Launching a major new philanthropy organisation and honouring the remarkable legacy of Brian M Davis, the founder of Decor.

Learn more about this project


The founder and owner of Décor, Brian M. Davis was one of Australia’s truly great entrepreneurs. Upon his passing, he left the majority of his substantial wealth for distribution via philanthropy to the support of young, disadvantaged people. The Brian M. Davis Charitable Foundation was formed, with great potential and ambition.


Although Brian M. Davis was a lifelong donor to worthy causes, establishing a charitable foundation raised important questions not only about governance, but direction, strategy, and how to honour his incredible legacy.

With significant financial capital to be invested and distributed, the potential to have a positive impact on Australian lives at scale, is huge. So to, is the responsibility that comes with managing and distributing grants.

Working with the executive director, board members and his close friends, Ellis Jones was commissioned by the new team to help distil the passion, intellect and interests of the Brian M. Davis, and channel it into direction setting for the organisation through a strategic approach, brand expression and narrative, and visual identity.

In parallel, our strategy and insights team tested a prototype framework for giving ‘domains’ through research with past grant recipients and representatives of leading charitable and research organisations focused on young people.

There research goals were:

  • Understand acute needs of young people and the gaps in addressing those needs.
  • Narrow the focus to specific audience groups.
  • Find innovative opportunities and partnerships to achieve foundation goals.
  • Establish differentiation in the philanthropic space.

Research led to ecosystem mapping and a theory of change which placed the foundation where its impact can be felt most, while embodying core values.



Throughout his life Brian M. Davis was exacting at work, innovative and entrepreneurial in commercialising his ideas, and generous – engaging in a range of philanthropic activity for which he sought no recognition, only results.

While drawing on these attributes, the project required us to build a distinct identity for a new organisation that needed to establish itself in the philanthropic ‘space’, attract the right partners, and influence systems and policy (to achieve the ultimate goal of transformational change). That journey was carefully navigated, and informed by people who knew him well.

The outcome is a strategic approach to grant-making and partner engagement that will evolve as the foundation grows its activity in its foundational years.

The mission is ‘lasting, transformational change for disadvantaged children and young people’. The domains are:

  • Supporting disadvantaged children and young people by breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
  • Empowering children and young people through quality education and pathways to employment; and,
  • Transformative medical research

The foundation has a powerful identity that – from the brandmark and photography evoking the Décor legacy, to treated imagery and digital experience that signal the impact that is coming – is as thoughtful and exacting in presence and execution as Brian M. Davis would have expected.

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Photograph of Brian M Davis founder of Decor
Image of brian m davis charitable foundation brand and website case study