Paralympics Australia has welcomed its first major corporate donation to its newly established Para-sport Equipment Fund.
The $100,000 contribution has been made by the Newman’s Own Foundation, established by the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman.
Following Sport Australia’s initial $1 million investment to launch the Fund last year, Paralympics Australia challenged the corporate sector to join its fight to create more opportunities for Australians with a disability to access the equipment required to participate in Paralympic sport.
The donation was made by Newman’s Own Foundation as part of a sport based grant initiative, whereby influential Australian sporting heroes are given the opportunity to nominate an Australian not-for-profit to receive the amount. It was facilitated by five-time Paralympian and Paralympics Australia board member Kurt Fearnley.
Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Lynne Anderson said the donation was not only generous, but would make an impact on the Australian sporting community for people with disabilities at both a grassroots and elite level.
“We’re incredibly grateful that both Kurt and the Newman’s Own Foundation have recognised our Para-sport Equipment Fund and it’s unique ability to change the lives of Australians living with a disability by providing more opportunities to participate and compete in Para-sport,” Anderson said.
“Research suggests that almost 20 per cent of people in Australia live with a disability, but only one in four of these participate in sport. 75 per cent of those with a disability want to take part in sport but feel there are limited opportunities, and we know this is largely due to the ongoing costs associated with Para-sport.
“With a standard wheelchair rugby chair costing upwards of $16,000 or a basic racing chair worth $10,000, this money will go really far in helping our next generation of Para-sport stars reach that next level, and even help our Paralympians achieve even greater heights at the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo.”
“We’d like to encourage other corporates and not-for-profit foundations to follow suit and help Australians with disabilities achieve equity in the sporting space, as we know the physical and social benefits of participating in sport are endless.”
Newman’s Own Foundation President and CEO Robert Forrester, also a long-time friend of Newman, said Fearnley had demonstrated an ongoing commitment to giving back and empowering others, and his dedication in promoting awareness of the challenges affecting people with disabilities highlighted the importance of Paralympics Australia receiving this grant.
“While Paul Newman was best known as a movie star, he was also a passionate and successful championship racing car driver,” said Forrester.
“His other passion was philanthropy and he believed everyone has the power to make a difference. We’re pleased to recognise the commitment [of Fearnley] to giving back and influencing others to do the same.”
Paralympics Australia continues to pursue financial contributions to the Fund through corporate sponsorship, donations, direct response appeals and more.
For more information about the Para-sport Equipment Fund, click here.
By Sascha Ryner, Paralympics Australia