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$400m donation to make a difference in Australia and globally

One of Australia’s largest private philanthropic donations was today unveiled in Canberra by the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP.

A $400 million donation by Andrew and Nicola Forrest will go towards strengthening Australian communities and supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Australia and internationally. It is the largest ever donation by a living Australian.

In addition to the Prime Minister, attendees at today’s announcement at Parliament House included the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, and a range of stakeholders representing the various sectors that will benefit from the new funding. These included early childhood experts Professor Donna Cross and Professor Jack Shonkoff, Indigenous leader Ms Jacinta Price, UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater and international PhD scholars, cancer experts Professor Peter Leedman, Professor Grant McArthur and Dr Ron DePinho, actors Jack Thompson and Russell Crowe, singer Ms Marcia Hines and survivors of modern slavery.

Mr Forrest said he wanted to encourage more Australians to give – not just their money, but of their time, energy and other resources that can make a difference in addressing some of society’s most complex challenges.

“It can be easy to give with your heart, because there is so much need, particularly in vulnerable communities. The challenge is to give with your heart, mind and soul; to give cleverly so that maximum impact is achieved over the longer term, and to give wisely so that your own values are reflected,” Mr Forrest said.

“Nicola and I founded the Minderoo Foundation with the belief in the power of giving a hand up rather than a hand out. It is the only way that marginalised communities and vulnerable individuals can get ahead.”

Mr Forrest described Minderoo Foundation as a catalytic force; providing the risk capital to prove up new ways of working that governments should be brave enough to scale through policy. “At Minderoo, we are often the driving force in the starting phase of new initiatives. We start the hard conversations that need to be had around some of the world’s most critical problems, such as modern slavery and Indigenous disparity. Then we use our resources strategically to work with others to find solutions,” he said.

Mr Forrest said the presence of the Prime Minister signaled the commitment of the public and private sectors to work together in supporting initiatives to create healthier and more educated citizens, boost employment and facilitate thriving, robust communities.

The Minderoo Foundation sets stretch targets based on the vision of ensuring all people have sufficient opportunity to reach their full potential.

The new funding announced today will go towards the following areas:

  • Cancer. Working with the finest minds and institutions in Australia and internationally to make cancer non-lethal for the coming generation and eventually a disease that does not profoundly impact people’s lifestyles. Seed capital of $75m will initially be used to catalyse a global collaboration that will lead to specialization of research and the expedition of cures.
  • Education. Supporting higher education and breakthrough research, through the provision of PhD and post-doctoral scholarships and facilities throughout Australia ($75m).
  • Early childhood. Ensuring every Australian child has the best possible chance to thrive, through initiatives that will include the creation of a blueprint around the development of children in the critical years, from conception to five years old, that can become a global prototype ($75m).
  • Creating parity. Encouraging education, training and employment initiatives that help to remove obstacles in people’s lives and end disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. ($50m).
  • Modern slavery. Making Australia and the world safer by ensuring that every child and adult can expect, and receives, freedom, through the of elimination modern slavery globally ($75m).
  • Communities. Supporting arts, culture, environmental, community and small organisations that can make a big impact, particularly to the lives of underprivileged communities and individuals ($50m).

The funding will capitalise on and expand the work of the Minderoo Foundation and its partners, as well as fund new programs and initiatives in Australia and around the world.

The Minderoo Foundation was established by the Forrests in 2001 and has already supported more than 250 projects, in areas including education, health, research, Indigenous affairs, disaster response and the arts.

For further information: Tania Hudson | thudson@minderoo.com.au | +61 439 247 227