Achievements

About Us

At the Heart Foundation, we believe in a future free from heart disease. Right now, almost 13 million Australian adults have three or more risk factors for heart disease. Our work is purpose driven, focused on stopping Australia’s number one killer: heart disease, taking 51 lives every day.

To achieve this, we fund the highest-impact heart research and work to improve heart disease prevention, care and support for all Australians.

Too many families lose a loved one to heart disease, but we are making progress. While heart disease is still the leading cause of death, the rate of deaths has decreased by 86% since their peak in 1968.

We are there for the 620,000 Australians 2 living with heart disease today, and we are working to prevent and manage heart disease for future generations.

Message from our President & Group CEO

The Heart Foundation is dedicated to preventing heart disease and improving the heart health and quality of life of all Australians.

This year was one of transformation and transition for the Heart Foundation as we changed our governance arrangements enabling us to operate as a single, unified national organisation. It was also a year of progress as we commenced our One Heart 2018 - 2020 Strategy and continued our fight for Australian hearts.

Our One Heart strategy committed the organisation to a bold plan for achieving an Australia free of heart disease. The strategy sets out our priorities over the next three years. Every day heart disease takes the lives of 51 Australians, making it our single biggest killer. This statistic and its impact drive everything that we do.

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Our Strategy

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Strategic Pillar 1: Prevention

We aim to reduce the prevalence and impact of heart disease. We do this by increasing Australians’ awareness of the risk factors for heart disease, supporting them to adopt heart-healthy lifestyles, and advocating to government and industry.

Walking

Heart Foundation Walking is part of our goal to encourage and support walking and physical activity to build the heart health of Australians. Regular walking is one of the best ways for Australians to reduce their risk of heart disease. Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by 30% to 40%.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest free walking network and has been helping people to start and keep walking for more than 23 years. It is supported by the Australian Government and Queensland Government and works with stakeholders, including pharmacies, councils, general practices, retirement villages and shopping centres, who host walking groups in their community.

Heart Foundation Walking groups offer a fun and social way for people to be active and are made up of over 40,000 members. In 2018 they were supported by more than 2,000 volunteers, participated in over five million walks, and completed over 20 billion steps.

This year we also launched a new Heart Foundation Walking App to encourage more Australians to walk for their heart health.

Prime Minister’s One Million Steps

Thanks to the Australian Government in March 2018 we launched the Prime Minister’s One Million Steps campaign, which encouraged Australians to walk more often and increase their daily step count. Participants signed up to walk one million steps in 20 weeks (around 7,100 steps each day).

Highlights of the campaign included:

  • over the campaign, participants walked a total of 10 billion steps
  • 22,300 walkers participated

Healthy Active by Design

We know that where you live has as much impact on your health as how you live. The Healthy Active by Design initiative focuses on implementing changes to the built environment that make it easier for people to be more active and to improve their heart health. The program helps planners, designers and local governments to build healthier and more active communities.

Active Australia Innovation Challenge

In 2018 the Active Australia Innovation Challenge was launched to encourage Australians to get involved in raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity in building heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease. The Heart Foundation and Department of Health invited schools, tertiary institutions, organisations, councils and community groups to develop and submit innovative ideas to encourage physical activity in their community.

The winners received a grant of $10,000 to help turn their project into a reality. Eight grants were awarded to projects, from a virtual-reality headset encouraging aged-care residents to be more active, to tandem bicycles to allow people with vision loss to enjoy cycling, to a study into high-intensity interval training at work.

Healthy eating for healthy hearts

Heart healthy eating patterns are based on a combination of foods chosen regularly over time.

This year we continued to deliver resources and support to help Australians make informed, heart-healthy food choices, guided by our Healthy Eating Principles.

To help Australians enjoy a heart-healthy diet, we published 140 delicious recipes online and advocated for food reformulation to improve the healthiness of discretionary foods, with a focus on menu labelling and reducing the levels of sodium, saturated fat and added sugar in these foods.

Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the second highest cause of death for Australian women, taking 22 lives each day.6 Nearly three times more women die from heart disease than breast cancer.2

Delivering an integrated women and heart disease campaign is a key priority under our One Heart Strategy. In 2018 we expanded our New South Wales-based Women and Heart Disease program into a national initiative.

