Mining magnate Andrew Forrest set a new benchmark for philanthropic donations yesterday when he announced he and his wife, Nicola, would be giving $400 million to various charities.
At the Canberra announcement on Monday, Forrest urged all Australian to “give what you can, if it isn’t money, then time is just as valuable.”
The $400m donation will be used to fund a variety of social and scientific causes, including cancer research and the eradication of slavery.
Mr Forrest made the donation announcement at a function attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Hollywood star Russell Crowe.
“Nicola and I have been very fortunate to build up a couple of businesses from scratch… we decided that if we ever got to the point where we could afford to, we would put that wealth to the highest social use,” Mr Forrest told Fairfax.
“It can be easy to give with your heart, because there is so much need, particularly in vulnerable communities,” Mr Forrest said.
“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, the founder of mining company Fortescue Metals, is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of more than $5.5 billion.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was “the biggest single philanthropic gift” in Australia’s history, and the largest donation by living Australians.
“It is a game-changer in the Australian philanthropic community. And it will change the lives of thousands of people here in Australia and around the world,” Mr Turnbull said.
“But all of us should seek to do as much as we can with what we have. So, this is real leadership and leading by example.”
While the $400m donation is the largest single donation by a living Australian, there have been bigger donations from deceased estates.
Private health magnate, the late Paul Ramsay, bequeathed some $3 billion to the Ramsay Foundation to address health, education and disadvantage.
What do you think? Does Mr Forrest’s donation encourage you to try and give more to charitable causes? Should Australia’s richest citizens follow suit and start donating a greater proportion of their wealth?
Read more at The Guardian