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Human Investment Proves Capital Idea

Resource type: News

The Courier-Mail | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

by James McCullough

A DESIRE to invest in human capital and help people prompted co-founder Andrew Brice to start giving away millions of dollars.

Media-shy Mr Brice yesterday revealed how he had joined a growing number of multimillionaire philanthropists giving away millions to credible charities and good causes.

“Fundamentally, I believe it is people that make things happen so I want to invest in human capital and this is investing in people going forward,” Mr Brice, still a director of and estimated to be worth more than $180 million, said in Brisbane.

In 2008, Mr Brice and’s more high-profile co-founder, Graeme Wood, pledged a mix of cash and shares valued at $18 million to establish The University of Queensland Endowment Fund, a new avenue for donors to support academic scholarships, name professorial chairs and specific research programs in areas of particular social need.

Mr Brice and wife Jennifer last year gave away $600,000 for 100 scholarships for students who would otherwise struggle to attend UQ.

He said such investments were not dissimilar to putting money into the stockmarket.

“You look at the transparency of the group, whether they have good corporate governance, profitability and the like,” he said. “There is also enormous personal joy in getting involved in the giving.”

Mr Brice said he had a discussion with his family to set up a family constitution and thought that philanthropy was a good start.

He said Australians, including frequent US visitor Chuck Feeney along with well-known company director David Gonski and late coal miner Ken Talbot, were tremendously generous with philanthropy.

“There are some very wealthy families in Australia who give a lot and do not want any recognition for it,” he said.

Mr Brice was one of about 30 wealthy Australian businessmen at a seminar in Brisbane addressed by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, the authors of Philanthrocapitalism, a book which discusses new methods of business donating money to worthy causes.

According to the authors, Philanthrocapitalism is a new way of doing good, mirroring the way business operates in the for-profit, capitalist world.

“Philanthrocapitalists can do the risky, innovative things that government cannot, to find new solutions to longstanding and unresolved problems,” said Mr Bishop.

“Entrepreneurs don’t just want to write cheques; they want to be hands on, bringing innovative ideas to scale by investing their time and energy,” he said.

“The same applies for social entrepreneurs – philanthrocapitalism describes the growing belief amongst the winners of capitalism that giving back is an integral part of being wealthy.”

Mr Bishop and Mr Green have drawn on insights gained from their interviews with some of the most powerful and influential people on the planet including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Angelina Jolie and Bono, as they speak to Australian philanthropists around the country this week.

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