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 the Foundation, the company actively seeks to engage in causes which are identified as 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) as a Public Ancillary Fund (PuAF). 

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 tangible 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 $306,000 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 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 Engagement 

Pinnacle shareholders are also invited to direct a portion of the cash entitlement of each PNI final year dividend to the Foundation, to support those charity partners aiming to minimise early stage mental health issues and reduce crisis intervention, and ultimately lower suicide rates.

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 second year joined with both fund managers to partner with CMRI in support of its Vector and Genome Engineering Facility (VGEF). This facility is at the cutting edge of translational research aimed at curing paediatric genetic disorders – not only in Australia, but on the world stage.

The purchase of an Amaxa 4D-Nucleofector System will allow researchers to efficiently deliver genome editing tools and functional copies of disease-causing genes into cell lines and stem cells. The hope is to better understand each disease and to develop and optimise novel therapeutic options.

Like the previous project - which also enabled the VGEF to purchase cutting edge equipment - the aim is to enhance researchers' understanding of the fundamental cell biology and molecular mechanisms of inherited and acquired paediatric disorders, and gain the potential to develop new treatment options.

Because the VGEF works with investigators from all major academic centres around Australia, the Amaxa system will benefit research being performed well beyond the CMRI.

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 Reach.Out together with Antipodes for the third year.

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people. The organisation provides innovative e-mental health services which enable young people to take control of their mental well being, thereby assisting them to identify early signs of illness. ReachOut aims to change 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 right now is to continue 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.

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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A major partnership is being continued with the national suicide prevention organisation R U OK?, which has a strong focus on the role of the wider community in preventing mental health issues from developing. R U OK? aims “to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with those around them and support anyone struggling with life”.

Specifically, R U OK? seeks to equip the public to help address mental health problems in their infancy, via the delivery of awareness and educational campaigns. It provides guidance across a number of campaigns on how to ask, listen, encourage action (via referral pathways) and check in with those who may need support.

Together with the Foundation a new national campaign is being developed to support Police and Emergency Services personnel and their families - asking "Are they Triple OK?" The campaign will aim to help support those facing intense levels of stress in the high pressure environment and the potential traumatic nature of the industry, and draws on extensive research undertaken by Beyond Blue in late 2018 which highlights the need for first responders and their families to know how and where to seek support.

This partnership builds on the Foundation’s core focus around helping to maintain strong mental health, and also prevent / acknowledge / minimise early stage issues. Through tackling a rapidly growing problem with a huge social cost, and one which has been clearly identified as critically important by employees, clients, stakeholders and the wider funds management industry, the end goal is to support efforts to reduce suicide rates amongst young people in particular. Research consistently shows that suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

R U OK? offers an exemplary and unique platform for suicide prevention awareness and community development. As a provider of public campaigns with wide national appeal and an increasing following, the organisation's strategy is based on strengthening suicide protective factors (specifically, connectedness and a sense of belonging). All activity is designed and delivered through drawing on innovative and best-practice expertise, evaluation, marketing and communication principles.

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 funding the delivery of mentoring to 10 young people in the south western suburbs of Sydney 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 Resolution Capital Limited

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As noted above, Resolution Capital 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 2019 Resolution Capital and the Foundation have together supported Yalari’s 13th 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 has been 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.