Should the Shane Warne Foundation re-open?


Shane Warne
Photo by Tourism Victoria

If their claims are correct, the Shane Warne Foundation would have raised $7.8 million and have distributed $4.1 million to their beneficiaries. That’s almost 53 cents in the dollar. More importantly, that’s more than four million dollars passed on to the sick children who needed and still need it.

Somewhere along the way, particular in the 2011 to 2013 period, TSWF’s business model became less efficient. They put it down to overspending, under charging and possibly overestimating interests in their projects. They were aware of it and began action to turn it around.

According to the KPMG audit, despite making a loss of $86,000 in 2014, TSWF still managed to distribute from it’s reserves nearly $100,000 to it’s beneficiaries. In September 2015, Emma Coleman was appointed as Chief Executive to help restructure the Foundation.

As it should be, the media acting as watchdog for the community began reporting in November 2015 on the Foundation’s 2011 to 2013 period including allegations of conflict of interests. It was also reported Consumer Affairs Victoria was investigating TSWF; but Shane Warne denied this saying he “had it in writing” that his charity was not under investigation. He also declared that nobody involved has “ever taken one cent away from the Shane Warne Foundation”.

Unfortunately following these reports Emma Coleman apparently resigned and a number of sponsors withdrew their support.

Instead of the planned turn-around, Shane Warne announced the closure of TSWF:

“In response to recent, unwarranted speculation about The Shane Warne Foundation and its distribution of funds, we confirm we have distributed $3.67M to date with an additional and final substantial cheque to be distributed on March 18, 2016. At that time, we hope to have distributed over $4M dollars. All accounts have been fully audited by KPMG, and our final accounts will also be audited for the March 18th cheque presentation.”

 Along with thanking the board and all involved, TSWF also added:

 “To our beneficiaries – another heartfelt ‘thank you’. You are the reason we were driven to achieve so much. We will donate our final cheque on March 18, which will mean we have donated over $4 million much-needed dollars – and knowing we have helped so many young lives change for the better is an amazing reward that will never be forgotten.”

 Journalists from the Sydney Morning Herald also pointed out: “The revelations come amid growing concern among regulators that Australia’s charity sector is experiencing a massive blowout in fundraising and administration costs and a proliferation of groups competing for a limited supply of funds.”

It seems apparent TSWF is not the only charity organisation feeling the pinch. The Starlight Children’s Foundation, one of TSWF’s beneficiaries raised $30 million in 2014 of which $15 million (50%) went into their programs. Similarly The Humour Foundation (Clown Doctors) raised $3.2 million of which $1.8 million (56%) went into their programs.

If after the final audit in March The Shane Warne Foundation is proved correct with its numbers for their 12 years they would read: $7.8 million raised, $4.1 million (53%) distributed – percentage-wise not too dissimilar to Starlight and the Clown Doctors.

They appeared to want to overhaul their fundraising model and renew their good work but it seems that is not going to happen. People have seen to that.

Who is going to apologise to the kids?

I wonder what Edward Scissorhands thinks of touch screen technology.”