Pinnacle Charitable Foundation

Pinnacle is passionate about enabling better lives through investment excellence. This belief is reflected through Pinnacle’s strong commitment – together with its affiliated fund managers – towards partnering with the Pinnacle Charitable Foundation (Foundation) to drive positive, long term social change. Through building the capacity of excellent Australian charities, the Foundation is helping to deliver tangible impact within communities across five causes – identified as critically important by Affiliates, employees, shareholders and client groups. 

History and Vision

Established by Pinnacle’s antecedent companies in 1987, including Wilson HTM, Wilson & Co and the Wilson family, the Foundation operates as an independent public ancillary fund (PuAF) registered with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) and with DGR Type 2 status. 

With a vision to help build a compassionate, creative and clever Australia, the Foundation and its forerunners have for thirty years maintained a commitment to actively grow the capacity and sustainability of inspiring Australian Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations.

Partnership Philosophy

In every partnership the Foundation’s aim is to facilitate the delivery of solutions which can be analysed and assessed, strengthened and scaled.

As an early stage backer which frequently offers seed funding to encourage trials and incubate new projects, the Foundation has often been able to invest in the future of young, passionate charities as they seek to have a growing impact within their communities. Many partners have leveraged this initial support, securing further funding from private and public donors to successfully build their long term capacity to drive change.

Partner Support and Selection 

In all cases the Foundation provides annual funding of between $20,000 and $100,000 for specific projects and programs, which are approved via a formal application and assessment process. The goal is to build multi year engagements which foster strong and close relationships, and support the ability of selected NFP partners to address often complex social issues.

Affiliates collaborate with the Foundation to donate directly to partners  which align with the interests of Affiliates’ employees, clients, investors and business strategies. During the 2019 financial year donations totaling $305,000 were made by the Foundation, increased by a further $110,000 from Affiliates. These funds have supported the ongoing efforts of charity partners working across Australia to address five broad causes. 

Core Focus Areas

Currently the Foundation’s designated areas of focus are the following:

— promotion of strong mental health awareness, together with support for prevention. Early intervention strategies aimed at reducing mental illness and driving down suicide rates;

— support for children from a range of environments who face acute and or systemic disadvantage;

— legal assistance and advocacy for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence;

— development of access to corporate supply chains and procurement initiatives for remote and Indigenous communities; and

— capacity building for world-leading medical researchers seeking treatments and cures for children’s genetic diseases and for Alzheimer’s sufferers

Pinnacle’s Backing  

With the financial backing of Pinnacle and access to extensive pro bono services across investment management, portfolio reporting, finance, marketing and IT, the Foundation operates with low overheads and high impact.

Its investment strategy aims to provide reasonable capital protection whilst driving growth over the longer term, with investments held in a range of suitable products offered across Affiliates. These include funds offering franking credits, monthly income streams, global exposure and a range of non-equity exposed assets. As part of their broad commitment to the Foundation, all Affiliates rebate management fees associated with its investments.

This access to expertise, insight and market knowledge creates excellent opportunities for the Foundation to help improve the lives of those who need support – through partnering with professional, well governed organisations so they can achieve greater results and focus on what matters most to them.

Shareholder and Investor Engagement 

Pinnacle shareholders and investors are also invited to contribute directly to the Foundation, with 100% of all public donations directed to charity partners. As the Foundation is endorsed by the ATO as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) covered by Item 2 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income tax Assessment Act 1997, eligible donations made to the Foundation over $2.00 are tax deductible. Details of Directors, governing documents and Annual Information Statements can be accessed via the ACNC site. 

Current Partnerships  

The Foundation, together with Pinnacle and / or Affiliates, is currently supporting the following projects during FY20:

Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI): aligned with Plato Investment Management and Resolution Capital Limited

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Based at Westmead in Sydney, CMRI undertakes world-leading research to improve children’s health. As Australia’s first medical research facility dedicated to children, CMRI has been helping to save the lives of children for 60 years. The award winning, independent Institute has built an international reputation for high impact research dedicated to tackling the leading causes of death in children: cancer, congenital disorders (birth defects), and genetic diseases.

Following input from employees across Plato and Resolution Capital, the Foundation has for a third year joined with both fund managers to partner with CMRI to support the purchase of vital equipment to be used across the Institute.

Increased workflows are driving an unprecedented demand for CMRI’s outdated Cryostat, which will now be replaced with the funding provided. This machine is used to maintain tissues at low cryogenic temperatures while cutting sections for analysis, to assess effectiveness of gene transfer and genome editing efficiencies in preclinical models and primary human patient cells.

