BERNIE BANTON FOUNDATION
Financials & Reporting
The Bernie Banton Foundation was fiercely independent and apolitical, running from June 2009 until 30 June 2020. It was founded by Karen Banton for only one reason, to uphold what Bernie Banton AM believed in; to assist people to navigate the difficult journey an asbestos related disease diagnosis presents; to enable people to have informed choice about specialist asbestos disease litigators and medical professionals; to prevent people being exposed to asbestos dusts by creating awareness of mesothelioma asbestos cancer and other asbestos related diseases; and to advocate for, and to be:
‘The voice of reason for Australian asbestos related disease sufferers, their carers and loved ones, allied heath and care providers, and to the wider community.’
- The Bernie Banton Foundation was a registered charity with the Australian Government regulative authority, the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC). The Foundation was audited annually by an applicably registered auditor.
- The Foundation ran on extremely low overheads, paying no property purchasing, rental, leasing or associated utility costs, neither did it pay any vehicle purchase costs. Its CEO and its Awareness and Support Co-ordinator [the Foundation’s only two employees] were paid a minimal salary, on a full-time weekly casual basis for some years, with each generally volunteering considerable extra hours every week, working on the day to day running of the Foundation, manning the Foundation’s Support 24/7 Helpline and running asbestos disease victim support and advocacy services.
- Awareness programmes, other than its’ ongoing online presence and telephone support, were only undertaken when finances became available to allow these programmes to be run on a fully funded basis, time permitting.
- Other than day to day operating accounts (phone, internet, etc.), the Foundation had zero ongoing liabilities, or lines of credit. It could rightly be said the Foundation ran a budget within its means, without any current, ongoing, or future debt liability.
- The Foundation had approval to fundraise in ACT, NSW, Queensland, SA, Tasmania and Victoria.
- The Foundation relied on donations and fundraising from individuals and the wider community; corporate sponsorship and a small NSW Government grant to be able to provide its vital support and awareness services.
- The Foundation never charged, or placed expectation of donations being made for any of its’ services (however, gratefully accepted donations from those who appreciated the support or services the Foundation offered), neither did it have have any ‘pay by referral’ or ‘quota’ type relationship with any legal firms, medical specialists, individuals; corporate, union, or government bodies. It did however, have relationships with, and recommended people and organisations it believed were specialists at what they did, were holistic and importantly, ethical!
Many people mistakenly believe the Bernie Banton Foundation received large amounts of funding from either the Australian or state governments; that asbestos disease litigation firms fully funded the Foundation; or that the Foundation had been funded by James Hardie Industries.
Debunking often-voiced myths about where the Foundation has received its funding from:
- The Foundation never had ongoing funding from the Australian Government, and had never had any funding at all from any state or territory government, until being awarded a small (but nonetheless significant) grant from the NSW Government’s, icare Dust Diseases Care in April 2017.
- The second misconception is that asbestos disease litigation law firms fully funded the Foundation. Whilst asbestos disease litigation law firms did contribute, and made up the Foundation’s largest single funding component, historically (on average) their funding contribution accounted for between 0% and less than 20% of the total amount needed for the Foundation to be fully funded in any given year.
- James Hardie Industries never contributed to the Bernie Banton Foundation in any shape or form.
Setting The Record Straight
People often mistakenly assume that the Bernie Banton Foundation and the Bernie Banton Centre at Concord Hospital, Sydney NSW, were one and the same.
The Bernie Banton Centre building was named after Bernie Banton AM a year after his passing, contrary to a widely held belief, the Bernie Banton Foundation never at any stage had any connection to, or occupied office space in the building.