Andrew Forrest has made his billions in mining resources from Australia’s fertile lands, but the Rich Lister also believes in the power of giving back.
From sending anonymous cheques to dozens of drought-plagued farmers in Western Australia, as reported by The Australian, to investing in higher education and the arts, the mining magnate has been more than willing to share his $5.86 billion fortune.
Here’s four of Forrest’s most generous charitable donations.
1. $65 million to universities in Western Australia
Late last year Forrest made one of the largest philanthropic donations in Australian history, contributing $65 million to higher education in his home state.
The money was given in order to establish a $50 million scholarship fund for Western Australia’s five universities and build a new residential college at the University of Western Australia. At the time, Forrest said he hoped the money would encourage some of the world’s best and brightest to study in WA.
“I expect this to be one of the best, if not the best, investments we ever make,” he told the ABC. “I’d like to see the University of Western Australia and the other four or five universities in Western Australia really excel through having some of the greatest minds in the world attached to it.”
2. Establishing the Australian Children’s Trust
In 2001 Forrest and his wife, Nicola, founded the Australian Children’s Trust. The charity aims to assist underprivileged children with the motto “helping people help themselves”.
Nicola Forrest manages the Australian Children’s Trust and the couple have given more than $90 million over the past 13 years to the charity.
3. Taking part in the Giving Pledge campaign
Forrest and Nicola were the first Australians to join Bill and Melinda Gates’ The Giving Pledge campaign.
Founded in 2010, the campaign encourages billionaires around the world to give at least half of their wealth to charity. Based on Forrests’ wealth this year, this means the couple will give away almost $3 billion.
You can read the couple’s statement about joining the Giving Pledge campaign here.
4. Giving millions to the arts in WA
Forrest has publicly stated it is better for wealthy individuals to donate to the arts instead of governments or companies because the money will be better spent.
He and his wife have contributed millions of dollars to the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s future fund, and also donated money to the WA Symphony Orchestra, WA Opera and Black Swan State Theatre Centre.