one year and 30’ for Sydney Theatre Company to achieve Australia’s largest gift for performing arts and one of the world’s most coveted performing arts theatres – and the story involved some of the most celebrated stars of Hollywood, Australian boardrooms and prominent families.

Episode 4

Succession, vision, uncertainty then the Neilson Nutshell: this is the story of Bell Shakespeare’s $3 million dollar gift.

Featuring Peter Evans, Artistic Director, Bell Shakespeare.

From stepping into the founder’s shoes to navigating government and immense competition, the extraordinary story of an Artistic Director who reluctantly asks not once but twice, to finally achieve a permanent home for Bell Shakespeare.

Episode 5

Physios in cupboards, dancers at dinners and unwavering confidence: this is the story of The Australian Ballet’s $15 million’ Raising the Roof’ Campaign.

Featuring Libby Christie AM, Executive Director, The Australian Ballet.

‘You can’t leave it to someone else to do’: loyal donors, sophisticated Board engagement; integrated marketing & philanthropy systems, endowments, programs and capital: the business of philanthropy that ‘raised the roof’ and more.

Episode 6

Ryan Stokes, Dame Nellie Melba and Patrick White’s reading glasses: this is the story of the National Library of Australia’s $30 million campaign ambitions

Featuring Dr Marie-Louise Ayres, Director-General, National Library of Australia.

Committed to making the National Library’s most impactful and unique cultural heritage truly accessible to all Australians, this is a humble story of extraordinary passion to unlock the treasured voices of its collection through digitation. This story has yet to have its final chapter written.

How We Raised It is commissioned by Creative Partnerships Australia, in partnership with Noble Ambition. Learn more about Melissa Smith and Noble Ambition here.