Daniel Petre AO

Founder and Chair

Daniel Petre AO is a former Microsoft executive who worked closely with Bill Gates before moving on to start multiple VC funds including co-founding Australia’s largest fund, AirTree Ventures.

With a long-standing interest in personal philanthropy, Daniel and his wife Carolyn moved 35% of their total assets into their PAF, The Petre Foundation, in 1993. Outside of donating tens of millions of dollars to alleviate suffering and create opportunities, Daniel has also funded research into giving approaches and been a vocal champion for philanthropy in Australia.

In 2021, Daniel took a step back from AirTree to focus the third act of his career on philanthropy. Driven by wanting to help others create impact and change the culture around giving, he built the StartGiving team, personally funding it in full.

Our Founder Daniel Petre
Antonia Ruffell, CEO of Start Giving

Antonia Ruffell


With over two decades of experience in philanthropy, Antonia is one of Australia’s leading experts on charitable giving and ancillary funds.

Antonia was formerly CEO of Australian Philanthropic Services, during which time she supported hundreds of people with their giving.

Antonia serves on the board of The Social Outfit, a social enterprise and ethical fashion company that supports refugees, and is a director of several private ancillary funds.



Bill Gates


Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As co-chair, he shapes and approves foundation strategies, advocates for the foundation’s issues, and sets the organization’s overall direction. He works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.

Bill co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on his foundation’s work. Through his private office, Gates Ventures, he pursues his work in climate change and clean energy innovation, Alzheimer’s research and other healthcare issues, interdisciplinary education, and technology. He is also the founder of Breakthrough Energy, which works to address climate change by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, big thinkers, and clean technologies.

In 2010, Bill, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will.

Bill Gates. Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Peter Singer
Photo by Alletta Vaandering

Peter Singer AC


Peter Singer is a world-renowned philosopher and bioethicist whose writings have been foundational to both the effective altruism movement and the modern animal rights movement. Singer has authored and edited more than 50 books, including his seminal works on effective giving, The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty (2009, 2019) and The Most Good You Can Do (2015), and his writings have appeared in more than 25 languages.

In 2013, Singer founded the nonprofit The Life You Can Save to help spread his ideas about effective giving and generate more support for effective charities. He has delivered a TED talk on the subject. The Life You Can Save’s website offers a curated list of highly effective charities, provides free tools and resources to help people give more effectively and processes millions of dollars for effective charities annually at no charge to donors or charities.

In 2021, Singer was awarded the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture in recognition of his “widely influential and intellectually rigorous work in reinvigorating utilitarianism as part of academic philosophy and as a force for change in the world.” In accordance with his ethical views, Singer donated the entire US$1 million prize to effective organizations working to assist people in extreme poverty and to reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms.

Singer was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1946, and educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. Singer currently teaches at Princeton University, where he is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values. When he’s not writing or conducting research, Singer enjoys hiking, surfing, and spending time with his wife Renata, three daughters and four grandchildren.