Home » Minderoo: Big jobs cuts at Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s philanthropic foundation

Minderoo: Big jobs cuts at Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s philanthropic foundation

Minderoo spending increased to $268 million in 2022-23, up from $178 million in the previous year. The tax-exempt charity booked $35.2 million in wages and employee expenses, up from $25.4 million.

“We have a responsibility to meet the ambition and generosity of our founders (Andrew and Nicola Forrest) and match it with meaningful change in Australia, the Asia Pacific region and around the world,” Mr Hartman said in statement.

“Under my leadership, Minderoo Foundation is undergoing a transformation to ensure we create maximum and lasting impact for our beneficiaries, with a higher portion of our corpus directed towards impact.

“I am committed to increasing Minderoo Foundation’s emphasis on working with our partners – getting more resources out to organisations so they can accelerate the positive difference they make in people’s lives.”

It is understood the job cuts were signed off by the Minderoo board composed of Andrew Forrest, Nicola Forrest, their daughter, Grace Forrest, businessman Andrew Liveris, lawyer Allan Myers and indigenous leader Barry McGuire.

Andrew and Nicola Forrest acknowledged last June that Minderoo may have taken on too many causes in too many jurisdictions, The charity put more emphasis on work in Australia and the region confined to largely three causes: helping vulnerable communities; gender and equality; and protecting oceans.

The Forrests tipped in 220 million Fortescue shares, worth about $5 billion at the time, to make Minderoo one of the biggest philanthropic efforts in the world.

The Australian Financial Review revealed last July that the Forrests had separated after 31 years of marriage, but remained aligned on the future direction of Fortescue, Minderoo and Tattarang.

Minderoo’s total endowment now stands at about $10 billion based on the rally in the Fortescue share price, dividends and other investments.

Modern slavery in solar

Minderoo is expected to step up its funding of climate change and environmental protection initiatives that to-date has focused on oceans and a war on plastic. This is on top of its work assisting communities and a vision “to create a society that values all people and natural ecosystems”.

Speaking last week after she accepted the Roosevelt Foundation’s Four Freedoms award for her anti-slavery advocacy, 30-year-old Grace Forrest spoke out on the use of forced and child labour in the race to decarbonise the global economy.

Minderoo-funded Walk Free has highlighted allegations of modern slavery in China’s production of solar panels and in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Hartman said in February that Minderoo wanted to remain nimble so it could respond to events like the Gaza conflict (it donated $10 million in humanitarian aid) while working on its long-term mission.

“We want to make sure that we’re bringing partners together, and backing partners and empowering our partners to deliver real change,” he said.

It is understood the jobs cuts will be across the board at Minderoo, with the leadership team deciding it is better to fund organisations close to beneficiaries rather than trying to do some of the work in-house.

Minderoo made its biggest ever grant last year, pledging $US100 million over nine years to the Gender Fund of US-registered public charity, Co-Impact.