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 key causes – identified as critically important by Affiliates, employees, shareholders and client groups. 

According to Pinnacle’s MD, Ian Macoun:

“Each of our partnerships is carefully selected for their relevance to the PNI brand values, their importance to our employees across Pinnacle and our affiliates, and their strategic fit with the interests of particular fund managers. We are delighted that the Foundation continues to work so closely and successfully with our Affiliates, to build the capacity and increase the impact of these great not-for- profit organisations.

The determination, resilience and flexibility shown by our partners during the COVID-19 pandemic is extraordinary. Their willingness to see the “silver lining” afforded by the virus’ impact, and the immense sense of commitment and responsibility that each partner feels towards those they support – who are increasingly vulnerable in these difficult times – is both humbling and inspiring”.  

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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 2020 financial year donations totalling $320,000 were made by the Foundation, increased by a further $135,000 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 and 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;

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

— building awareness in a COVID-19 world of the critical need for kindness, empathy, community and resilience.  

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 in volatile markets whilst seeking to drive growth over the longer term. Investments are held in a range of suitable products offered across Affiliates, which 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 investments.

This access to expertise, insight and market knowledge creates excellent opportunities for the Foundation to enable professional, well governed organisations to improve the lives of those who need support – through partnerships which help them to achieve greater impact 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, donations made to the Foundation over $2.00 may be eligible for tax deductions and receipts are issued. Decisions on providing refunds are only considered by the Foundation Board on receipt of written requests. Details of the Trustee – Pinnacle Charitable Foundation Limited – and company directors, governing documents and Annual Information Statements can be accessed via the ACNC register. 

Current Partnerships  

The Foundation, together with Pinnacle and / or Affiliates, will be supporting the following projects during FY21:

Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI): aligned with Plato Investment Management and Res Cap 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 over 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 fourth year joined with both fund managers to partner with CMRI to support the purchase of vital equipment to be used by the Eye Genetics Unit.

The Unit, led by Professor Robyn Jamieson, is focused on genomic, stem cell and genetic therapy applications to maximise the genetic diagnostic rate and new therapies for blinding genetic eye diseases.

According to Prof Jamieson: “Genetic eye conditions, such as inherited retinal diseases, were difficult to genetically diagnose and considered untreatable for many years. Excitingly, our genomic research studies have successfully led to genetic diagnoses and understanding of disease mechanisms. Our new frontier is development of novel genetic therapies to rescue vision in these disorders.”

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 insight into the development of new treatment options.

ReachOut Australia: aligned with Pinnacle & Antipodes Partners

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Numerous reports and studies indicate that prevention and early intervention strategies to address mental health concerns in young people, are critically important in preventing these escalating and becoming crippling. 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 fourth year.

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people, supporting them in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their experiences through using service data, forum themes and focus group research to respond to their changing mental health needs.

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

Over the past twelve months, the number of people using this vital mental health service has exceeded 2.6 million. ReachOut has been able to continuously strengthen its proactive and reactive issues based media and content strategy with the ongoing funds provided, ensuring that many young people and parents are supported with self-help information and immediate relief on issues that cause them distress. Remaining relevant in an ever-changing environment has never been as important as it has in the past few months, where visitation to has increased by as much as 48%.

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 fourth year to continue building networks and delivering batyr@school programs and Being Herd speaker training workshops in the Central West region of NSW. batyr’s presence, reach and impact across the region is steadily increasing, with the aim to now take these experiences and adapt them to other communities in regional NSW struggling with the effects of drought, bushfires and coronavirus.

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 fourth year in June 2020 - 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. Equally important has been the enhanced ability of FSF to review and participate in legal reform discussions, leading to more than 20 powerful submissions contributing to law reform across state and federal jurisdictions. Critically, this has also allowed “the voice of the victim to be brought to the table” - often for the first time in a meaningful way - to contribute to debate and deliberation and effect legislative change.

The role also provides both internal training and external connections with other legal service providers, assisting to identify miscarriages of justice, guide women about the legal process / steps / limitations, and explain why cases are viewed differently across different jurisdictions.

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

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The Foundation joined forces with the suicide prevention charity R U OK? to develop the nationwide ‘Are They Triple OK?’ campaign, launched in November 2019. The campaign's free resource materials, originally developed in response to a Beyond Blue nationwide "Answering the Call" study into the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s police and emergency services workers, became highly regarded and widely distributed during and following Australia's horrific 2019 / 2020 bushfire season.

In FY21 ‘Are they Triple OK?’ will continue to prompt conversations and encourage early intervention by providing the family and friends of front line responders with the skills and tools to begin an R U OK? conversation. This next phase is built around four key pillars of Awareness, Education, Engagement and Action, to help ensure effectiveness of the campaign year-round.

This approach will include a new Conversation Guide tailored to Family and Friends (social support), webinar series, free e-learning modules, social media assets, advertising and a content series to highlight real world examples of conversations in detail.

It will be further supported by a peer support “champions” model; recruiting and providing a guide to enable internal champions to drive positive change within their immediate working environment. Further support will also be provided to head office teams to enable and equip them to embed the campaign within existing programs (case studies, training materials/presentations).

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 is celebrating more than 15 years of an unwavering commitment to provide quality educational opportunities for 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 2021 Res Cap and the Foundation will again supported 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.

In addition, Res Cap will be sponsoring a year 7 student from Moree, as she begins her boarding school journey in Sydney as a recipient of the Rosemary Bishop Scholarship Program.

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

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Renewed funding in 2020 continues to underpin the Foundation and Spheria's partnership with the Perth based Australian Alzheimer's Research Foundation (AARF). Funding is helping researchers study the very early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which is debilitating, strikes at random, and is incurable. Currently there is no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, and with 1,800 Australians diagnosed with dementia every week, the disease remains the second leading cause of death in Australia.

Analysis into early stage cell changes at the onset of Alzheimer’s – to better understand its origins - has been identified as essential to both develop the most effective treatment of the disease, and in the search for a cure. Results of the studies being funded will contribute new knowledge about the underlying causes of the disease, how it develops and its progression.

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 both treatable and preventable.

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 has commenced a new service in the Hunter Valley region in NSW, with programs and support adapted for delivery online due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

Mirabel fills a significant gap in current service provision and is enabling support to be provided to more than 280 vulnerable young people in the region, which is facing the impact of increasing drug use compounded by the stresses of Coronavirus.

All Mirabel programs aim to provide young people with intensive youth support and 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.

The Kindness Factory: aligned with Pinnacle employees

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A new relationship is being developed in FY21 with The Kindness Factory, in response to the pressures and stresses associated with the impact of Coronavirus. The Foundation is championing the mission of The Kindness Factory to “inspire all humans to play kind, have fun, stay connected with others, know when to reach out for help, exercise resilience and treat themselves, and the planet, with dignity and respect”.

Funding is supporting the continued national rollout of The Kindness Curriculum into schools, presenting young children with activities designed to build the attributes of empathy, gratitude, perspective, honesty, self-compassion, self-acceptance, humility, collaboration, mindfulness, meditation, trust, affiliation and humour.