HBF distributes funds to Run for a Reason beneficiaries

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HBF says it has distributed a total of $574,348 to West Australian charities that had hoped to benefit from this year’s Run for a Reason.

The event was recently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, participants had already raised $74,348, with HBF confirmed the distribution of these funds to the nominated groups in March.

The insurer said it is contributing half a million dollars to the nearly 170 health-related organisations that had counted on funds from the event.

It said the beneficiaries range from Run for a Reason’s four major charity partners (Cancer Council WA, Heart Foundation, Diabetes WA and Lifeline WA) to smaller charities such as Tuberous Sclerosis Australia and Tiny Sparks WA.

Of the half-million dollars, $400,000 has been shared between all beneficiaries with each organisation receiving a percentage of the amount it received from last year's event, or a $100 donation if it is a charity new to the 2020 event or raised less than $200 through last year’s Run

HBF said an additional $100,000 special donation has been given to Lifeline to help it meet the demand for its services at a time when many people are under huge mental stress.

Chief executive John Van Der Wielen said HBF had decided to contribute all funds originally allocated for staging this year’s HBF Run for a Reason and HBF Fitness to the community.

“Cancelling the State’s largest community fundraising event was not a decision we took lightly, given the number of charities that rely on HBF Run for a Reason to boost their income,” he said.

He said HBF hoped the donations would alleviate some of the pressure felt by these organisations due to the impact of COVID-19.

“Many of them will now have additional demands on their services just as they see community donations fall due to the current economic climate,” said Mr Van Der Wielen.

The special donation to Lifeline, one of the key beneficiaries of HBF Run for a Reason since the very first event, recognises its vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lifeline WA CEO Lorna McGregor said HBF’s support was an investment in the mental wellbeing of the community.

“Our community is currently afraid, anxious and increasingly alone. At Lifeline WA we know this because we have been inundated with calls to our telephone crisis support service from West Australians fearful and distressed about the health, social and economic implications of COVID-19,” she said.

“With the operations of countless businesses coming to a halt, thousands of West Australians losing their jobs, and day-to-day routines changing for nearly everyone, this donation will help Lifeline to meet community need when fundraising is incredibly difficult,” added Mr Van Der Wielen.