Pinnacle Charitable Foundation

Pinnacle has a strong belief in the role of corporate Australia’s responsibility to give back to the communities from which businesses draw support and inspiration. The company actively seeks to engage in causes which are identified as important by affiliated fund managers, employees, shareholders and client groups. The majority of community investment initiatives are directed through the Pinnacle Charitable Foundation (Foundation).

Established by Pinnacle’s antecedent companies in 1987, including Wilson HTM, Wilson & Co and the Wilson family, the Foundation has a continuous 30 year legacy of giving to innovative organisations which are seeking to develop evidence based products, programs and services to make their communities better places. The Foundation facilitates the delivery of solutions which can be tested, analysed, strengthened and scaled, with more than $3.5 million donated to over 60 Australian charities. Partnerships are often jointly funded with affiliates, and aim to establish relationships with progressive charitable organisations which have a commitment to strong internal governance and external research. Entities are offered funds, time and advice to help expand their services, explore program and product development and make an impact in new communities.

As an early stage backer frequently offering seed funding to encourage trials and to incubate new projects, the Foundation has seen many partners leverage its initial support. Securing further funding from private and public donors has successfully built the long term capacity of these organisations to positively drive change in their communities. 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 not for profit entities to address often complex social issues.

Pinnacle directly contributes to the Foundation’s corpus and has active representation on the Board, which maintains a majority of independent Directors. Pinnacle also provides a range of pro bono services to the Foundation including investment management, portfolio reporting, finance and IT, which allows the Foundation to operate in a highly efficient manner with low overheads and high impact. Affiliated fund managers rebate fees for the Foundation’s investments, to further demonstrate their commitment to its longer term sustainability.

Pinnacle Charitable Foundation is registered with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) as a Public Ancillary Fund (PuAF). It 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. All donations made to the Foundation over $2.00 are fully tax deductible.

The following projects are currently being supported by the Foundation and several of Pinnacle’s affiliated fund managers through donations of $30,000 or more:

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 over 58 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 joined them 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 a sophisticated automated cell counter with the combined donations has enabled the VGEF to develop more accurate and reproducible results of cell numbers and size distribution across any sample. This equipment is actively contributing to a larger scale upgrade of the VGEF capabilities, facilitating more vector and genome engineering projects.

The CASY unit has enabled multiple projects in the fields of human embryology, neurodegenerative disorders, paediatric oncology, including projects on DNA stability (genome integrity) and intracellular signalling to be undertaken.

All these projects aim to enhance researchers' understanding of the fundamental cell biology and molecular mechanisms of inherited and acquired paediatric disorders, and have the potential to lead to novel treatment options.

Because the VGEF works with investigators from all major academic centres around Australia, the cell counter has benefitted, and continues to help, 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' establishing 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 second 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 develop a proactive approach to immediately address topical issues affecting youth mental health. Funds provided will enable ReachOut to rapidly provide appropriate content and tools based on real time events, via a range of online support and referral services designed for young people and for their parents.

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 prosperity.

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 second year to build on initial batyr@school programs delivered in the Central West region of NSW. In response to widespread community interest batyr is running schools based programs across the region, with funding enabling 16 programs to be offered in FY19. These 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 crimes committed in Australia, with enormous personal, social and productivity costs 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.

The Full Stop Foundation is about stopping sexual assault and domestic violence – Full Stop. Funding has enabled Full Stop to employ a Legal Researcher and Project Worker, to assist with the increasing number of requests from women seeking to access the justice system and fight for their rights, families, dignity and financial independence. 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.

Funding from the Foundation for the role is continuing into its second year in recognition of the value provided through this specialised and trauma-informed legal advice, which is able to meet clients' specific needs and vulnerabilities.

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

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Many Rivers provides small business support services to foster business ownership and community economic development to Australians living in disadvantaged contexts, with a special focus on Indigenous Australians in regional and remote communities.

A partnership with Many Rivers is being continued into its second year, assisting the organisation to continue providing pathways to employment, financial security, personal and family stability and improved community capacity.

Funding from the Foundation is being directed to the new Many Rivers Marketplace initiative, which has a key goal to establish a marketing channel and online sales capability for remote communities and businesses to sell their goods into mainstream economies. Marketplace will build links with the aim of creating economic flows into these isolated locations.

The Foundation will be the first private investor in this initiative, which aims to help local businesses improve their financial stability and stimulate regional economic growth. Associated social benefits will also be realised through attracting outside revenue to fuel local trade and commerce.

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

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A new major relationship has been established with the grass roots communications based 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.

This partnership will build on the Foundation’s core focus around helping to prevent / acknowledge / minimise early stage mental health 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. Suicide remains the leading cause of death in Australia for those aged under 45.

R U OK? offers an exemplary and unique platform for suicide prevention awareness and community development. As a provider of public campaigns with an enormous and growing following and uptake, its 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.