Twenty researchers and PhD students from the Gene Therapy Research, Eye Genetics, Embryology, Cancer and other Units will benefit, and the upgrade will ensure access to reliable and current instrumentation. This in turn is fundamental to allow researchers to complete their cutting-edge scientific studies with the translational potential to improve health outcomes for children.

Like the previous projects - which also enabled CMRI to purchase cutting edge equipment - the aim is to enhance researchers' understanding of inherited and acquired paediatric disorders, and gain the potential to develop new treatment options.

ReachOut Australia: aligned with Pinnacle & Antipodes Partners

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Employee feedback from Pinnacle clearly indicates that prevention and early intervention of mental health issues in young people is highly important to them. Following Antipodes' establishment of a link with ReachOut through contributing as a fund manager to Future Generation Global Investment Company (FGG), the Foundation is proudly supporting ReachOut together with Antipodes for the third year.

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people, with the aim of changing the health landscape across Australia by delivering digital self help as an integral part of preventing mental illness, in a way that makes sense to young people.

One of the priorities for ReachOut continues to be the need to develop rapid and "real time" responses to address topical issues affecting young people. Funds provided will enable ReachOut to immediately identify "hot button" issues for young people, and rapidly provide appropriate content and tools for them and their parents to access, via a range of online support and referral services.

A dedicated approach to creating material / leading conversations just before or immediately they become topical has proven highly effective in achieving one of the organisation's clear goals – reaching new audiences. Those who have not been making contact for fear of being lectured to / overwhelmed are reacting positively to a proactive approach where ReachOut is using hash tags to tap into current issues before they blow up in the media.

batyr Australia: aligned with Palisade Investment Partners

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batyr, meaning hero, is named after the famous talking elephant in Kazakhstan, and “exists to give a voice to the elephant in the room – mental health”. Employees across Palisade have a strong belief in addressing issues around youth mental health - especially in regional locations - and in fostering education as a pathway to future wellbeing.

batyr is an ideal partner as the organisation draws on young facilitators with “lived experience” of mental health challenges to deliver peer to peer messages in schools and universities around resilience, hope and action within communities. Programs aim to engage, educate and empower participants.

The Foundation and Palisade are together supporting batyr for a third year to expand the initial batyr@school programs delivered in the Central West region of NSW. batyr’s presence and impact across the region is steadily increasing, with relationships established with 14 schools and a goal to deliver 24 programs in FY20.

batyr programs aim to encourage young people to have open conversations about mental health - increasing the likeliness of them seeking help for themselves or supporting friends or family to do so.

Full Stop Foundation: aligned to a key need identified by representatives from the superannuation funds industry

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Domestic violence and sexual assault are by any measure the most common - and one of the most insidious - crimes committed in Australia. Enormous personal, social and productivity costs are associated in every instance. Following feedback from superannuation funds - reflecting the interests of a major Pinnacle industry client group - the Foundation has established a powerful partnership with the NSW based Full Stop Foundation (FSF).

The Full Stop Foundation is about stopping sexual assault and domestic violence – Full Stop. Funding - renewed for the third year in June 2019 - continues to help FSF employ a Legal and Policy Officer to support clients reaching out for legal assistance in matters relating to criminal justice, family law and victims of crime legal matters. In addition, this role undertakes wide ranging advocacy to ensure clients' experiences inform the development of legal policy and legislation, and provides both internal training and external connections with other legal service providers.

Legal advice can help identify a miscarriage of justice, guide women about the legal process / steps / limitations, and explain why cases are viewed differently across different jurisdictions.

Many Rivers Microfinance: aligned to a cause championed across the funds management industry

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Many Rivers provides small business support services and community economic development support to Australians living in disadvantaged contexts. The organisation exists to address the issue of structural and individual disadvantage in Australia through business ownership, with a special focus on Indigenous Australians in regional and remote communities.

A partnership with Many Rivers is being continued into its third year, supporting the "Marketplace" initiative which aims to build pathways for procurement to ensure local and Indigenous businesses are included in corporate supply chains.

Many Rivers' early stage work has identified multiple and complex reasons as to why Indigenous procurement is so hard, and the organisation intends to leverage this insight to create new ideas and approaches to engagement.

R U OK?: multi year partnership aligned with Pinnacle's commitment to help improve mental health and reduce suicide rates

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The Foundation has joined forces with the suicide prevention charity R U OK? to develop the nationwide ‘Are They Triple OK?’ campaign, launched in November 2019. This initiative has been developed by R U OK? in response to the recent Beyond Blue nationwide "Answering the Call" study into the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s police and emergency services workers. This found police and emergency service personnel report suicidal thoughts more than twice as often as adults in the general population.

