Australia is often called ‘the lucky country.’
As descendants of determined migrants, Paul and Sandra Salteri worked hard to build successful businesses. But they are aware that their wealth was built on stolen lands of First Nations' people. Lands that were never ceded.
Australia was ‘lucky country’ for the determined Salteri family, but not for Indigenous people, suffering the ongoing impacts of colonisation.
Fortune, and being fortunate was in part because 'all the systems worked in our benefit'. Paul and Sandra were raised to understand that with success comes a responsibility to give back, an understanding they wanted to pass on to their children.
In 2009, Paul and Sandra Salteri established CAGES Foundation, wanting to involve their children in their philanthropy, who decided the foundation should focus on making a positive difference in the lives of First Nations’ children.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to build a life in Australia, and are driven to give back in a way that creates lasting change.
Guided by our partners, we focus on the early years to support Indigenous children to grow up healthy, happy and safe.”
About our name
When Paul and Sandra Salteri established their foundation, they wanted a name that included their children and captured inter-generational philanthropy. CAGES is an acronym of their children’s names; Carla, Anthony and GEmma Salteri an represents two generations of expertise, experiences, ideas and interests.
CAGES Foundation is pushing itself and the philanthropy sector to think and operate differently, outside the norm, of western ways of working.
Paul and Sandra’s Story
Paul immigrated to Australia with his mother Renatta and his sister Mary when he was four-years old. They were following his father Carlo who had made the journey one year earlier when he was put in charge of the project awarded to Società Anonima Elettrificazione SpA (SAE) to deliver and install transmission power cables in Australia. After five years Carlo saw an opportunity to build his own business in his new home and started a business called Transfield with his business partner. Paul remembers starting school unable to speak English and being mercilessly teased for bringing salami sandwiches to school.
Paul joined Transfield in 1978 and became the joint managing director in 1986. He went on to build and lead a new defence business, Tenixi, which amongst many other successful projects delivered the ANZAC frigate project for the Australian government in the 1990’s. The Salteri family sold the Tenix business to BAE systems in 2008, and ultimately all other operating businesses, and now operates a private investment business.
Sandra’s family immigrated to Australia from England in 1949 after her father, Anthony Skipton, was advised to move to a warmer climate for health reasons. Her mother Gladys endured a 6-week boat trip with 9-month-old twins, arriving in Sydney where her husband met her and drove to Cattai Farm in Richmond, a very different world from cosmopolitan London. Together Anthony (known as Tone) and Gladys worked hard to build numerous successful businesses starting with a hamburger shop and becoming one of the area's most successful business people. Tone was well known in the community and is remembered as being generous and full of integrity. Tone and Glad were grateful to give their twin daughters a great life in their new country.
Skipton’s arcade is still a thriving hub in Penrith and Sandra still claims she makes the best hamburgers in Australia!
“We have had the privilege of providing gifts to organisations, communities and people who are able to make a real difference in community. We have evolved our funding principles to foster Aboriginal leadership, genuine partnerships and capacity building, which have become core to everything that we support.
Through these we hope to make worthwhile and effective funding decisions, which address real issues and create solutions, which will be owned and delivered by the community.”
Paul and Sandra Salteri
Co-founders CAGES Foundation