Why Foxglove?

We are often asked, "Why the name Foxglove?" 

A foxglove is a plant.  It's hardy and resilient. And as it grows, it shades and protects other plants in the garden. Not only that, it's a self-sowing plant. It represents the idea of sustainability. Independence. Self-determination.

And finally, one more unique quality. It contains an element that can be used medicinally to treat heart disease. It deals with the heart. The core of life. Now that is the story of the name, the whole story.

So when you see 'Foxglove Project' read: hardy, resilient, protective, sustainable and focused on the heart.


Meet the Foxglove team

The Foxglove Team sets the direction for Foxglove, ensures it meets governance standards, and coordinates and encourages our ever-expanding volunteers and partners in  Australia and across the world.

Kelley Chisholm
Founder | Executive DirectorResponsible For: vision & strategy, partnerships, development expertise
Bridget Hadfield
Administrator | Fundraising & MarketingResponsible For: policy & process development, coordinating fundraising initiatives, liaison with volunteers and reporting
Colin Jorgensen
Foxglove Board ChairmanResponsible For: governance compliance, board membership & reporting

How is Foxglove unique?

Foxglove has been founded with 5 objectives in mind:

1. Our focus is international:

85% of the Australian charity dollar goes to Australian-based initiatives. Foxglove applauds charities supporting Australian projects but sees its role in the Third World where needs are significant and a small amount of funds make a remarkable difference.

2. We keep our Australian expenses very lean.

We spend a maximum of 13 cents of every dollar in Australia: Foxglove will spend 87% of its funds overseas on local grassroots initiatives. In addition, the overseas organisation will commit to spend a maximum 10 cents in every dollar on management and monitoring.

3. We only partner with Indigenous organisations:

Foxglove only partners with indigenous in-country organisations that have the capacity to develop and implement effective local projects. This priority supports the long term sustainability of skills and structures implemented through development projects.


4. We focus on women and girls:

Women in the developing world spend 80 cents of every dollar they earn on family and community. It is estimated that a woman leaving poverty will take between 5-9 others with her. By focusing on women and girls, Foxglove has learned that everyone benefits: men and boys, villages and districts. This happens by building micro economies as well as local capacities.

5. We take a sustainable approach to development:

Projects reliant on ongoing financial support inevitably move towards dependence and disempowerment. Foxglove will only support projects that are committed to outcomes of independence and self-sufficiency.

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Foxglove Commitment:

Foxglove commits to spending 87% of all donations on project costs. Good governance, administration and promotion costs are essential – but they will never overwhelm the funds reaching the ground.

Foxglove is more than a fundraiser. It is a partner, cheerleader and believer in the capacity of women around the world. It is committed to changing the story around women in the Third World through fundraising, education and resourcing so that they may ‘write’ their own stories.

History of Foxglove

The early days: Focus Cambodia 2009 - 2014 

After working with many different charities in Cambodia and being awarded Rotary’s highest international accolade for development work, Lesley Hewett registered Focus Cambodia in 2009. Focus Cambodia prioritised working with indigenous organisations to support education and family services for children and families living in poverty. Focus funded the building of three schools: the first a school for children living on the Stung Meanchey landfill, the second in a rural slum in Takeo Province and a third in a remote location in Kompot, one of the country’s poorest provinces. It also provided unique services including the Granny Project providing basic amenities for isolated seniors without support of family due to the genocide and the HIV epidemic.

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Foxglove Project 2015 to present

The world of international development has struggled under the weight of good intentions and the demand for instant results. Many projects create a dependency on the West for funds and support, and Focus Cambodia was equally unsure about an alternative model. But while travelling in Rwanda in 2009, I came across a Self Help Program working with rural women. It was achieving extraordinary results based on personal and entrepreneurial training for the poorest women to create start-up businesses that would provide for their own families. It was revolutionary in its approach, resisting both direct funding and the tyranny of immediate results. It was so compelling, that the Foxglove Executive Director completed a 3-year research masters looking into this approach and its capacity to apply and scale in other Developing World countries.


As a result of these learnings, Focus Cambodia Inc. was renamed the Foxglove Project Inc in 2015. This change represented the shift towards sustainable development projects focused on building the capacity of women to provide for their own families and communities. It also coincided with the expansion of countries beyond Cambodia into East Africa and the Sub Continent.

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Women’s Self Help Groups

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Birds Nest India

Slum Homes for Pavement Dwellers

Before the women can access vocational training, take out small loans and start businesses they are required by Government... READ MORE

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Focus Cambodia

Secondary School Sanitation Project

Poor sanitation in Cambodia is commonplace, up to 80% of people living in rural Cambodia have no access to toilets... READ MORE

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