The four Picchi Brothers, Vittorio, Antonio, Pietro, Arduino and their father, Amerigo, migrated to Australia in the 1920’s and 1930’s from the village of Lucignana, near Lucca in Tuscany. They brought with them a gracious artisan culture. And, like so many of our Italian migrants, they worked hard and were successful.
As well as various other occupations, all the brothers worked as artisans in the firm of Mei & Picchi in Collingwood, Melbourne producing mannequins for the retail clothing market. The firm of Mei & Picchi continues today.
The Picchi Brothers Foundation was established in 1993 by Pietro and Antonio Picchi. Antonio Picchi passed away in 1994, and left a substantial bequest to the Foundation to establish its work.
This initial funding also represented part of the assets Pietro and Antonio had inherited from their older brother, Vittorio, a non-smoker, who died from lung cancer.
Pietro Picchi was the last of the brothers to pass away in 1998.
The Foundation is set up as an incorporated association under Victorian law and enjoys a tax-free income status whilst donors to the Foundation enjoy tax deductibility for their donations. The Constitution of the Foundation provides that the Board must comprise two nominees of the University of Melbourne Medical Faculty, a solicitor and an accountant nominated by Hawthorn legal firm Lukaitis Lawyers, and a family nominee of the Picchi family. Other committee members can be elected or co-opted by the Board.
There are, of course, many organisations devoted to cancer and asthma research in Australia but a special feature of the Picchi Brothers Foundation is that the Board of Management is honorary. The Board has the objective of only using Foundation income and not Foundation capital for its grants.
The Foundation has now reached a stage where it has supported research with grants and donations of over a million dollars supporting both asthma and cancer.
The Foundation looks at funding traditional research and also wishes to develop some lateral thinking so as to approach these important medical problems in other ways in the quest to improve the health of us all.
Italian by birth, Australian by life