Major donors giving back help UNSW move forward

Hamish Balnaves urged fellow philanthropists not to leave too much money to their children and instead invest in the future, at an event celebrating the incredible generosity of UNSW Foundation donors held lin early June. 

The evening honoured nine donors who have together contributed over $25 million to UNSW Australia in recent years, enabling state-of-the-art buildings, new scholarships and cutting-edge research to be funded.

Major donors celebrated last night include the Ainsworth Foundation, the Australian Nuclear Science Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation, the Berg Family Foundation, Glencore, The Glendonbrook Foundation, Jillian Segal AM, John Roth & The Roth Charitable Foundation, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Roads & Maritime Services and Sir Michael Hintze AM.

Hamish is the son of Neil Balnaves AO who established The Balnaves Foundation in 2006. With a particular focus on Indigenous education, the Foundation’s grants have helped re-build the Nura Gili centre and provided scholarships for Indigenous students in the Faculty of Medicine to grow the number of Indigenous doctors in the health sector.

“I don’t need to speak about how much a philanthropic fund benefits society. What I do want to speak about is how much it benefits your children,” he said.

“It both encourages civic duty and concern for others. You also give your children the enjoyment that comes from helping others. One of the best things about being second generation is that I get to see over the next 40 years the fruit of the grants we’ve supported now.”

For Len Ainsworth of the Ainsworth Foundation, philanthropy is a way of giving back after a long and successful career. Mr Ainsworth spent 60 years in manufacturing, founding Aristocrat Leisure in 1953 and Ainsworth Game Technology in 1995.

The Ainsworth Foundation has supported the re-development of the Mechanical Engineering building.

“Having spent most of my life working in this industry it is wonderful to give students a new space to study and start their own journeys. I’m very excited to see it finished,” he said.

Giving back, or investing in the future, is even more important for institutions such as UNSW said outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fred Hilmer.

“Today is a big thank you and recognition for helping this University. You were never supporting just this institution; you were supporting something that would have some impact in making the world a better place. And for that we thank you again,” he said.

The names of these nine donors will join 50 others recognised with an inscription on the Scientia Wall, found at the entry to the John Niland Scientia Building. 

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