The Uluru Foundation had its origins at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020, in which the Aboriginal communities of Uluru and Central Australia were isolated from the rest of the country by nothing less than an Act of Parliament. The extreme vulnerability of these communities and their traditional cultures became apparent to all.

Managed by the long-standing charitable corporation, Maruku (Anangu Uwankaraku Punu Aboriginal Corporation), the Uluru Foundation was established by its Board of local, Aboriginal representatives to improve the lives of First Nations people, to alleviate poverty and distress, and to share and protect Aboriginal culture.

Sammy Wilson – First Nations elder, chair of the Central Land Council, and former chair of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management – first proposed the creation of an Uluru Festival at the October 2019 celebrations of the Handback of Uluru to Aboriginal people. The creation of the Uluru Foundation followed from this, as a means to support an annual celebration and sharing of Aboriginal culture along with a range of programs to improve the lives and wellbeing of First Nations peoples at Uluru and beyond.