Mining magnate's million-dollar Red Shield challenge
12 April 2013
Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest and his wife, Nicola, pledged an exceptional $1 million donation to the Red Shield Appeal at its official launch in Sydney on Thursday, 11 April.
The catch, however, was that for the pledge to be honoured, the business community represented among the more than 750 guests at the launch had to collectively match the Forrests' generosity.
The response was swift with NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, Pru Goward, announcing a $200,000 contribution from the NSW Government. That amount was matched by Sydney Red Shield Appeal chairman Roger Massy-Greene on behalf of his family.
By the time all the pledges from the launch had been tallied, it was clear the challenge had been met. The Forrests, who have become well known for their philanthropy, then honoured their million-dollar pledge, bringing the total raised on the day to over $2 million.
"The Salvation Army plays such a critical role in our communities," said Mr Forrest.
"I feel very privileged to be here with my wife Nicola to launch this year's Red Shield Appeal – an appeal which I encourage all Australians to get behind. Whether you give $1 or $100,000, both are to be applauded."
The appeal launch had a deliberate focus on the fight against human trafficking. In thanking the Forrests for their generosity, Australia Eastern Territorial Commander, Commissioner James Condon, announced a new partnership between Walk Free and The Salvation Army.
Walk Free is a philanthropic initiative of the Forrests that describes itself as "a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world's greatest evils: modern slavery".
Continuing the theme, Janice, a victim of human trafficking, then told her harrowing story of slavery and how, with the help of The Salvation Army, she was able to escape her desperate situation.
The event was compered by former Australian rugby captain Nick Farr-Jones and featured a live peformance by Stan Walker of his new single, ‘Take It Easy’, the theme song for this year's Red Shield Appeal.
The Army has set a national target of $79 million for the appeal. In the Australia Eastern Territory the goal is $40.2 million, with the doorknock to be held over the weekend of 25-26 May.
To give to the Red Shield Appeal, please call 13 SALVOS, visit salvos.org.au, donate at any Westpac branch, or post your cheque to PO Box 9888 in your capital city.