in the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary
Red Knot in the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary © Chris Purnell, BirdLife Australia

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McLean Foundation launches Nature’s Future Fund with million-dollar gift

Sydney businessman Robert McLean AM and his wife Paula McLean have donated $1 million to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to establish a fund aimed at securing the long-term future of nature conservation in Australia.

The Nature’s Future Fund will provide enduring support for the core capacity of TNC to protect and conserve Australia’s rivers, oceans and outback.

Making the gift through their family’s McLean Foundation, Paula said: “Rob and I are very passionate about the work being done by TNC here in Australia and it’s been a privilege to be in a position to support this extraordinary organisation. We felt that now was the right time to invest further in the long-term capacity of the organisation and invite others to do the same.”

Paula and Rob McLean
Paula and Rob McLean of the McLean Foundation © TNC

Rather than being applied to any specific project, the Nature’s Future Fund will support core operating and scientific capacity. With other investments, the Nature’s Future Fund will grow to $7.5 million by the end of 2018, with a goal of $20 million by 2020. Rob believes innovation is vital to the success of large-scale conservation. He adds, “Donors giving unrestricted funds foster the innovation required to achieve impact at the pace and scale that matters.”

Alongside the philanthropist David Thomas AM, Rob was the driving force behind bringing TNC’s unique science-based, pragmatic and large-scale conservation approach to Australia 20 years ago. He is also the Chairman of TNC’s Australia Advisory Board. TNC Australia’s Country Director Rich Gilmore welcomed the gift: “Untied funds are the most precious kind of philanthropy. These gifts give organisations the confidence to invest in bold new ideas and deliver big impact over the long-term. Rob and Paula’s significant investment is a great example of our Board showing real leadership in this regard”.

In addition to the McLean Foundation’s philanthropic support, Paula, who has a publishing background, also established a national nature writing prize aimed at encouraging writers to explore the Australian landscape and their response to it—its beauty, fragility and resilience. Named The Nature Conservancy Australia Nature Writing Prize, it was launched in 2010 and four prizes have been awarded to date. Paula also led the private land acquisitions funding to complete the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary in 2016, a funding partnership between TNC and the South Australian government.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in 72 countries on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We’re tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.