First Seeds Fund


Where philanthropy is not about writing cheques but a 360-degree approach involving money, time and passion….

Janine Garner is a successful entrepreneur who founded and runs a women’s business network, Little Black Dress Group (LBD). She always felt a deep sense of responsibility to those in her community who have never had the lucky breaks of birth or fortune that she and her business entrepreneurs in her network are fortunate to have. While desiring to do more, she also thought that chequebook giving just “hacked off with not knowing where donations go or what impact they had”.

After being introduced to women’s giving circles in the US, she was inspired to be the “brick in the wall of change”. Back in Australia, she founded First Seeds Fund in 2011, a women’s giving circle comprising of members and friends of LBD. In order to get tax deductibility on the donations and for other practical reasons, the fund was set up under the auspices of the Sydney Women’s Fund.

First Seeds Fund’s first project engagement is Strive in Warwick Farm estate, “a place where drug dealers, gamblers and prostitutes live”. The estate suffers from high unemployment, high crime rate and low education attainment. Strive; a collaboration between five schools, the neighbourhood centre and the local police; works with girls and their families to provide support for the girls to attend school, graduate and be mentored by successful businesswomen. The project achieved higher school enrolment, more parental involved and improved schoolwork within a short span of time. Riding on the success, a team of volunteers from First Seeds Fund mentors girls under the ‘Club Kidpreneur’ program where the girls are exposed to entrepreneurial thinking.    

Janine is convinced that the circle will grow as it communicates the success of funding and personal engagement evidenced in projects like Warwick Farm. She believes philanthropy is not about writing cheques but ‘a 360-degree approach involving money, time and passion.'

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