The program informs women about their risk and the positive steps they can take to prevent and manage heart disease, ensuring women most at-risk of heart disease, including women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and rural and remote communities, have access to the information and support they need.

A key achievement in 2018 was the creation of online resources for health professionals focused on increased heart disease risks faced by women who experienced complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.

Australian Heart Maps

We believe every Australian should be able to live a full and healthy life, no matter where they live or their cultural background. However, we know that some areas and communities across Australia face significant inequities in the prevalence of heart disease risk factors.

In 2016 we launched the Australian Heart Maps an online platform that displays data on hospital admissions for heart events, deaths from coronary heart disease and risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. The Heart Maps display data at regional, local government and state levels, capturing and illustrating inequities in some areas and communities.

This is a powerful tool for local health service providers and planners to understand the needs of their region, and to support resource planning and delivery. The Heart Maps are also useful for advocating to government to ensure heart health services address local needs.

This year, we updated the Heart Maps with new data that highlights heart disease disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians.

Reducing harm from tobacco

We know that smoking tobacco increases the risk of heart disease. We continued to advocate for additional tobacco controls that will lead to a tobacco free Australia.

In 2018 new tobacco control legislation was passed New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

At the local level, more councils have implemented bans on smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in their central business districts, protecting the health of their communities and reinforcing health messages about the dangers of smoking.

Strategic Pillar 2: Support & Care

The Heart Foundation is there for the 620,000 Australians living with heart disease today.4 Our work focuses on delivering support and care for people living with heart disease, and to their family members and carers.

A key element of our support and care work focuses on people and communities most in need, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians; people living in rural, regional and remote communities; culturally and linguistically diverse Australians; and people living in socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest free walking network and has been helping people to start and keep walking for more than 23 years. It is supported by the Australian Government and Queensland Government and works with stakeholders, including pharmacies, councils, general practices, retirement villages and shopping centres, who host walking groups in their community.

We deliver support to people who:

  • have had a heart attack or unstable angina
  • have heart surgery
  • have heart failure
  • have an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), specifically atrial fibrillation
  • have valvular heart disease
  • have other forms of heart disease

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Our Health Professional Ambassador Program provides education and training to health professionals working in cardiovascular health. This free program provides evidence-based education, ensuring that practitioners are equipped to support people with heart disease across early detection and better ongoing management. This year all state-based programs merged into a national program.

In 2018 more than 130 health professionals completed our Health Professionals Ambassador Program.

Heart Foundation Helpline

2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the Heart Foundation Helpline. Our Helpline provides free, personalised heart health information and support to people living with heart disease or seeking information to help reduce their heart disease risk.

Our Helpline is available to all Australians for the cost of a local call and qualified health professionals answer each call. In 2018 we extended this service to the community on Norfolk Island.

Lighthouse Hospital Project

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease as compared to non-indigenous Australians.10

We wish to make a difference to the heart health of all Australians and are committed to closing the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians caused by heart disease.

The Lighthouse Hospital Project, funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Heart Foundation, aims to provide hospital-based care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that is culturally safe and appropriate.

In 2018 we built on a strong platform of governance, skills, knowledge and awareness to drive systemic and sustainable changed. During 2018 the project was expanded to 18 hospitals and remains funded by the Australian Government.

Strategic Pillar 3: Research

We are the nation’s largest non-government funder of heart health research and have invested close to $600 million (in today’s dollars) over the last six decades towards advancements in knowledge and understanding and improving care and treatment for people with heart disease.

In 2018 we invested over $14 million into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and related disorders, marking the first year of our three-year commitment to invest $50 million into life-saving heart health research.

We believe evidence-based prevention and treatment is the most effective way to help all Australians to have better heart health.

This year we received a total of 348 applications for research funding. We are pleased to have funded 84 projects across 41 Fellowships, 7 Scholarships and 36 Grants.

We also recognised the best and brightest heart health researchers through these awards:

Ross Hohnen Award for Research Excellence Vanguard Grants

This award is named in memory of Ross Hohnen AM OBE, who was instrumental in establishing the Heart Foundation. This award recognises the most outstanding and innovative Vanguard Grant application. The recipient receives an additional $10,000 on top of the Grant.

  • Clinical Professor Graham Hillis, University of Western Australia (Western Australia)- A pilot study of aspirin combined with warfarin in patients with left sided mechanical heart valve.

