Aussie Billionaire’s Mega Bequest
5 May 2014 at 10:33 am
The bequest by Australian businessman and philanthropist Paul Ramsay of an estimated $3 billion to his charitable foundation is hugely exciting for the Not for Profit sector and Australia generally, according to Philanthropy Australia.
The peak body believes the billionaire’s bequest is the biggest single donation of its kind in the country’s history.
Philanthropy Australia CEO Louise Walsh said while there were currently three foundations in Australia with more than $300 million under management and donating about $15 million a year to charities, the Paul Ramsay bequest was a serious US-style mega donation.
“Speculation is that the Ramsay Foundation could be distributing up to $50 million a year to Australian organisations,” Walsh said.
Paul Ramsay, who was a private-hospital operator, died aged 78 in his home in Bowral in NSW on May 1 after suffering a reported heart attack in Spain. It has been estimated by Forbes that Ramsay was worth $3.4 billion describing him as the 11th-richest Australian. He never married and had no children. He is survived by two siblings a brother and sister.
A statement by his company Ramsay Health said that given the size of Ramsay’s holding in Ramsay Health Care, the Board wished to advise the market that it had been notified by the Executors that Mr Ramsay’s Will provided that the bulk of his estate, would be of enduring benefit to the Australian community through the already established Paul Ramsay Foundation.
“The Foundation will receive the benefit of the vast majority of his controlling shareholding in Ramsay Health Care Limited, which will largely be retained on trust for the Foundation,” the statement said.
“This Foundation is administered and controlled by Mr Michael Siddle, Mr Peter Evans and Mr Tony Clark AM, whom have had a long term association with Mr Ramsay and are also directors of Ramsay Health Care Limited.”
It’s been suggested that Not for Profits could know as early as next week which organisations might be the beneficiaries of the Ramsay bequest.
Louise Walsh said that while Paul Ramsay was renowned for his generosity he generally remained under the radar, but it would be fair to expect that the beneficiaries would be organisations where he has had a pre-existing relationship.
According to Wikipedia Ramsay was Chairman of Ramsay Youth Services, a charity for young people. He sat on the Board of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation. In 2002, he became an Officer of the Order of Australia for his philanthropy and in June of the same year, he was on the Queen's Birthday Honours List. He is also known for supporting his old school, Sydney's St Ignatius College, Riverview.
In 2011, he made waves in the media when he unexpectedly donated $AU300,000 to the Kevin Spacey Foundation.