Andrew and Nicola Forrest founded Minderoo Foundation in 2001, and continue to drive its philanthropic mission today. Andrew remains Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, the publicly listed company he founded in 2003, which is one of the world’s main suppliers of iron ore. Dividends from Fortescue fund Minderoo Foundation’s ongoing commitment to philanthropy. We take our name from Minderoo Station, the family homestead where Andrew grew up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It has been a part of the Forrest family since 1878. Minderoo is an Aboriginal word meaning permanent and clean water.
Dr Andrew Forrest AO is Australia’s most active philanthropist. In 2001, Andrew co-founded Minderoo Foundation with his wife Nicola, and to date they’ve donated more than US$2.6 billion to address modern slavery, ocean health, cancer, indigenous disparity, childhood development, artificial intelligence, disaster resilience, and plastic waste.
In 2017, Andrew was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to philanthropy, mining, employment, and sustainable foreign investment.
Following four years of study between 2016 – 2020, Andrew has a PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of Western Australia, and serves as an IUCN Patron of Nature, a World Economic Forum Friend of Ocean Action, and a member of the United Nations Environment Program’s Scientific Advisory Committee on the Assessment on Marine Litter and Microplastics.
Andrew is recognised as one of the most effective business leaders of his generation. As Founder and Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, Andrew has led the company from inception to a US$60 billion listed natural resources company that’s invested more than US$40 billion developing some of the world’s most efficient infrastructure. In 2021, Fortescue announced its commitment to become zero-emissions by 2030, and created Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a developer, financier, and operator of a global portfolio of renewable energy resources to produce green energy at a scale equal to the oil and gas super-majors.
His commercial interests also reflect his dedication to the economic livelihood of all Australians across agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy and manufacturing, including the recent return of iconic Australian brand R.M.Williams to local ownership.
Andrew is Co-Chair of the Australia-China Senior Business Leaders’ Forum, Global Patron of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and served as a Councillor of the Global Citizen Commission charged by the United Nations in 2016 to modernise the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was appointed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia in 2013 to Chair the Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes, to end Indigenous disparity through employment.
With an enduring motivation to better the lives of children and a commitment to give a voice to those most vulnerable, Nicola Forrest AO believes in empowering individuals to better themselves and their communities.
Since 2001, as Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Minderoo Foundation, Nicola has established and driven programs of work to create positive change for children, the arts, women and communities. Nicola’s contribution has seen her recognised as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), awarded the University of Canberra Chancellor’s Award for Philanthropy and invited to chair a working group on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia to drive integration between the philanthropic, community and business sectors.
Under Nicola’s leadership, and in collaboration with partners in Australia and beyond, Minderoo Foundation has put an emphasis on data and research to identify and derive solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems. She has also led the selection of world-class Scholars and Fellows, to study and reside in Western Australia within the Forrest Research Foundation – a hub for research innovation.
Nicola is Life Patron of the Black Swan State Theatre Company shoring up the company’s sustainability through the establishment of its inaugural Production Fund. As patron of the Kimberley Foundation Australia, Impact 100 WA and Sculpture by the Sea, Nicola champions arts, culture and community initiatives that better the lives of those most vulnerable.