Andrew Forrest, Clive Berghofer, James Packer, and Audette Exel are the four Australians that appear on the most recent list of ‘48 Heroes of Philanthropy’ by Forbes Asia.
Fifty-one-year-old Australian executive and international finance lawyer Exel is one of only nine women to make the 48 Heroes List, joining Hong Kong legislator Nellie Fong, Japanese fashionista Kikka Hanazawa, and 23-year-old South Korean Olympic figure skater Kim Yuna.
Exel is a founder of the ISIS Group and CEO of its Australian company, ISIS (Asia Pacific) Pty Limited (ISIS AP). She is also the co-founder and chair of the ISIS Foundation, whose objective is to improve the lives of children and communities in remote areas in Nepal and Uganda.
The ISIS Group describes itself as an early example of a ‘business for purpose’; partnering with a nonprofit foundation and reaching more than 30,000 impoverished people in the areas of health, education, and community development. According to Forbes, the firm – which advises on corporate acquisitions and raises money for fund managers – has donated more than $7 million to the foundation.
“Aid is not charity,” Exel wrote in an article for Women’s Agenda earlier this year. “It is not just a nice thing to do. It is imperative for our economy, for the stability of our world and perhaps most importantly, for our own humanity.”
Before establishing ISIS, Exel was managing director of the Bermuda Commercial Bank, one of the youngest women in the world to have run a publicly-traded bank. During 1995 and 1996, she was also chairman of the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
Accolades on Exel’s shelf include a 1995 ‘Global Leader for Tomorrow’ gong from The World Economic Forum; an Economic Justice and Community Impact Award from the Young Presidents Organisation Social Enterprise Networks in 2010; a 2012 Telstra NSW Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award; and a 2012 NSW Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award.
Exel was also one of The Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence in Australia in 2012.
Only true philanthropists recognised
The Forbes Heroes list includes philanthropists from China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. According to Forbes Asia, the list recognises “only true philanthropists – people who are giving their own money, not their company’s (unless they own most of the company), because donating shareholder funds isn’t exactly charity.”
The list also specifies that it does not rank the biggest givers, but those “whose generosity is leaving a huge mark.” That said, the Australian contingent does read like a list of our largest individual gifts of 2013-2014 and of all time:
Clive Berghofer is recognised for his August 2013 gift of $50.1 million to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (now Berghofer Medical Research Institute) as well as his many years of community giving.
Andrew Forrest’s October 2013 $65 million gift to Western Australian education merits his inclusion, in addition to his launch of the cross-denominational anti-slavery Global Freedom Network, and commitment with wife Nicola to The Giving Pledge.
Crown Resorts’ James Packer is noted for his November 2013 $60 million gift to a ‘Sydney Arts Fund’, which the list notes will dedicate half of its distributions to “Sydney’s poor, western suburbs.”
Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit
The Forbes Heroes of Philanthropy list is released on the heels of the June 17 Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit, held at the New York Public Library.
With the goal of creating entrepreneurial solutions for education issues, particularly supporting America’s K-12 public schools and increasing access for girls in the developing world, the exclusive summit, supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Green Mountain GP Limited, and Alzheimer’s Association, brought together almost 200 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and billionaires.
Guests included Warren Buffett, Chuck Feeney, Paul Tudor Jones, Michael Milken, Malala Yousafzai, Stephen Schwarzman, Laurene Powell Jobs, Arne Duncan, Peter G. Peterson, Leon Black, Jim Breyer, Governor Andrew Cuomo, J.B. Pritzker, Jeff Skoll, Sal Khan, Spanx Founder Sara Blakely, and Denis O’Brien.
Outcomes and a program review of the third annual summit can be seen here.