Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest donates $65 million to universities

Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, Chairman Fortescue Metals Group | Creative Commons image by Mines and Money

Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest – also known as Twiggy – has decided to give away A$65 million (about US$61 million) of his $3.7 billion fortune to university education.

In what is believed to be Australia’s largest philanthropic donation ever, Forrest is using the millions to fund scholarships, post-doctoral fellowships, a new indigenous cultures museum and a $15 million living space for researchers – to be named Forrest Hall.

The funds will go to universities in his home state of Western Australia.

Twiggy’s gift coincides with the launch of the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) $400 million fundraising campaign.

Forrest graduated from UWA in 1983 with a BA in economics and is now the Chairman of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group.

“Let us all never forget that only education can be the final key to eliminate poverty in the world and raise the universal standard of living, ultimately to increase the nobility of the human cause,” Forrest said, as noted in a news release on the University website.

Forrest is no stranger to philanthropic donations. He and his wife are the first Australians to have joined Bill Gates’ ‘Giving Peldge’ – a commitment by billionaires to donate the majority of their wealth to charity.

On Forbes’ most recent list of the world’s billionaires, Forrest ranked fourth in Australia and 211th wordwide.

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