Andrew and Nicola Forrest make extraordinary gift to Minderoo Foundation

Fri, 30 Jun 2023

In an exceptional act of philanthropy, Andrew and Nicola Forrest have committed an additional A$5 billion to their philanthropic foundation Minderoo, through a donation of 220 million Fortescue shares – one fifth of their shareholding.

This donation will be the biggest in Australia’s history by far and takes the Minderoo Foundation’s endowment to about A$7.6 billion – the largest of Australia’s foundations and trusts.

The gift follows on from the Forrests’ 2013 pledge to donate at least half of their wealth – the Forrests were the first Australians to sign the global Giving Pledge established by Bill and Melinda Gates. 

CEO of Philanthropy Australia, Jack Heath said that this latest donation is remarkable.

“Andrew and Nicola Forrest have made a truly outstanding gift. It is a transformative gift for our times and the future. They serve as an inspiration to many others, especially those who hold significant wealth,” Jack said.

Also this week, the Minderoo Foundation has launched its 2030 strategy, refining its focus areas to communities, gender and equality, and oceans.

“The Forrests and their teams are to be further commended for Minderoo Foundation’s new 2030 strategy. It is an exciting time for philanthropy,” Jack said.

In announcing their gift, Dr Andrew Forrest AO commented:

“As our world faces enormous challenges, we have elected to continue to use our material wealth to help humanity and the environment meet these existential risks,” he said.

“Accumulating wealth should only be a small part of a person. Their contribution to their family and society is way more important. Other skills such as carpentry, farming, the arts, working in construction or for government are equally as important. If you happen to be good at accumulating wealth, then I believe in using that skill for the greater good.

“This is why we will continue to donate our wealth to causes where we can make a sustainable difference.”

Nicola Forrest AO said the latest donation will directly result in real change for Minderoo’s beneficiaries.

“These are tough times for many Australians, and of course for many people right around the world. I believe we all need to do what we can with what we have, so I am pleased that the transfer of these shares will escalate our efforts to help those who need it most,” Mrs Forrest said.

“From the outset and over the past 22 years, we have remained focused on supporting families to ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential – as children are our future.

“This donation is a further expression of our unwavering passion to help and in conjunction with our new strategy, will see Minderoo provide more significant support in a focused manner, empower our partners to deliver change and ignite collective and purposeful action, including for vulnerable communities, our oceans and gender equality.”

Main image L-R Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Nicola Forrest AO and Minderoo Foundation CEO John Hartman