Andrew Forrest (Australia)
Minderoo Foundation

Andrew Forrest is one of the most socially impacting philanthropists, and effective business leaders, of his generation. Proof that determination and hard work really do pay off.

After founding the Minderoo Foundation in 2001 and the Fortescue Metals Group in April 2003, Andrew led Fortescue from a minnow to become one Australia’s largest companies. The businesses he has started each rank in the world top five for the production of iron ore, nickel and cobalt, materials that are fundamental to the world’s growth economies.

In order to focus on philanthropy, in 2011 Andrew stepped down as CEO of Fortescue to become Chairman. Andrew and his wife, Nicola, became the first Australasian signatories to the Giving Pledge and now devote the vast majority of their time and fortune to create sustainable improvement in the lives of the world’s most underprivileged. This is achieved through major campaigns such as GenerationOne: ending Indigenous disparity in Australia and internationally, the Walk Free Foundation: eliminating modern day slavery in all forms, everywhere.

Andrew is also active in national and international public policy. He was appointed to Chair the Review on Indigenous Employment and Training, on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia, with the specific aim of ending Indigenous disparity in Australia through employment. Mr Forrest is also Chair of the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

In 2012 Andrew founded and co‐chairs the Australian‐China Senior Business Leaders Forum. It comprises 12 of the top business leaders from both nations to strengthen and enforce over the long term one of the most critical bilateral relationships in the region.

He is also a Councillor of the Global Citizen Commission reporting to the United Nations General Assembly in 2016. The Commission is charged with the reformation the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that has led world understanding of basic rights since 1948.

Closer to home, Andrew grew up on a remote Australian cattle station, Minderoo, before graduating from university and building a career in investment banking, mining and agriculture. He has been awarded the Australian Centenary Medal, the Australia Sports Medal, Australian Social Entrepreneur of the Year, West Australia Citizen of the Year, and a number of peak industry bodies Lifetime Achievement awards, The Australian “Australian of the Year” award in regards to Indigenous Australian advantage. Yet he maintains the toughest and most rewarding job he’s done is raising kids.

Gender-wise Philanthropy Award 2020 recipients

Funder: Brian and Virginia McNamee Foundation

For-purpose: Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)

Award partner: Australian Women Donors Network

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