Monday , November 29 2021

Australian philanthropists are spending big and fast spending to tackle catastrophic climate change


When Jeff Wicks retired, he and his wife Julie reflected on life in Queensland. They wondered how much is enough.

They decided they had enough money to live on and wanted to give away the rest.


So Wick set up a private philanthropic foundation – about 1,600 in Australia.

“We probably have to give up every year what we need to live 10 times,” Jeff says.

Most foundations operate through a lump sum or “corpus” investment and the profits are used for grants.

But there are more and more Australian philanthropists, like the Wicks, laying the groundwork designed to run out of money.

They make no sense to continue to give beyond the next decade, as they will be instrumental in the fight against climate change.

It is called low cost.

Throwing everything at the climate problem

Sue McKinnon and her husband John run the philanthropic foundation, which will provide about $ 10 million over 10 years.

Sue McKinnon looks at a woman sitting next to her talking.
Sue McKinnon runs a philanthropic foundation with her husband with the goal of preventing catastrophic climate change.(Equipped)

Initially, the family foundation was to continue well into the future.

Sue says “the best legacy we can leave is to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

“I know Australia is a small place, but it’s a big player around the world in terms of fossil fuel, social licensing and the control and influence that many players here have,” he told RN to The Money.

“We decided we needed to throw more, we need the best brains in the room and the most money.”

The McKinnon Foundation fights climate change through the legal and financial sectors.

For example, they have been able to promote the work of lawyer David Barnden, who this month resolved a major case against the rest of the fund on information on the Climate Conference.

“It really helps to find other great people for this. Some of the amazing employees in these organizations are lawyers, financial experts, and so on,” says Sue.

In other cases, capital expansion could be a major stake or a seat in management.

Sue warns that the claim can be disappointing and difficult to measure, but that’s where the origins of her business come in.

“Our whole mind comes to this. Our skills, our education, our networks, and the energy and time we can put into it. That’s what we work on.”

‘Great goal, hairy, ambitious’

Norman Pater wants to spend $ 40 million over the next 10 years.

He has just returned from a trip to the wheat belt in Western Australia where he bought three farms, each of about 2,000 acres, which are being reforested within his carbon-growing foundation.

A man and a woman wearing caps and sunglasses are smiling at a selfie on a dirt field.
Norman Pater and his wife, Gita Sonnenberg.(Equipped)

“Our immediate goal is to replant biodiversity with at least one million acres,” says the former IT company.

“This is a big, hairy and ambitious goal we have set for ourselves.

In 2011 Norman attended a training weekend with former U.S. Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore.

That says, “it was really a great awakening for me.”

On a dry aerial plane, rows of trees have been planted in large parts of the landscape.
A new plant in western Australia is part of a project funded by the Carbon Western Farming Foundation.(Equipped)

Its new farms will develop, test and scale carbon crop models.

“Ultimately, we want to make carbon farming profitable, so that many other farmers can start in the same activity,” says Norman.

The row of planted trees extends far away.
The aim of the farms is to develop carbon crop models that can be increased.(Equipped)

Accredited farmers can now receive about $ 16 a tonne under the Australian Carbon Farming Initiative, but Norman says that’s not enough to encourage farmers to plant trees.

“We’re about $ 10 a ton from where we need to be south, on our land,” he says.

“What we’re trying to do is develop metrics and success factors that will provide the greatest chance of success in plantations.”

He says it’s a way to really change.

“The Carbon Farming Foundation aims to be completely real and tangible and sustainable, no matter what political bends may take in the future.”

Norman and Gina are bent over to plant the seed in the ground.
Norman and Gita planting WA wheat belt this winter.(Equipped)

Something worth more than money

And then Wicks.

Jeff began buying the property as cover, against his aviation route.

“Pilot problems, if you lose your license, you’re not easy to move on to another career,” he says.

With no children, Wick has created its own base for spending over the next decade.

“We think what we’re going to do in the next 10 years or maybe the next five years is going to be absolutely key to the end results. Let’s do it now,” Jeff says.

The ACME Foundation donates money to 25 or 30 different organizations. One of them is the think tank on climate change, Beyond Zero Emissions.

“They have recently come out with a Million Employment Plan to respond to the recovery of COVID-19,” Jeff says.

“It’s an ambitious plan and they’re getting a lot of traction with it, so it’s a pretty amazing plan to get them up and running and they’re trying to get government support, both state and federal.”

The factor of good feeling has linked Jeff and Julie.

‘It’s something we can’t do. This is the path to our whole lives, so we’re pretty committed and we’re very comfortable with it, ”says Jeff.

And he remains optimistic.

“The only reason for hope is that from millennials to younger generations they are no longer just channeling money,” he says.

“In fact, they often work less often than they earn to stay in touch with organizations that are proud to be proud.

“It will probably be a change for my generation, the baby boomer. Money is not so much an agent and that is very positive for our future.”

To find out how Australian philanthropists spend their funds on projects to combat climate change, listen to The Money Radio podcast on National Radio.

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