Shane Warne Foundation’s incredible lack of charity 322



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If you had donated your hard-earned cash to a charity that pledged to care for sick and under privileged children, then found out that the average amount that actually reached institutions that needed the money was 16 cents in the dollar would you feel a little ripped off?

The Sunday Age is reporting that Shane Warne’s charitable foundation is under investigation by the consumer watchdog over concerns about financial and reporting practices.

They have revealed “The Shane Warne Foundation raised $1.8 million in three years but donated an average of only 16 cents of every dollar to institutions that care for sick and underprivileged children… instead spending the majority of its funds from 2011 to 2013 staging glitzy celebrity events and employing a member of the cricketing great’s family.”

It is alleged that the charity has only dispersed $54,600 to its beneficiaries, but that Warnie’s brother Jason Warne has  drew a salary of nearly $80,000 in the same period.  The foundation posted steep financial losses, spending instead on food, alcohol, prizes and promotional products for events.

The website of the organisation, called The Shane Warne Foundation says:

“Our mission is to enrich the lives of seriously ill and under privileged children and teenagers in Australia.  We are an umbrella organisation, meaning we raise money through the events we run, donations we receive, and corporate sponsorship, and distribute those funds to a diverse cross section of charities and individuals who work hands on in these areas.  We do this as it relieves the constant burden of fund raising faced by these great organizations and people, so they can effectively handle the day to day needs of the brave children they support.  Since our inception in 2004, we have raised over $7 million, and have made over 120 individual distributions to various children’s charities and individual families in need. ”

The organisation has a very high profile board, of Andrew Bassat, founder of, Glenn Robbins of TV fame, Eddie McGuire, former Channel 9 head and a number of others.  It was founded in conjunction with James Packer and Lloyd Williams.

The 2011-13 financial documents which The Age compelled for release under an obscure provision of Victoria’s Fundraising Act show the foundation donated just $281,000 to charity despite raising $1.8 million over that time. Expenses consumed more than $1.2 million.

It means only 16 cents of every dollar raised actually reached one of the foundation’s nominated charities over those three years.

It is interesting though that when entered into the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, the information on the Shane Warne Foundation says it returns 80 percent of funds to beneficiaries.

The same website reports that in the last year the McGrath Foundation returned 70 percent of monies raised to place breast care nurses in communities across Australia as well as increasing breast awareness in young women.  And the Surf Lifesaving Foundation returned 75 percent while the Red Cross returned 73 percent.

But if these claims by The Sunday Age are correct and they have investigated them properly, then it seems charity begins at home for the Warnes.  If this is indeed the truth, does it discourage you from donating to “high profile” charitable organisations?  Do you do your research before donating money to causes?

The Fundraising Industry of Australia says we only have ourselves to blame and we should look to give more directly to beneficiary organisations rather than fundraisers.  “If you want to make a difference, don’t wait to be asked and don’t wait for the charity to spend money on fundraising. Give, and give as generously as you can.”




Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I always do, it’s a shame some use it for their own benefit. One of the worst is some Church Orgs. They get gov funding & only a small percent goes to the coal face, they are the biggest rip off.

    2 REPLY
    • Religion and attending Church is not as it used to be – it is all about money now and how much can be extracted from the parishioners. It’s all tax free too.

    • The church has always demanded money. My grandparents, as children, had to take money each day to give to the Roman Catholic Church school. The nuns were very cruel too…hiding behind the so called skirts of Christ.

  2. We support a child through the Smith family. We give $42 a month and that supplies our child with their school necessities. Having had children at school I am sure that most of this would go to the child. School is expensive. Our child is 16 so she is in the higher grades. We feel this is money well spent. I encourage everyone who wants to make a difference to support an Australian child in poverty. Education is the key.

    9 REPLY
    • Same here. Smith Family for me, plus Anglicare and our local CFA. I believe over 90 percent of my donations in all 3 charities goes to the actual cause. If I find out differently I will change again, but there have to be some admin costs.

    • I have been told that World Vision doesnt put all the money to where they say. Look at some of the cars they drive in poor countries!!!! This is why i dont donate to these charities.

    • I think $500 a year for year 11 school supplies is about right. This covers books, uniforms, musical instruments, school excursions etc.

    • I agree Debbie, the Smith Family is a great charity. It gives disadvantaged kids a hand up, not a hand out.

    • Many many years ago I did door to door sales, and happened upon the heads of the Smith Family charity in their multi-million dollar mansion.
      They will never see a cent from me.

      I would say more, but I wont.

    • Another way for ladies to support THEE SMITH FAMILY and enjoy fun at the same time is to join a VIEW CLUB in your area . Our club supports 5 children. Remember The Smith Family was started by a man who could afford to help disadvantaged children.

      1 REPLY
      • A 5 minute check of the audited financial statements of The Smith Family shows that about $0.80 in the $1.00 raised through fund raising goes to the needy. Thats a good result and that is what is so wrong with the Shane Warne Foundation … excellent charities like The Smith Family get tarred with the same brush.

  3. It has always been the same with art unions, a $6.00 art union ticket is split up with $2.00 to the Telemarketer, $2.00 to the courier who delivers it, $1.80 administration costs leaving 20 cents being your donation.

    2 REPLY
  4. My very first job was as a typist at St Johns Ambulance and was paid a pittance (in the 60’s). How things have changed.

  5. This sort of thing is the very reason I don’t donate to some of the big charities. Glossy brochures, little gifts, gala events all demonstrate that what I am donating to is more glossy brochures, gifts, gala events and the salaries of all those that prepare this stuff. Most of my money isn’t going to medical research, the homeless, starving children. It is such a shame as many of these charities do fantastic work. My money instead goes to local charities where I have a little more confidence the money will go to those who need it.

    1 REPLY
    • Good thinking. I’ve managed charitable organisations and have always made money was well spent – eg attending conferences meant I’d stay in either a cheap motel or on-site van, ate at pubs or clubs so no expensive restaurant meals, use public transport etc. unlike one charity I was on the board where staff had free drinks on Friday , had meal bills of $300 for 4 staff etc. (after a month I resigned as they were a bunch of rsoles getting fat on the charity dollar)

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