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Shane Warne is closing down his charity

Shane Warne. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Shane Warne has announced he’s closing down the charity bearing his name following recent heavy media scrutiny over the cost of running the foundation he formed in 2004.

The Shane Warne Foundation (TSWF) was formed to help seriously ill and/or underprivileged children and teenagers and its board included a number of high profile people, including Eddie McGuire, Lloyd Williams and James Packer.

Warne has just announced the news on Facebook, saying the charity has handed over $3.67 million to date and will top $4 million by the time it closes in March.

Concerns about how much being was donated to charity in comparison to the money raised began late last year after The Sunday Age obtained the Foundation’s financial records for 2011-13. They revealed $281,000 was donated to charity from $1.8 million raised, with more than $1.2 million going in expenses.

“It means only 16 cents of every dollar raised actually reached one of the foundation’s nominated charities over those three years,” The Age said.

“By comparison, men’s health charity Movember reported that 86 per cent of funds raised were actually spent on charitable endeavours, while the Red Cross spent 76 per cent.”

In response, Warne told Fairfax that the Foundation was “poorly administered by previous employees”.

In December, the cricketer said “The Shane Warne Foundation has always done the right thing, but in the last few years there have been some problems with financial numbers for the events we have been running. It was not done through malice or incompetence”.

He said the organisation was cutting costs in a bid to improve how much was donated, saying more than half of the $7.8 million raised over 12 years was being given away to more than 125 different children’s charities and individuals.

After Fairfax speculated a week ago that Warne was planning to close down the Foundation he responded on Facebook saying “Woken this morning to more malicious attacks and false allegations about the Shane Warne Foundation. It’s a real shame that certain journalists are continuing this ridiculous crusade / personal vendetta against the foundation & I can’t understand why”.

“So when you’ve done nothing wrong & have committed by way of $ and time over the last 12 years to making a difference to save children’s lives, along with giving back to the community but are constantly being criticised for that, then you can understand our frustrations, which leads to decisions that need to be made on the future of the foundation as it’s not fair & it hurts,” the Foundation chairman said.

Fairfax Media had been pushing for a decade of the Foundation’s financial records under Victoria’s fundraising disclosure laws. The state’s consumer watchdog had ordered an independent audit of the charity because it had failed to provide sufficient details on its financial affairs.

Warne said his organisation had “nothing to hide” and the audit was “a disgrace and absurd” and based on incorrect reporting.

“The foundation would rather spend the 10,000 dollars on children in need than on an audit,” he said.

He defended the Foundation’s efforts and high-profile events he’d organised saying “True we have had a couple of bad years. But the reasons for this are varied, fixed costs have been to high, times are tough, not charging enough for a seat, auction items going under what we thought they would sell for etc, what I can promise you is that nothing untoward or inappropriate has ever occurred at the foundation & anyone that thinks like that are totally wrong & is just ludicrous to suggest this.

Warne says KPMG is currently auditing the books in preparation for the closure of the Foundation.

Here is the cricketer’s full statement from today, saying the Foundation will close:

In response to recent, unwarranted speculation about The Shane Warne Foundation and its distribution of funds, we confirm we have distributed $3.67M to date with an additional and final substantial cheque to be distributed on March 18, 2016.

At that time, we hope to have distributed over $4M dollars. All accounts have been fully audited by KPMG, and our final accounts will also be audited for the March 18th cheque presentation.

When The Shane Warne Foundation (TSWF) officially launched back in 2004, it had one very clear vision: to give back, make a difference and to enrich the lives of seriously ill , underprivileged children and teenagers in Australia.

As TSWF grew, everyone involved was proud to see that dream become reality.
Our founding board members – Lloyd Williams, James Packer, the late John Ilhan and the late David Coe, along with our Chairman Shane Warne – were passionate about the cause and worked hard to do their best to highlight the plight of so many children and teenagers in need.

In 2016, that passion to improve the lives of children, teenagers and their families, who need emotional support, medical intervention and hope for a healthier, happier future, remains.

The Shane Warne Foundation would like to say a public ‘thank you’ to Shane Warne, James Packer, Lloyd Williams, David Coe and John Ilhan for launching the dream, and later, Lee Amaitis – and to our most recent Board of Directors, including Glenn Robbins, Andrew Bassat, Ann Peacock, David Evans and Eddie McGuire, for helping that dream live on with commitment, dedication, passion, pride and also their donation of time.

That core dream continues in the hearts and minds of everyone involved – something that will never die.

Today, as The Shane Warne Foundation officially announces it is ceasing operations and has begun the process of closing the Foundation, we will celebrate so many incredible achievements.

To all our ambassadors – Campbell Brown, Aaron Hamill, Stephen Curry, Anthony Lehmann, John Worsfold, Brendon Goddard, Yasmin Kassim, Brodie Harper, Lance Franklin, Fifi Box, Dermott Brereton, Michael Clarke, Nick Riewoldt and Karl Stefanovic – patrons, event partners, supporters and past board members, including Rob Sitch, Garry Lyon and Ray Martin, we say ‘thank you’. We could not have done it without you – all of you.

By working diligently and tirelessly to raise much-needed funds, we are proud to have actively supported more than 125 deserving charities and individuals. From money raised to build special wheelchairs, to providing funds for training guide dogs, sending sick Australian children overseas for specialist medical treatment, funding skin treatments for children with horrific burns and helping children find the medical support they need to walk again – TSWF has left an amazing legacy, and one which we are all very proud of.

To our beneficiaries – another heartfelt ‘thank you’. You are the reason we were driven to achieve so much. We will donate our final cheque on March 18, which will mean we have donated over $4 million much-needed dollars – and knowing we have helped so many young lives change for the better is an amazing reward that will never be forgotten.

In finishing, it has been an absolute honour and privilege to be able to give back to children, and make a difference to their lives. Yes, the Foundation is closing, but all of us will continue to make a difference to children in need.

There will be no further comment from TSWF Board Members or Chairman.

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