Cricket legend Shane Warne added more than $1 million to bushfire relief funding efforts on Friday, joining a long list of celebrities and businesses that have pledged donations globally.
The Commonwealth Bank emerged as the winning bidder for an auction of Mr Warne’s baggy green cap, bidding $1,007,500 for the iconic piece of cricket history less than two minutes before the auction ended on Friday morning.
Also on Friday, Leonardo DiCaprio confirmed his environmental organisation Earth Alliance, which he founded with philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, would donate $3 million to the Australian Wildlife Fund and would be working with Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage and Wires Wildlife Rescue on an “international response” to the bushfires crisis.
The pledges come as some of Australia’s most recognisable businesspeople kick in personal donations to recovery efforts. Cash donations are exceeding $150 million with at least $100 million of this coming from the nation’s biggest corporate players.
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola committed the largest individual donation so far on Thursday, a $70 million pledge through their philanthropic arm, Minderoo Foundation.
Comedian Celeste Barber’s Facebook fundraiser was closing in on the $50 million mark on Friday afternoon.
Other high-profile Australian businesspeople have made personal commitments to the cause. Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman announced on LinkedIn on Friday that he and his family would contribute $1 million to support firefighters and the restoration of rural communities, urging those in his network to also donate.
The technology community has been vocal about keeping the focus on climate change efforts in recent weeks. Multibillion-dollar startup Atlassian added $1 million to recovery efforts, while co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes have each made personal donations of $1 million.
Members of the Business Council of Australia have committed to more than $35 million in cash payments to bushfire relief funds, as well as outlining support to their staff and customers for bills and legal advice throughout this period.
An update of member contributions released on Friday outlined fundraising plans from more than 60 of the country’s largest companies.
Multinational finance firms have promised lump sum donations. JP Morgan has pledged $US500,000 ($729,000) and Bank of America Merill Lynch has given $367,000 to emergency funds.
The nation’s largest law firms have also donated more than $500,000 combined and committed to expanding pro-bono legal assistance to those affected. Firms including Ashurst, Clayton Utz, King & Wood Mallesons and Minter Ellison have all committed to working with affected communities as needed in coming weeks.
KPMG will look at how its partners can best assist affected communities as they rebuild, while DuluxGroup said it would also help with products and services for rebuilding into the longer term.
Telstra and Optus will offer relief packages to customers that have been affected by fires and waive mobile phone bills for volunteer firefighters for December and January.
Source: Thanks smh.com