WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) has donated $250,000 to Peter’s Project, the biggest corporate donation so far towards building a $30 million cancer care centre for the south-west.
Peter’s Project founder Vicki Jellie said the group was thrilled with the donation, that lifts the community’s contribution to the project so far to $2.7 million.
WCB chief executive officer David Lord said the donation followed an impassioned presentation to the WCB board by board member Andrew Anderson.
Mr Lord said WCB was proud to be involved in the community fund-raising for the centre.
“This is an example of what can be achieved when the community gets behind something,” Mr Lord said.
“We get involved in lots of community events but nothing is more important than this one,” he said.
Mr Lord said WCB had the donation under consideration for some time, well before the company became the subject of recent takeover bids by Bega Cheese and the Canadian firm Saputo.
Mrs Jellie said the donation was a great step forward for the community fund-raising that aimed to raise $5 million by July 31, next year.
“By doing this, WCB is supporting the whole region,” she said.
She hoped WCB’s donation would prompt other companies to also contribute. The $2.7 million raised so far has been contributed in about three months since the $5 million community contribution target was launched.
The WCB donation follows a combined $1 million contribution earlier this month from six local philanthropic foundations.
The state government has committed $15 million to the centre and the federal government $10 million.
Mrs Jellie said planning for the new centre was already under way and it was hoped to begin construction in the middle of next year, with completion at the end of 2015.
Mr Lord said the donation to Peter’s Project was a continuation of WCB’s support for the community that already totalled nearly $450,000 a year in local sponsorships and donations.
The donations include a commitment of $50,000 a year for four years to South West Healthcare, more than $53,000 a year to Foodbank Australia and product and hamper donations to more than 200 community events, schools and fund-raisers.
Under both the company and its Sungold brand name, it also sponsors numerous south-west turf racing and harness racing clubs, agricultural shows, the Premier Speedway and many other sport associations and community events.