Heart Foundation Paul Korner Innovation Award

This award recognises the most innovative successful Future Leader Fellowship and Postdoctoral Fellowship applications. The recipients receive an additional $20,000 on top of the Fellowship.

Future Leader Fellowships

  • Dr Connie Wong, Monash University (Victoria)- Novel strategies to improve stroke outcomes.

  • Associate Professor Yuerui Lu, Australian National University (Australian Capital Territory) - Next-generation High-throughput 3D Microscopy for Cardiovascular Imaging.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Ms Dorothea Dumuid, University of South Australia (South Australia)- Optimisation of daily activity behaviours to inform interventions for cardiovascular health.

  • Dr James McFadyen, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute (Victoria) - Developing new treatments to improve outcomes after a heart attack.

Stroke Prevention Grant

Thanks to a generous bequest of $5 million, we were able to offer significant funding to two researchers working on innovative, internationally significant projects that showcase Australia as a leader in stroke prevention.

This year the grant provided funding to two projects:

• Prevention of strokes in older Australians: Led by Professor Sophia Zoungas from Monash University, this research explores the effectiveness of statins (medications often prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels) in preventing fatal and non-fatal stroke in people older than 70 years of age.

• Testing vaccines to prevent Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) related stroke: Led by Professor Michael Good from Griffith University, this research looks at the production of, and human testing of, newly developed vaccines to prevent streptococcal infection; one that prevents skin infection and one that prevents tonsillitis. These infections are linked to the development of RHD, a condition where heart valves can become stretched or scarred due to inflammation. This damage means that blood can flow backward through stretched valves that do not close properly, or blood flow becomes blocked due to scarred valves not opening properly. Heart surgery may be required to repair this damage. People living with RHD can experience stroke after blood clots develop on damaged heart valves. These blood clots can break off and lead to a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain, which causes stroke.

In Australia RHD predominantly impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. If these vaccines are successful, they present an opportunity to reduce the incidence of RHD.

Heart Foundation Researcher Alumni – At the very heart of research

Through our Alumni we support new opportunities for researchers to connect and learn from each other’s experiences.

This year the alumni program launched the Share Your Research Success program to capture and share stories of researchers whose work has been proudly supported and funded by the Heart Foundation over the past 50 years.

Strategic Pillar 4: Strengthening our Organisation

Every donation to the Heart Foundation makes a vital contribution to our fight against Australia’s biggest killer: heart disease. Generous Australians provide 80% of our funding and this allows us to fund world-leading research and to deliver innovative programs that help raise awareness of heart disease. Our fundraising also enables us to offer support to those people living with or affected by heart disease.

Our revenue raising activities align to our purpose, values and ethics. Our goal is for a diversified and growing revenue base enabling us to deliver our mission and priorities.

Gifts in Wills/ Bequests

Gifts in Wills (also known as Bequests) are a legacy donation, a way for people to be remembered, and make a significant difference to future generations. Gifts in Wills, in particular residual gifts (percentage of estate), provide us with a major source of income. In 2018 we inspired 475 people to include or consider including a bequest in their will. This year we gratefully received more than $29 million from Gifts in Wills (this is an increase of $6 million as compared to 2017).

Face to Face Fundraising

Our Individual Giving strategy develops relationships with new donors and encourages them to regularly support our work. Regular giving helps provide long-term sustainability of funding, giving us the ability to plan for future programs and initiatives. We are committed to transparency by demonstrating the positive impacts that come from individual donations, via regular communications with donors. Engaging with potential donors in public spaces, such as regional shopping centres, is also an important part of building community recognition of the Heart Foundation; our face to face fundraisers are a key part of this work.

MyMarathon

2018 was the second year of our MyMarathon community fundraising initiative, held in October. MyMarathon encourages participants of all fitness levels to run, walk, or jog the distance of a marathon This 42.2 kilometre journey can be completed over four hours, four days or four weeks. a MyMarathon highlight in 2018 was the launch of company teams. Forty companies form across Australia joined and around 1,000 of their employees participated.

This year MyMarathon saw the number of registrations increase by 55% and the amount raised increase by 59%, as compared to 2017. A key MyMarathon highlight in 2018 was the launch of company teams: 40. Companies from across Australia joined and around 1,000 of their employees participated.

