It has been two decades since the late Humphrey Firkins DUniv established The Goda Foundation in loving memory of his wife, Goda.

In that time, the foundation has flourished, shifting its philanthropic focus from supporting local Gold Coast high school students to higher educational institutions, including Griffith University.

Griffith University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Sheena Reilly said the foundation’s support had been invaluable in helping to advance Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research, as well as education.

“The foundation’s very generous PhD scholarships help create pathways for research students to contribute to a body of work attempting to tackle some of the biggest health challenges facing our community,” she said.

“Thanks to their generosity, early career researchers have the opportunity to explore potential treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and many other debilitating illnesses.”

The foundation first connected with Griffith about 10 years ago and has maintained a close relationship with the University ever since.

Griffith Health’s Professor Allan Cripps AO worked closely with the foundation at the time and developed a close relationship with Humphrey Firkins.

“Humphrey’s desire to help others and his belief in the value of education was powerful. He was totally focused on giving young people the opportunity to meet their potential and make a full contribution to society,” Professor Cripps AO said.

Through the Foundation, the University developed educational programs for Queensland school students including Science on the GO! and the Science Experience. It also initiated the Goda Foundation PhD Scholarships–a program for higher degree research students researching Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, genomics, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

“Humphrey’s vision was to develop a body of knowledge in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research that could be used to understand the disease and develop interventions to treat and cure patients. He would have been over the moon if he had lived to see a cure,” Professor Cripps AO said.

Working under the ethos that ‘education transform lives,’ the foundation has carried on the legacy of its founder, expanding its network of giving under the leadership of Peter Firkins, one of Humphrey and Goda’s three sons.

Mr Firkins explained the Foundation’s focus on medical research, particularly in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, was driven by his mother’s illness from Alzheimer’s disease.

“During Goda’s illness it was very apparent there was a vast amount of research needed to improve knowledge, not only in treatment but also prevention,” he said.

“The Foundation hopes research funding will contribute to the improvement of outcomes for people who suffer terribly from the effects of Alzheimer’s and related diseases. Without support there is no advancement.”