With an eye toward the future, in 2000 Dr Helen McCue AM, philanthropist, academic and human rights activist decided to investigate the possibility of a local community foundation in the Wingecarribee Shire of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Recognising that there was no facility in the Southern Highlands for locally focused philanthropy, this was a decision that would impact on the community for years to come.

Dr McCue gathered a group of likeminded people to form a committee who with the support of a grant from the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal conducted a study to test the feasibility of the establishment of a community foundation in the Wingecarribee Shire. The Wingecarribee Community Foundation was subsequently established in 2002 and in the years that have followed the Foundation has developed a broad focus which funds and supports health and aged services, arts and culture, Aboriginal health and culture, youth services and a variety of other identified needs.

Since 2002 the Foundation has dispensed over $500,000 in grants and scholarships for the Southern Highlands community. The Wingecarribee Community Foundation was renamed the Southern Highlands Foundation (SHF) in 2009.