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Adjunct associate professor, Swinburne University of Technology

Dr Michael Liffman was appointed in March 2001 as founding Director of Philanthropy and Social Invesment at Swinburne.

Michael has a background in social policy, research and community work. After working with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Ecumenical Migration Centre, he became CEO of the Myer Foundation and the Sidney Myer Fund.

Michael has been elected to the coordinating committee of Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmakers' Support (WINGS) based in Maila - the first Australian to be so honoured. He is also a Board member of the SouthPort Community Residential Home, and the Alpine School. Former involvements include membership of the board of the Australian Council of Social Services, the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs, the Department of Human Services Ethics Committee, the Community Advisory Committee of the Special Broadcasting Service, and the Immigration Review Tribunal. Michael is a former President of the Australian Association of Philanthropy, and a member of the International Network on Strategic Philanthropy.

His publications include Power for the Poor (Allen & Unwin), The Non-profit Motive in Civil Society in Australian Philanthropy Research Papers 2000, and editorship of Migration Action.

He completed a book on the philanthropic history of the Myer family in 2004, A Tradition of Giving: Seventy-five Years of Myer Family Philanthropy, published by Melbourne University Press.

Research Interests

Private and Family Philanthropy and Social Investment
Philanthropic History in Australia
Corporate Social Investment in Australia


  • 2001–2014
    Founding Director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy, Swinburne University
  • 1985–2000
    CEO, Myer Foundation


  • 2004 
    Uni of Melbourne, PhD


  • 2004
    A Tradition of Giving,
  • 1979
    Power for the Poor,
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