Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest Monday made the biggest single philanthropic donation in Australian history, giving away Aus$400 million (US$298 million) to a variety of social and scientific causes.
The Australian founder and chairman of iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group said he and his wife Nicola were making the donation as an act “of love”.
“We’re doing it because it’s very timely in all of the fields which we’re donating to,” the 55-year-old said at a ceremony in Canberra hosted by Hollywood star Russell Crowe.
Some Aus$75 million has been earmarked towards fighting cancer, with the rest aimed at initiatives including tackling modern slavery, improving education and creating better equality of opportunities.
“This is the biggest single philanthropic gift in our history,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“It is a game-changer in the Australian philanthropic community. And it will change the lives of thousands of people here in and around the world.”
Turnbull added that he hoped it would inspire others “to show their love by helping those who we can support and we can advance through that commitment of love for mankind”.
Philanthropy in Australia has gathered steam in recent years, with gambling mogul James Packer in 2014 setting up a foundation to give away Aus$200 million.
But it still pales in comparison to the much stronger philanthropic culture in the United States, spearheaded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge movement.
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