The Margaret Cunningham Endowment Fund
From the time Miss Margaret Cunningham purchased Fintona Girls' School and moved the School to Tourmont in Balwyn Road, she invested her time, money, vision and passion in the School and in the education of young women.
Miss Cunningham, as owner and headmistress of Fintona, was determined to leave Fintona in a sound financial position. In 1961, she gave the property and goodwill of the School to the Company of former students and staff and appointed a Board of Management to administer the affairs of the School. On her death, a large part of her estate was bequeathed for ‘the advancement of education at Fintona Girls' School'. The Margaret Cunningham Endowment Fund was established with Dame Beryl Beaurepaire as inaugural Chair.
In May 2000 the Board authorised the incorporation of the Trust, and Mrs Margaret Ross became the first Chair of Tourmont Incorporated - so named to reflect the historic building which Miss Cunningham bought to accommodate the School and which became her own home. Tourmont Incorporated acts as Trustee for the Fund, a Public Charitable Trust established to provide support and assistance to Fintona Girls' School.
The serving Tourmont Incorporated Committee Members all have close associations with Fintona, and a commitment to Miss Cunningham's educational and social philosophy. Current Members of the Trust are Mrs Merran Schoeffel (Chair), Ms Andrea Phillips, Mrs Jenny Blum and Ms Eris Yap and Mrs Alison Rodriquez. Mrs Geraldine Ilott is Public Officer. Mrs Margaret Ross AM, Dr Elizabeth Roberts, Justice David Harper, Mrs Debra Ashbolt, Ms Katherine Cooper, Mr Bryan Cooper and Mrs Ros Rimington are also Members of Tourmont Incorporated and past Committee Members.
The charter of the Endowment Fund embraces support of educational, social, cultural and sporting activities; scholarships and bursaries; property, building and equipment. Distributions have been of enormous benefit to Fintona in a variety of projects over the years. Often the distributions have been unannounced, but there have been more obvious contributions such as the internal refurbishment and external maintenance of Tourmont. A significant commitment of the Fund was the purchase of the Balwyn Road property which the School has now converted to the new Early Learning Centre. Such a meaningful Endowment Fund is a living legacy to Miss Cunningham's forward thinking and generosity. The Fund can be augmented by donations or bequests from those who share her vision and value her influence in their own lives.
If you would like to know more about the Margaret Cunningham Endowment Fund or how you can contribute to it, please contact the Alumni Co-ordinator on 9880 4410.
Photo above: Miss Margaret Cunningham and Deputy Principal, Miss Beatrice Chilvers, outside Tourmont on the day she gave the School to the Company.