Philanthropy Peak Supports Work of Twiggy Forrest
30 July 2015 at 11:29 am
Donor peak body Philanthropy Australia has thrown its support behind mining magnate and philanthropist Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest after an ABC Four Corners report on the falling value of his charities which are linked to the price of iron ore.
The ABC report said millions of dollars have been wiped off the value of charities associated with Andrew Forrest as their value plummets in tandem with the declining value of his iron ore company.
The report said the Minderoo Foundation, the umbrella body for Forrest's charities, has watched its wealth fall by around $50 million — representing around 50 per cent of its total investments — over the past 12 months.
“The charity was shackled to the fortunes of Forrest's iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group with some 40 per cent of the charity's investments in the form of shares in the company. As iron ore prices have slumped, Fortescue's share price has fallen from a high of $4.80 about 12 months ago to around $1.75 today,” the report said.
“Weighed down by the falling share, the charity's value has fallen from about $103 million 12 months ago to $53 million. About half the fall is a direct result of the declining value of Fortescue's shares.”
However Philanthropy Australia’s acting CEO, Chris Wootton, said right now Australia has a number of leading philanthropists who are changing the face of giving in Australia, and Andrew Forrest is one of them.
“Australia has a strong tradition of corporate Australia supporting the community sector – usually to assist those most vulnerable in our society,” Wootton said.
“Such philanthropic funds are derived from the personal and corporate wealth generated either as a dollar amount, or a percentage of profits – in good economic times and bad – regardless, those organisations that give a financial commitment to their philanthropic endeavours should be celebrated and supported for the good work that they do.
“Thanks to Andrew, and others like him, they encourage more of Australia’s wealthiest individuals and organisations to make a more positive contribution to our community.”
When asked about the falling iron ore costs and the impact on his charities, Forrest said, “We all wear belts. When we get a little fat we can let them out. When we go into some lean times we can tuck them in. We're not going out and buying a 300-foot yacht; we're just earning less dividends.”