Vera Ramaciotti established the Clive & Vera Ramaciotti Foundations in 1970.
Vera's father, Major General Gustavo Ramaciotti, came to Australia from Italy as a child with his family in the mid 1800s. He received his ranking during World War I and later practised in Sydney as a lawyer.
Gustavo bought the Theatre Royal in King Street, Sydney (now part of the MLC Centre) around 1913 and left it to his children Vera and Clive in his Will.
His son Clive passed away in 1967 and in 1970 Vera sold the Theatre Royal and the adjacent properties. With the proceeds she established the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations to give substantial support to biomedical research - an interest shared by Vera and her brother.
Her decision to set up the charitable trusts was influenced by the strong family link with the Hall family and their philanthropic attitude (resulting in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) and also Vera's personal struggle with diabetes.
The beginning of the Ramaciotti Foundations
The Foundations, managed by Perpetual, began with $6.7 million with the first major grant going to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 1971. This assisted with the establishment of a new building called the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Research Laboratories.
In 1971, recognising the need for expert scientific input, Perpetual appointed the first Scientific Advisory Committee, to help ensure grants were made to worthy and legitimate projects.
Since then, the Foundations have donated close to $55 million to biomedical research - a significant amount considering they began with only $6.7 million - and are one of the largest private contributors to the field.
The Ramaciotti Foundations continue to support biomedical research and each year make significant distributions, providing assistance to areas such as molecular biology, genetics and immunology.