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How Australian mining magnate’s ‘undercover billionaire’ wife plans to give away up to $27 billion

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She’s Australia’s most generous philanthropist, but most Aussies would have no idea who she is.

Nicola Forrest has been married to iron ore tycoon Andrew Forrest for 30 years and reluctantly came into the limelight when the miners couple vowed to give away “the vast majority” of their fortunes during their lifetime.

Based on the value of their shares, especially in Fortescue Metals Group, their net worth is estimated at $27.25 billion, much of which comes from iron ore exports to China.

Mr Forrest built his fortune in mining by founding Anaconda Nickel Ltd, now known as Minara Resources, in 1994 before founding Fortescue in 2003 and mining iron ore in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Nicola Forrest Is Australia’s Most Generous Philanthropist, But Most Aussies Have No Idea Who She Is

It's a family joke that Ms. Forrest is known as

It’s a family joke that Ms. Forrest is known as “the undercover billionaire” (Nicola Forrest is pictured on the left with her daughter Grace, who heads a human rights organization that Nicola funds)

Nicola Forrest is pictured with her well-known billionaire husband Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest, whose risk-taking iron ore mines in WA's Pilbara region formed the basis of their $27.25 billion fortune

Nicola Forrest is pictured with her well-known billionaire husband Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, whose risk-taking iron ore mines in WA’s Pilbara region formed the basis of their $27.25 billion fortune

Where Forrest’s $27.25 Billion Is Going

  • Prioritizing education for children under five
  • Ending Modern Slavery
  • Improving Australian Fire and Flood Resistance by 2025
  • End the inequality between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians
  • Eliminate plastic waste in rivers and oceans
  • Collaboration in cancer research
  • Blooming Oceans
  • Building common partnerships
  • art and culture
  • Information about the real social effects of new technologies
  • Forest Research Foundation

Source: Mindaroo Foundation

It’s a family joke that Mrs. Forrest is known as “the undercover billionaire.”

The nickname is partly a reference to her infamous frugality and partly because she preferred to stay in the shadow of Andrew Forrest for decades.

‘The [undercover billionaire title] comes from the fact that she would encourage Dad, Sydney and me to eat a week-old expired yogurt because it would be wasted,” daughter Grace Forrest told the ABC.

‘The UCB does not like waste in any form.’

In fact, her mother’s hatred of garbage led Ms. Forrest to not use cling film and to wash and reuse plastic ziplock bags.

In April, Ms Forrest said she and Andrew would be giving away their fortunes because they don’t want their three children, Grace, Sophia and Sydney, to be “burdened” by alms.

“Children don’t benefit from thinking that they are going to inherit a huge amount of money.”

Grace Forrest was Western Australia’s 2018 Young Australian of the Year for her work at the charity Walk Free, which is funded by her parents’ wealth and aims to eradicate modern slavery.

Sophia Forrest is an actor who recently got engaged to her friend Zara Zoe.

She has starred in the DC movie Aquaman and the Australian miniseries Love Child.

Sophia Forrest is an actor who recently got engaged to her friend Zara Zoe

Sophia Forrest is an actor who recently got engaged to her friend Zara Zoe

Grace Forrest was Western Australia's 2018 Young Australian of the Year for her work in the charity Walk Free, funded by her parents' fortune

Grace Forrest was Western Australia’s 2018 Young Australian of the Year for her work in the charity Walk Free, funded by her parents’ fortune

Other Australians who have pledged to give away their fortunes include Canva founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, and Aristocrat’s slot king Len Ainsworth.

With Ms. Forrest at the helm of the Minderoo Foundation they established to deliver on their promise, they have already invested $2.6 billion in 11 projects.

It has made record-breaking donations of $400 million in 2017 and $655 million in 2019.

The organization has not been without its critics. Environmental activist groups have wondered how real their commitment is, especially on green issues, as the foundation is built on profits from mining.

But Minderoo has only just begun. It is believed to be gearing up to donate more than $1 billion each year.

In April, Ms Forrest said she and Andrew would be giving away their fortunes because they don't want their three children - Grace, Sophia and Sydney to be 'burdened' by alms

In April, Ms Forrest said she and Andrew would be giving away their fortunes because they don’t want their three children – Grace, Sophia and Sydney to be ‘burdened’ by alms

Pictured: Andrew and Nicola Forrest with their daughters Grace and Sophia

Pictured: Andrew and Nicola Forrest with their daughters Grace and Sophia

Some projects are as big as ending slavery, global warming and closing the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Other Minderoo projects are just as personal as improving early childhood education.

“I’m motivated by the experiences I’ve had with both raising and losing children,” Nicola Forrest told the National Press Club last February.

A focus on helping young children is Ms Forrest’s greatest passion, driven in part by the loss of her stillborn daughter Matilda in 1988.

An autopsy ordered by the family revealed that there was nothing wrong and that their daughter, although stillborn, was a “perfect, beautiful girl.”

She said the loss of Matilda “has torn our family apart.”

“Because of this experience, I contacted Professor John Newnham of the Women and Infant’s Research Foundation, joined their board and worked with them for many years.

“This relationship and the research I’ve been immersed in is the reason I’m here today and, indeed, why we founded the Minderoo Foundation 20 years ago.

“It opened my eyes to the amazingly simple fact. That from conception the first five years of life are crucial for human health and happiness.

“Protect those years, and you protect the future.”

Family Affair: Sophia shared an intimate clip of herself with Zara and her mining magnate, father Andrew (far right) and wife Nicola (far left)

Family Affair: Sophia shared an intimate clip of herself with Zara and her mining magnate, father Andrew (far right) and wife Nicola (far left)

Another spearhead of the foundation is to improve education for children under the age of five before they go to school.

“They may not be able to concentrate, follow instructions, express themselves or interact with each other or with adults. Or they’re unusually withdrawn or anxious,’ said Mrs. Forrest.

Those kids fall behind so quickly that by the time they reach their teens, they’re “completely disabled,” she said.

In 2019, Minderoo published a major report showing that the cost of Australia’s ‘late intervention’ with children lagging behind in their education is $15.2 billion a year.

“The cost of our inaction is in the government’s budget papers — $5.9 billion dollars for child protection, $2.7 billion for juvenile delinquency, $1.3 billion for mental health — and that was before COVID,” he said. they.

Another project of Minderoo Foundation is the elimination of childhood cancer.

Under the banner of working together against cancer, Minderoo also strives to ban cigarettes for anyone under the age of 21.

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