Since becoming property millionaires, Kevin and Kathy Young have spent decades networking to share their secrets to wealth. Greg Johnson reveals how the Queensland-based couple are now looking to develop their networks into philanthropy.
Have you ever heard of a philanthropist borrowing a significant amount of money from a bank in order to donate it to charity? That’s exactly what Kevin and Kathy Young did when they gave Red Cross Australia $1 million over three years, and shows that their approach to giving is anything but traditional.
Realising that their wealth was largely tied up in assets, the Youngs drew down on equity in their vast property portfolio to support Red Cross Australia’s new homeless centre, named The Young Centre following the couple’s gift.
“I didn’t regard myself as cash flow rich,” admits Kevin. “When Red Cross came to me with a need, it just dawned on me that I could go to the banks and borrow the money they needed. Instead of waiting to die to help someone, it was a way that in real time we could help someone.”
From humble beginnings to rich lists
Born in New South Wales, Kevin attended a whopping 16 different schools and he openly admits he was “the poorest kid in school”. Discovering property investing at the age of 24, however, would change that. By the time Kevin’s ten-year school reunion rolled around, he was 27 and had retired.
He spent two decades out of the workforce before the amount of time he spent sharing his story of wealth creation became a fulltime job. That’s how, in 1994, The Investors Club was formed. An Australia-wide network of property enthusiasts learning from the Youngs about how to generate wealth through property, the club now has over 80,000 members.
Nowadays, Kevin and Kathy feature on The Sunday Mail’s Queensland Top 100 Rich List, with estimated wealth of around $143 million.
Fittingly, it was a member from The Investors Club which introduced the Youngs to serious philanthropy. Neil Mundy, a farmer from the river lands in South Australia, shared his story of helping children in Africa while overseas with the Youngs, and it struck a chord with the couple.
“We all nodded and thought ‘yeah, we post off money as well’,” says Kevin. “But Neil had flown over to meet the boys he supported, and after learning they would fall out of the aid system at a certain age, he bought one an organ to create a living by playing music, and another a Kombi, so he could become the local taxi.
“That inspired us to think about how we could get involved with physically changing things,” he adds. “Rather than posting a cheque through the mail, how could we get hands-on and see the benefit?”
A club that cares
After hearing Mundy’s tale, the Youngs started to find ways that they could do more. When Red Cross Australia’s proposal came along, it was the perfect fit – as Kevin wants to be involved in solving societal issues from start to finish.
“I had a dream to look at people of all ages on the streets that had no future – to get them educated to a level where they could cook, wash and look after themselves, buy clothes and learn how to apply for a job,” says Kevin. “This proposal that Red Cross came to us with was great stuff.
“When these people are ready for a job, I am sure with the contacts The Investors Club has we will be able to find them a job,” he adds. “The third phase, which is the most exciting, is that I want to help these kids build their own houses with the help of our banks and builders.”
Having shared their property success secrets with the world, the Youngs weren’t about to keep the joy of giving to themselves. That’s why they launched a charity arm of The Investors Club, called Club Cares Foundation, which raises funds from members and donates both directly to causes and individuals in need. The couple fund the foundation’s administration expenses out of their own pocket, ensuring every dollar raised is delivered to a cause.
Club Cares Foundation is a big supporter of individuals who suffer from paraplegia, but it has also partnered with nonprofit organisations. Its major donations include $200,000 to Youngcare and $100,000 to Paraplegic Benefit Fund.
Creating a giving circle
Kevin’s next goal is to take his networking a step further and bring together a group of individuals to pledge a six figure gift to have at call for those in need. It’s what is rapidly becoming known as a giving circle in philanthropic circles, but to Kevin, it’s simply doing what he’s done for two decades – networking to help people make a difference.
“What I’m hoping to do now is to get 20 people in each state who will pledge $100,000, so we’ll have $2 million in instantly obtainable funds in each state,” he explains. “Red Cross gave me the idea, because they said they come across a lot of people in urgent need of assistance, but it takes time to put something together and come back to help them.
“This way there’s a fund there, so if someone needs $50,000 for an urgent operation, it’s there to be used straight away,” he concludes.