‘Are they Triple OK?’ will encourage early intervention by providing these front line responders with the skills and tools to begin an R U OK? conversation. The campaign aims to increase levels of peer and social support for them, and targets their support networks both at home and in the workplace e.g. supervisors, volunteers, friends and family.

R U OK? provides free digital and printable resources which include storytelling from police, fire, ambulance and SES employees and volunteers to ensure the voices of lived experience are heard, and to model the life-changing impact an R U OK? conversation can have.

Raise Foundation: aligned with Resolution Capital Limited

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Discussions within Resolution Capital identified the desire to focus on the broad theme of helping disadvantaged young people, with the aim of partnering with several organisations addressing different aspects of systemic or acute disadvantage.

Raise Foundation aims to help create thriving communities across Australia through best practice mentoring programs that empower young people to become resilient, capable and connected.

For more than 10 years it has been Raise's mission to attract and recruit volunteers from local communities, upskill them and then take them into public secondary schools to connect one-on-one with young people in need. This has given those young people the opportunity to experience, often for the first time, a confiding and supportive relationship - one of the single best predictors of psychological health and vitality amongst young people.

In support of Raise, the Foundation and Resolution Capital are continuing to fund the delivery of mentoring up to 14 young people in the south western suburbs of Sydney both at Belmore Boys High School and Canterbury Boys High School. Mentoring is delivered through Raise's established In-school Mentoring Program (“Ismo”), which is conducted over 22 weeks and supported by professionally trained counsellors.

Yalari Limited: aligned with Res Cap Limited

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As noted above, Res Cap is partnering with several organisations addressing different aspects of disadvantage experienced by young people across Australia.

One of these entities is Yalari, which has maintained an unwavering commitment for over 10 years to provide quality educational opportunities to Indigenous children from remote, rural and regional areas of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. Scholarships commencing in Year 7 are currently offered across more than 25 partner boarding schools across Australia, with Yalari providing holistic support and guidance through to Year 12 and beyond.

In January 2020 Res Cap and the Foundation will again support Yalari’s annual Orientation Camp, which is the starting point for all new Year 7 students embarking on their boarding school journey. The Camp paves the way for a smooth transition from primary education and living at home to a secondary education at a boarding school. Year 7 students are given the opportunity to learn about boarding school life in an environment where they feel safe, can be inquisitive and share the journey with fellow students.

The Orientation Camp provides appropriate mechanisms for dealing with the different circumstances students may encounter at boarding schools, and gives Year 8 students the opportunity to share their first year journey with new students to strengthen the bond between all students. In addition, selected senior school students (Year 11 or 12) have a leadership opportunity as Camp leaders, role models and mentors to the new Year 7 and returning Year 8 students. Yalari alumni return to Camp as volunteers and ‘give back’ to Yalari, and help ensure the Yalari student and alumni cohort remains strong, supportive, committed and inclusive.

Australian Alzheimer's Research Foundation: aligned with Spheria Asset Management

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In June 2019 a new partnership was initiated with the Perth based Australian Alzheimer's Research Foundation (AARF), supporting the charity's work to help find a cure for this debilitating disease - which strikes randomly, is incurable and is currently the second leading cause of death in Australia.

The AARF has a vision of a world in which Alzheimer’s no longer exists, and a mission to support leading edge research that makes it treatable and preventable. The AARF's objective is to increase understanding of the causes of this devastating disease, develop an early diagnosis, and identify effective treatments and interventions.

The Foundation and the AARF are working together on new research, aimed at gaining a better understanding of the biological mechanisms that underpin the early development of Alzheimer’s. The results of this study will contribute new knowledge about the underlying causes of the disease, how it develops and its progression. The focus will be specifically on the earliest stages of the disease, where it is critical that interventions are implemented.

The Mirabel Foundation: aligned with Firetrail Investments

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Mirabel believes that every child deserves a childhood filled with love, hope and belonging. A highly respected children’s charity operating for more than 20 years, Mirabel has a mission to break the destructive cycle of drug addiction. This is achieved through the delivery of proven programs for children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to their parents’ illicit drug use, strengthened by crisis support and parenting assistance for the kinship carers who take on the responsibility of raising them.

With the support of the Foundation, Firetrail and other funders, Mirabel will be offering a new service in the Hunter Valley region in NSW in 2020. This is being developed to fill a significant gap in current service provision and enable support to be provided to 30 vulnerable young people in the region, which is facing the impact of increasing drug use including ice (crystal methamphetamine).

All Mirabel programs aim to provide young people with intensive youth support and therapeutic group activities. They have the opportunity to practise a variety of life skills including conflict resolution, personal safety awareness, positive communication and developing a sense of responsibility for themselves and others. They build strong relationships with their peers through participation in meaningful shared experiences, developing a strong sense of connection and a feeling of belonging.