14/10/2013 - 17:31

Unis win from Forrests’ largesse

14/10/2013 - 17:31

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Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has further enhanced his credentials as one of the nation’s leading philanthropists with a pledge of $65 million to Western Australia’s universities.

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola have pledged $65 million to Western Australia’s universities.

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has further enhanced his credentials as one of the nation’s leading philanthropists with a pledge of $65 million to Western Australia’s universities.

The donation is understood to be Australia’s largest single philanthropic donation and adds to the $270 million in contributions Mr Forrest and his wife, Nicola, have made to various organisations in recent times.

Of the universities donation, $50 million will be dedicated to funding scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships across all five WA universities.

The remaining $15 million will go directly to Mr Forrest’s former university – The University of Western Australia – to build accommodation for promising researchers.

The facility, to be called Forrest Hall, will be affiliated with St George’s College, one of five residential colleges at UWA.

The latest pledge comes on the heels of Mr Forrest’s restructuring of his charity interests.

The former Australian Children’s Trust – founded by Mr and Mrs Forrest in 2001 – was this month replaced by the Minderoo Foundation, which operates under the auspices of the Minderoo Group.

The group has contributed $270 million to organisations such as the Walk Free Foundation and GenerationOne.

Earlier this year, the Forrests became the first Australians to join the Giving Pledge, a movement founded by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and business magnate Warren Buffet that commits billionaires to donating the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Mr Forrest’s shareholding in Fortescue Metals Group is currently valued at just more than $5 billion.

The funding is a significant first step in UWA’s $400 million fundraising campaign, which is designed to attract funding for scholarships, research chairs, an indigenous cultures museum, and new engineering infrastructure.

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