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$17 billion in planned donations by “Giving Pledge” signatories Andrew “Twiggy” and Nicola Forrest remain on track
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$17 billion in planned donations by “Giving Pledge” signatories Andrew “Twiggy” and Nicola Forrest remain on track

By the end of the decade, the Australia based Minderoo Foundation, founded in 2001 by Andrew and Nicola Forrest, will have amassed an endowment of about US$25.94 billion due to their continued donations of shares of Fortescue Limited.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the couple, who split up last year, plan to be keeping their 2013 Giving Pledge commitment.

Andrew Forrest’s current wealth is over $18 billion.

A gift in June 2023 of over 220 million Fortescue shares, or nearly 5% of their entire mining company holdings, increased Minderoo’s endowment from $1.69 billion to approximately $4.9 billion.

Today, the endowment total is roughly $6.49 billion, which is a result of growth in the Fortescue share price, dividend payments, and other contributions.

The foundation, which spent $146 million in 2023, was the highest-spending Australian foundation for the first time since the list’s inception in 2017, having topped the Financial Review Philanthropy 50 list this year.

About 100 positions, or nearly a third of the foundation’s workforce, were eliminated last week in a reorganization that CEO John Hartman said was intended to maximize funding to beneficiaries.

In light of this, Hartman has hinted that Minderoo’s yearly spending may more than double over the coming years.

The Forrests became the first Australians to sign the Giving Pledge and generously donated an unprecedented Australian $5 billion to the foundation [last June], which significantly increased Minderoo’s capacity to effect meaningful change, Hartman told the Australian Financial Review.

“On its own, such a substantial inflow of charitable funds does not ensure outcomes or influence. Over the past 23 years, we have positively impacted the lives of countless Australians and people worldwide, [and] we must continue to rigorously hold ourselves accountable.”

In 2013, Andrew and Nicola Forrest, his (recently separated) wife, were the first Australian billionaires to pledge the majority of their wealth to charity in their lifetimes.

He had earlier stepped down as CEO of Fortescue Metals in 2011.Much of Forrest’s philanthropy has been through either the Minderoo Foundation (focusing on education and Indigenous Australians) or the Walk Free Foundation (focusing on ending modern slavery), both of which he established.

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