Wotif.com co-founder Graeme Wood meets the capital fundraising campaign challenge from The Atlantic Philanthropies and Tasmania’s state government, learns Greg Johnson.

Well-known philanthropist and businessman Graeme Wood has pledged $2 million towards the $90 million required for the second stage of the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Research Institute’s construction. Wood’s donation is in response to a challenge from The Atlantic Philanthropies founder Chuck Feeney to raise $5 million from Australian philanthropists, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Tasmanian State Government and complete the funding for stage two of the project.

“I’m proud to be supporting world-class medical research through this project,” said Wood. “Stage II of Menzies is important, as it will add to the vibrancy of the strong medical and scientific research community that already exists in Tasmania.”

Funding to date has come from the Commonwealth Government ($45 million) and the University of Tasmania ($15 million), while a $10 million gift from The Atlantic Philanthropies has been matched by a further $10 million from the Tasmanian State Government. With the total at $80 million, the University of Tasmania is looking to find $5 million in private philanthropic support, with the assistance of The Atlantic Philanthropies, which will be matched by state government dollar-for-dollar.

The donation was announced at the launch of The Atlantic Philanthropies’ Giving While Living Networks initiative, which is aimed at uniting government and other types of organisations with philanthropists to fund projects which would otherwise go unrealised.

Wood is no stranger to supporting university causes, having given significantly to the University of Queensland Endowment Fund with business partner Andrew Brice in 2008. Wood is also well-known in conservation circles, after founding his own nonprofit – Wild Mob – in 2008 and earlier this year purchased the Triabunna woodchip mill from timber giant Gunns to transform it into an eco-resort.

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