Fortescue and The Minderoo Foundation

In the wake of the bushfires, the Minderoo Foundation set up the Minderoo Foundation Fire Fund, an initiative with $20 million committed to rebuild communities and revitalise local economies and a further $50 million to develop a long-term blueprint for wildlife and disaster resilience.

Fortescue donated $1 million to the fund and provided more than $760,000 in-kind assistance to support Minderoo help families recover from the bushfires. Minderoo visited 13 fire affected communities which informed Fortescue’s response plan.

Specialist Fortescue employees were seconded to the Minderoo Foundation to help install Minderoo Foundation Recovery Pods, a form of temporary accommodation. Within 307 days, they constructed and delivered 256 temporary housing pods, including 1017 beds, to 256 families.

In addition, Minderoo has launched its newest initiative: Fire and Flood Resilience. The blueprint to guard against future disasters includes new artificial intelligence techniques that rapidly detect to fires and floods, new management methods that protect the environment, water and land security, and programs to lift resilience within communities, including mental health initiatives.

Elizabeth Gaines, CEO, Fortescue Metals Group

It was heartbreaking to see the devastating impacts the bushfire crisis had on Australia people, communities and wildlife. I am proud of both Fortescue Metals Group and the Minderoo Foundation's commitment and cooperation during such a difficult time.

I formally endorse this application, as it was through an unprecedented collaboration between business and philanthropy, that we worked together, hand-in-hand to support a wide range of philanthropic initiatives which reflect our values of each organisation.

Through partnership and trust we have forged a long-standing enduring relationship.

Geoff and Margi Prideaux, Minderoo Recovery Pod recipients

Minderoo is noun. This year has been life changing. Life was stripped to its essence in a disaster so big it encompassed everything and everyone around us. We looked to governments and our desolation deepened when we found them wandering in aimless circles. We discovered the sharp truth—in these life-defining moments there are few places to lean upon. Despair creeps in. The choices you contemplate take you in drastically new directions, or towards a cliff face from which there is no return. It was into this emotional landscape that the Minderoo Foundation stepped, providing the dignity of shelter and safety, and the gift of remaining with our feet on our land and the time to breathe, look, and plan for the opportunities that might unfold.

The pods arrived like giant presents being unwrapped. These were not vacuous gifts of torn jeans, worn out socks, and dirty t-shirts. These were opportunities. The crews laughed and bantered, their eyes mirrored courage, not despair. This year Minderoo became a noun that means hope, time, and gratitude.

Kate Stanton, Minderoo Recovery Pod recipient

Just, yeah, amazing really that someone could care enough to do all that for us. Just brilliant.

Patrick Willis, Minderoo Recovery Pod recipient

This pod is life-changing. A small deal to you but a massive deal to us!

Minderoo bushfire recovery efforts rewarded

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 22 March 2021.

At the height of the black summer bushfires when much of Kangaroo Island was in flames, a handful of workers flew in with notepads and pencils in hand.

They weren’t firefighters, emergency services respondents or logistics experts, but a small group with access to a $70m fund established in the wake of the fires.

The Minderoo Foundation Fire Fund is an initiative of Andrew Forrest’s $2bn philanthropic organisation and “impact investor”, the Minderoo Foundation.

MF committed an initial $20m towards rebuilding communities ravaged by the fires and a further $50m to develop a blueprint for wildlife and disaster resilience.

Mr Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group also donated to the fund, first with $1.76m in funding and later supplying specialist employees to help deliver the rollout.

In a town-hall meeting on the evening the planning squad arrived, the idea for a temporary housing pod was sketched in a notepad. Within a month, Australian Portable Camps in Monarto, South Australia, had begun production.

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