The formation of the Gabriel Foundation

Created for a school built on love, honour and service.

A 100-year legacy of educational excellence, connection and opportunity has endured due to the foresight and generosity of previous generations.

In 1980, the Gabriel Foundation (the Foundation) was created to manage, raise and grow funds to advance the CGGS community. Its name honours the School’s original name, St Gabriel’s, and 40 years on, the Foundation remains as unique as it is essential—carrying the torch of the giving spirit of St Gabriel’s visionaries.

Canberra Girls Grammar School’s century-long history features courageous, devoted people, bold new horizons and risky endeavours, all of which are woven through the story of the Foundation.

The first 60 years of the School weathered times of highs and lows. This mirrored the impacts of the Depression, World War 2 and a fluctuating population and demographic as the new Capital found its feet.

Come the 1980s, it was an agreed imperative for the School to maintain its growth trajectory, keep up with emerging competitors and mitigate funding concerns that might arise in an increasingly uncertain economic context.

Beyond safeguarding the School’s financial position, the desire to increase philanthropic support was a collective aspiration. The CGGS community’s culture of giving was infused throughout its history and continues to be profoundly connected to the ethos of the Community of the Sisters of the Church.

The Gabriel Foundation
“The inauguration of the Gabriel Foundation marks a turning point in the history of the Canberra Church of England Girls Grammar School, as significant as any that preceded it."

Ralph Elliott, Chairman
1984 Inaugural Dinner

The need for a Foundation was first flagged by members of the CCEGGS Board in the late 1970s and discussions commenced. The group of like-minded individuals—and importantly astute financial experts with valuable business nous—could clearly see that the School, and the educational landscape, was changing rapidly. Even though the School’s financial position had been buoyed by the Church of England Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn and past Government grants, a Foundation with a formal governance structure was felt essential to ensure long-term, financial sustainability. The P&F Committee was also very supportive of the idea of establishing a Foundation to supplement the School’s funding in uncertain times.

The core focus of the Gabriel Foundation was, and still is, to manage, raise and grow funds that ultimately benefit the CGGS community. To this day its pivotal role is to:

  • supplement ongoing development and improvement across the School;
  • enable an extensive program of scholarships and bursaries to provide a world-class education to those who would otherwise not have the opportunity; and
  • ensure the ongoing financial viability of CGGS, regardless of external or unforeseen pressures.

The foresight, commitment and expertise of this group of people would forever change the trajectory of CGGS by securing its long-term development. The creation of the Foundation has in turn strengthened the School community by advancing educational opportunities, furthering the tradition of philanthropy and being an exemplar in our culture of giving and service.

How was this achieved?

The Gabriel Foundation was originally established to be a Trustee of the funds first vested in it, and to manage those funds for the purposes of the School. It was incorporated as the Gabriel Foundation Limited in 1980.

In the early years of the Foundation, the financially savvy members ensured it focused on maximising income and capital growth to provide financial support for the School in both the short and long terms. Strategic investment via various portfolios resulted in the Foundation entering the 1990s with a very secure financial base.

During that time, the Foundation swiftly made substantial financial contributions to the School, namely, building the CCEGGS Chapel, equipping the language laboratories, the support of professional development of teachers, and the provision of funds for scholarships and bursaries, as well as contributions to the Gabriel Centre extension.

In the 1990s, the Foundation was firmly established and has since gone from strength to strength, proving vital to the future of the School.

The impact

Beyond the benefits of generating growth through investment, the Gabriel Foundation is also grateful for the generosity of past and present students and their families, as well as the many friends of CGGS who have been long term donors to the School. Because of the commitment of donors, bequests and the application of the Standard Family Contribution over many generations, the corpus of funds has increased and the Foundation has sustained its commitment to be of benefit to the wellbeing and learning of the students and staff of CGGS.

Through the Building Trust Fund, the Foundation has been able to build new facilities that have transformed the Junior and Senior School campuses, in keeping with the growing demands and expectations of the time.

In addition to building projects, the Foundation also funds the Gabriel Foundation Scholars’ Program annually. This substantial contribution is life-changing for many, enabling students to access a world-class CGGS education.

It also takes pride in gifting the annual Year 12 Graduation ceremony and dinner so that all Year 12 students, their parents and the staff can attend this spectacular event at no additional cost.

Additional funds are also given in times of urgent need, for example, to members of the community whose circumstances were adversely affected by COVID-19.

Across its time, the Foundation has contributed towards the provision of:

  • the Jubilee Sports Centre
  • the Early Learning Centre
  • the Junior School Hall
  • the Senior School Hall
  • the Junior School Library
  • the Senior School Science Wing
  • the refurbishment of the Boarding House dining room and kitchen
  • the Gabriel Centre Multimedia Theatre refurbishment
  • B Block refurbishment
  • the Administration Hub
  • new landscaping of the Boarding House grounds and surrounds
  • Equipment, staff professional development, educational programs


  • the Senior School Sports Field upgrade and facilities
“We set about doing it with a minimum amount of capital but we had a long-term future in mind, and the long-term future was to build up reserves for the School so that if any unexpected event happened we, the Gabriel Foundation, could still support it.
We saw the future of the Gabriel Foundation as essential to the insurance of the School in a trusting sense for the long-term. And indeed, it has proved that way…the tributes are due to the long-term vision of the people that set up the Gabriel Foundation in the first place. They had the long-term view that to accumulate capital, to do these things was beneficial to the School and indeed to the community at large.”

Bob Nattey
Gabriel Foundation Board Deputy Chair and former CGGS parent.

Mr Nattey’s reflection is that in reality, the School’s ongoing success is due to the extraordinary foresight, dedication and business acumen of the founding and subsequent Board Members of the Gabriel Foundation. By giving their time, professional expertise and strategic guidance, the School’s security and the opportunities it provides have immeasurably improved.

The Gabriel Foundation Board is led by Mrs Belinda Moss OAM. All members are volunteers who give generously of their time, experience and expertise to steward the Foundation.

As CGGS anticipates its 2026 Centenary celebrations, the entire School community pays tribute to such a far-reaching legacy that will echo across generations to come.

To make a donation

If you’d like to discuss other ways to support CGGS, such as making a bequest or endowing a scholarship or prize, please contact Director of Advancement on (02) 6202 6453 or email

Your gift will go to one of our tax deductible funds.

  • Gabriel Foundation Limited Building Trust
  • Gabriel Foundation Limited Library Trust
  • Gabriel Foundation Scholarship Fund
  • Gabriel Foundation Arts Trust (DGR status pending)

Thank you in advance for your generous support.