Donor partner profile: Wilson Asset Management

Insights: 7 April 2020

Wilson Asset Management (WAM) partnered with FRRR for the first time in September 2019, after seeing the extent of the impact of the prolonged drought and bushfires on rural, regional and remote communities. WAM agreed to match donations from their network, up to $500,000 – resulting in more than $1M being donated to FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund. CEO Kate Thorley shared what motivated the business to donate, and how the partnership evolved.
What was it that drew you to partnering with FRRR?
The reality of the devastation gripping rural and regional Australia became very real to us after we travelled through Queensland at the beginning of our nationwide Shareholder Presentations in November. The sunburnt grass and smoky haze presented a painful image of the suffering that so many Australians were enduring.
Why are you personally passionate about supporting rural, regional and remote communities?
When we saw and heard how our shareholders and their communities were affected by bushfires and drought, including in my hometown of Toowoomba, we wanted to make a real difference. Many of our more than 80,000 shareholders live and work in areas affected by these natural disasters or worry for their family members and friends.
What prompted you to do a matched scheme?
We know that recovering from the devastating bushfires and drought will be a long and difficult road for the families and communities that have been affected. We hoped to make a small difference by supporting our fellow Australians and knew that our shareholders and supporters would want to contribute too.
What is Wilson Asset Management’s corporate mission and vision, and how did working with FRRR fit into your delivery?
At Wilson Asset Management, we are passionate about making a difference for our shareholders, our community and our team and perhaps one of the most rewarding areas of our business is what we are able to give. Working with FRRR was an impactful way for us to show our support and make a small difference to Australians during this time.
What drew you to investing in the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund? Why is investing in building Disaster Resilience amongst rural, regional and remote communities so important?
We knew that the donation to the FRRR Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund would reach communities that are most in need and provide long-term support to those who have lost so much. Rural, regional and remote communities are crucial to our country’s culture and economy, and we need to ensure disaster resilience over the long-term.
What was the response to your matching scheme and what was the outcome?
Our shareholders’ stories of natural disasters resonated deeply with our team and we received overwhelming support for the appeal. Thanks to the generosity of our shareholders and supporters, and our partnership with FRRR, we raised $1 million for Australians affected by the devastating bushfires and drought. While we are shocked at the unprecedented destruction facing Australia, we were also amazed at the number of Australians who have come together and offered support.
Finally, do you have any advice to other organisations / individuals when choosing a not-for-profit to partner with?
These partnerships are an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of Australians. It is important that not-for-profits can articulate their purpose and have measurable outcomes that make significant impact.