In 1991 St Vincent's Private Hospital gave St Vincent's Clinic (as Trustee) the humble sum of $1,000 to establish a trust fund to be known as St Vincent's Clinic Foundation. In 1992, the St Vincent's Clinic Foundation was formally established to strengthen the research and educational aims of St Vincent's Clinic.
In her inaugural Foundation report, Sr Bernice, the first President of St Vincent's Clinic Foundation, said:
"The value of the latest developments on treatment and procedures can only be tested by clinical practitioners and based on their detailed outcome studies of actual patient care. However, although government and other research organisations provide financial support for basic laboratory work for full time investigators, there is little funding available for clinical studies conducted on the course of patient care. Yet it is this evaluation on which all new treatment modalities lie."
Over the years, the Foundation has taken advantage of opportunities to widen its funding scope for research.
A generous donation in 2003 made $1 million in funding available for adult stem cell research projects. Patient focused multidisciplinary grants that foster nursing and allied health research have also been introduced.
When the first formal research grants were awarded in 1994, ten were offered. By 2017 this number had doubled, with 20 grants being awarded plus four multidisciplinary grants. St Vincent's Clinic Foundation continues to grow and prosper, and to date it has provided 348 grants totalling $14,087,466 in research funding.
The commitment and stewardship of the Foundation Trustees, under the leadership of Sr Bernice (1992-1997), Dr John Roarty (1998 -2000) and especially Ted Harris AC (2000 until present) has been instrumental in the success of the Foundation.
From its humble beginnings, St Vincent's Clinic Foundation now has assets of over $15 million and a commitment to continue to fund research, pledging $1 million in research for 2017.