The origins of Stronger Brains date back to 2009, when Gary Pemberton, a successful businessman, philanthropist and former director of Australia’s oldest charity, The Benevolent Society, read a book called “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. Gary wondered if neuroplasticity-based techniques might help disadvantaged children who commonly had learning difficulties.
Through his family foundation, The Margaret Pemberton Foundation, he and his wife, Margaret, funded The Benevolent Society to scour the world and bring back all the evidence-based neuroplasticity tools for evaluation in a research trial with disadvantaged children. This trial, called Shaping Brains, showed that neuroplasticity-based brain training tools worked and remarkably, they worked best with the children needing them most.
At this point, the Margaret Pemberton Foundation handed over their successful findings to The Benevolent Society but it was not considered core business so Wendy Haigh, an executive director who had seen the transformations of these children, gained approval to spin off the program into a new company.
Wendy co-founded Stronger Brains in 2016 with Dr Michael Merzenich, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists who had heard about the work with disadvantaged children and wanted to help. Wendy and Michael continue to grow Stronger Brains to reach and empower more children and young people to build better lives in Australia and around the world.