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Keeping Men Alive and Well


Thursday, 27th October 2016 at 9:29 am
Ellie Cooper, Journalist
John Hughes is chair the Movember Foundation. As the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, he says this represents huge challenges and opportunities for the board, especially in the lead up to November.


Thursday, 27th October 2016
at 9:29 am
Ellie Cooper, Journalist


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Keeping Men Alive and Well
Thursday, 27th October 2016 at 9:29 am

John Hughes is chair the Movember Foundation. As the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, he says this represents huge challenges and opportunities for the board, especially in the lead up to November.

Operating in 21 countries, the Movember Foundation aims to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25 per cent by 2030.

Movember it’s best known for it’s month-long campaign in November where men are encouraged to raise money and awareness for men’s health by giving up their trimmers and growing a mo.

But Hughes says their efforts to prevent some of the biggest health issues faced by men – prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental illness and suicide – is a year-round effort.

Hughes, who joined Macquarie in 1999 and has more than 35 years of investment banking experience, joined the Movember board in 2010 and has chaired the Finance and Audit Committee for three-and-a-half years.

In March 2014 he became chair of Movember’s global charitable foundations established in Australia, United Kingdom, USA and Canada.

Last year the foundation raised in excess of $135 million.

In this month’s Evolving Chair, Hughes talks about how to grow successful fundraising campaigns, the importance of collaboration, and the programs the foundation runs 12 months a year.

What are your board’s current priorities?

Not unlike all boards we deal with a broad range of issues. We have extensive discussions around strategic direction, current activities and program investments, portfolio outcomes. We firmly believe that the current state of men’s health isn’t acceptable. By 2030, the foundation’s vision is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25 per cent.

What are the challenges / advantages of running a seasonal campaign?

The Movember Foundation has been very successful in running seasonal campaigns, although undoubtedly they bring obvious challenges in planning, logistics and operations. It is important for all foundations to ensure they have a diversity of opportunities to ensure they do not become exposed external events at one particular time of the year. The foundation runs awareness and education programs year round to encourage men to become more aware of their health, to talk to the big stuff in life and to take action when health issues arise.

What is your board’s ultimate goal?

The board’s goal, of course is completely aligned with the foundation – making a significant difference to improving men’s health. Everything we consider is viewed in this context of this objective and how we can deliver better outcomes for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention. Ultimately, we want to stop men dying too young.

What has been the highlight of your work with this board?

There are lots of highlights of our work on the board. The growth in Movember and the global reach of our fundraising and health programs and key highlights. However, it is hard to go past so many of the heart moving stories we get from our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas of what has driven their involvement in our campaigns whether that’s growing great (or not so great!) Mo’s, creating Move events and just adding fantastic colour to the reason why we all do what we do. 

What are the key sector issues that are being discussed at board level?

Globally the sector has many challenges. Philanthropy does have borders and there are more and more charities, many of them active in the same broad space. The challenge for all charities is to show the value add and how you are making a difference to outcomes. I believe there needs to be greater clarity around charity operations and the flow through a funding to the end cause. Movember has continued to provide excellent transparency around our financials and the investments we make through our Global Men’s Health Partners and via our direct investment in awareness and education and research.

Does your board believe collaboration between organisations within your area is important? Why?

The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. From the outset we have partnered with men’s health partners globally to ensure broader and deeper reach than what we could ever achieve in the same time. The opportunity and the challenge is to ensure we all work collaboratively to continue our reach and to achieve our collective agreed goals. A key foundation of our research investment strategy across our three core areas is to ensure we bring together globally the best researchers and scientists available to collaboratively work together to achieve quicker and better outcomes than would be the case when you work in silos.


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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