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart is our iconic skipping and fundraising program, run in primary schools. It encourages kids to have a positive attitude towards exercise, healthy eating and heart health while raising vital funds to fight heart disease.

This year Jump Rope for Heart celebrated its 35th birthday. In this anniversary year, over 300,000 children at 1,200 schools across Australia skipped, and raised almost $3 million for the Heart Foundation. We wish to thank all children, their schools and their school communities who continue to support Jump Rope for Heart.

Major Gifts

Major Gifts have the power to transform the heart health of all Australians. Supporting the Heart Foundation through making such a significant investment helps to ensure we can deliver on our mission of preventing heart disease and improving Australians’ heart health.

Strategic Pillar 5: Our People

Our people are at the heart of delivering all that we do. The Heart Foundation team, made up of staff and volunteers, are guided by our values, and together we are fighting for all Australian hearts. Our priority is to build a high-performance culture to ensure we attract and retain great people. We invest in the development and training of our people and recognise and reward success.

Our values are underpinned by our employee value proposition of Purpose, Passion, People. These three words were identified by our people as the keys to why they work and stay at the Heart Foundation.

The Heart Foundation is dedicated to preventing heart disease and improving the heart health and quality of life of all Australians.

This year was one of transformation and transition for the Heart Foundation as we changed our governance arrangements enabling us to operate as a single, unified national organisation. It was also a year of progress as we commenced our One Heart 2018 - 2020 Strategy and continued our fight for Australian hearts.


Our One Heart strategy committed the organisation to a bold plan for achieving an Australia free of heart disease. The strategy sets out our priorities over the next three years. Every day heart disease takes the lives of 51 Australians, making it our single biggest killer. This statistic and its impact drive everything that we do.


Our focus on research and awareness campaigns aims to reduce the number of deaths as a result of heart disease. We also focus on supporting the 620,000 Australians who live with the pain and discomfort of heart disease.


We began the year with a commitment to invest a record $50 million over three years towards the highest impact heart health research. We also made a substantial investment into research that showcases Australia as a global leader in stroke prevention. The Stroke Prevention Grant was made possible by a generous $5 million bequest, enabling the largest single grants offered by the Heart Foundation. We continue to be able to make these investments thanks to the generosity of everyday Australians.


In 2018 we said farewell to our National President, Dr Jennifer Johns AM, after nine years on the Board and four as chairperson. We also said goodbye to several long-serving directors. We thank them for their dedication and service to our organisation. We also welcomed Mr Chris Leptos AM as our new Heart Foundation President. Across Australia, our leadership teams, staff and volunteers have worked towards delivering on our One Heart strategy with dedication, purpose and ambition. We thank them for their commitment and efforts in making a contribution to delivering on our vision.


Mr Chris Leptos AM
President

Adj Professor John G Kelly AM
Group CEO

Financials and Corporate Governance

Financials

The Heart Foundation reports a deficit of $822,000 in 2018. The result was significantly impacted by the requirement to recognise a negative adjustment of $7,654,000 at 31 December relating to a decline in ‘fair value of investments’ based on the negative movement in the share market in the last quarter of 2018.

Corporate Governance

In 2018 the National Heart Foundation of Australia (Heart Foundation) changed its governance structure to enable it to operate as a single unified organisation and to focus more effectively on delivering our One Heart 2018 – 2020 Strategy.

The governance changes will ensure that the Heart Foundation can continue to operate in a transparent, open manner to ensure that it retains its place as a trusted and authoritative voice on heart health.

In May 2018 we welcomed Mr Chris Leptos AM as our new Heart Foundation Board President.

Thank You

We are grateful to like minded people, organisations and businesses who share our vision of an Australia free of heart disease; we thank them for their support.


Everything we do is made possible by the generosity of our supporters. The support we receive from our donors, fundraisers, volunteers, corporate partners, as well as government and non-government partners, allows us to deliver on our vision and mission.


We also recognise the incredible effort and dedication of healthcare professionals, including surgeons, specialists, general practitioners, nurses, Aboriginal healthcare workers and others, whose work to save Australian hearts impacts on us all.

Downloads


2018 Annual Review

2018 Financial Statements

NATIONAL HEART FOUNDATION OF AUSTRALIA ABN 98 008 419 761