Olympian & Philanthropist Ron Clarke Dies
17 June 2015 at 1:07 pm
Australian Olympic running great and philanthropist, Ron Clarke, has died at the age of 78.
Clarke who was also a former Gold Coast Mayor in Queensland and retired from public life in 2012, passed away in hospital after a short illness.
In 2001 the long distance Olympic champion established a philanthropic trust fund (PuAF) known as the Centre for the Encouragement of Philanthropy in Australia, or CEPA Trust, which raised more than $25 million dollars for dozens of Australian charities.
Clarke said at the time he hoped the CEPA Trust would be seen as setting a milestone in the history of philanthropy in Australia. But, according to the Australian charity regulator (ACNC) website the CEPA Trust had its charitable status revoked in May 2015 for not providing its Annual Information Statement (AIS) from 2013 onwards.
In 2001 Clarke told Pro Bono Australia News that his own philanthropic bent came after he was asked to use his “sportsman” profile to help raise funds for disability groups including vision-impairment groups when his own father went blind.
In the CEPA Trusts inaugural funding round, nine charities received a total of $2.13 million including organisations such as Jesuit Social Services ($530,000), Australian Rainforest Conservation Society ($350,000) Irabina Autistic Children’s Centre ($731,000) and Kids Under Cover ($100,000).
Clarke said at the time that he had been frustrated by the amount of money highly profitable companies were not making available to Australian charities.
Clarke who was regarded as a newcomer to philanthropy said however he had been quietly working for two years with one of the world’s largest private charitable funds based in the US, Atlantic Philanthropies and its founder and Australian benefactor, Chuck Feeney.
Clarke said CEPA was a completely separate organisation, and quite unique to the Australian scene – although it was initially reliant upon Atlantic Philanthropies to meet the operating expenses for money raised in Australia.
In 2001 and 2002, Atlantic Philanthropies reported donating $3,878,352 for seed funding and general funding to the CEPA Trust.
However, Clarke is reported to have fallen out with Chuck Feeney over a development project in Queensland.
Clarke, who who lit the cauldron at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, won a silver medal in the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in the three mile event, a bronze medal in the 10,000-metre event at the 1964 Olympics and two silver medals at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in the three mile and six mile races and set 17 world records during his career.