FFI Vice President Rove McManus hosts the 2010 ECM charity Christmas party

Last night FFI Australia was the proud beneficiary of this year’s Equity Capital Markets annual Christmas and Charity event. We were so proud to be offered this opportunity helped, no doubt, by the fact our chairman – Kevin Skelton – is Managing Director of Merrill Lynch, this year’s hosts.

It was the first time in the event’s 13-year history that a conservation organisation has been given the honour of being the focus charity and thus the recipient of all funds raised on the night. FFI Vice President Rove McManus flew back from the US to MC and spoke passionately about his involvement with FFI and his various trips across the world to see our work in action. He was on top form and made sure that everyone enjoyed the night enormously – not to mention left the evening with a slightly lighter wallet! Vic Larusso also gave his time for free as professional auctioneer and Darren Carr also performed.

Janet Laurence – the contemporary Australian artist – who has long been inspired by environmental issues, was kind enough to donate a unique piece to the live auction representing the devastation of the Victorian bush fires. This piece alone generated $15,000. Other supporters including Hungerford Hill wines, the CEO of which – James Kirby – sits alongside Kevin on FFI’s Founders’ Board, Dinosaur Designs, Tony Bilson, Qantas, Fosters, Autore pearls and many, many more. Indeed all of the FFI Australia Founders’ Board donated a prize of one type or another – one such prize being a $10,000 ‘mystery share portfolio’ which generated $27,000!

It was a fantastic night, well worth all the work. Whilst everyone had great fun, it also gave us a unique opportunity to engage a whole new audience in our work both at home and abroad. A huge thank you to Merrill Lynch – particularly Guy Foster – and all the ECM teams who helped make this such a success. Whilst payments are still being processed and final figures being calculated, it looks as though we have exceeded last year’s event and generated near $200,000 for FFI’s work both at home in Australian and across the globe.