WA mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and wife Nicola have made the largest living donation by any philanthropist in Australian history, announcing a contribution of $655 million to their Minderoo Foundation, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The donation brings the couple’s total givings to the charity to $1.5 billion, and will go towards causes such as stopping plastic entering the oceans, eliminating modern slavery, fighting cancer, and – closer to home – helping with early childhood development in regional WA.
Asked what motivates them to donate so much of their earnings to charitable causes, Ms Forrest said she believed as country people, it was “part of their DNA” to help where they could.
“We both grew up in the country, and we both grew up where communities pulled together when there was any hardship,” she said.
“So I think that sort of becomes part of your DNA, we always help others.”
Ms Forrest said the pair made a decision ten years ago to start being more public with their philanthropy, to encourage others to do the same, but the couple have been donating to causes close to their hearts for more than twenty years.
Mr Forrest, 57, was ranked the seventh richest person in Australia in 2019, with an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion.
He is part of a group of billionaires who have pledged to give away their wealth while alive, with Mr Forrest saying there is no point in anyone being “the richest person in the graveyard”.
“[More than 30 years ago], I asked Andrew, what do you want in life?,” Ms Forrest said.
“He said at the time, ‘I want to make $50 million and I want to give two-thirds of it away’ … that’s pretty amazing.”
As country people, it’s in our DNA’: Forrests reveal what motivates them to donate billions (Sydney Morning Herald)