KPMG supporting UNSW with new dementia research initiative

28 September 2021 2 min. read
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A new initiative has been launched to encourage young Australians to donate towards dementia research, with KPMG partnering with the UNSW’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing.

To coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day, the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) has launched a new initiative in partnership with professional services firm KPMG, which aims to boost philanthropic support for dementia research. The ‘Change Makers – Next Gen Philanthropy’ initiative is specifically targeted at emerging leaders under the age of 40.

Some 15 percent of Australians aged over 65 suffer from dementia, among an estimated 55 million people worldwide – with the numbers rapidly growing. Within a generation or so, it’s anticipated that more than one million Australians will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia – overtaking heart disease from its current second rank as the nation’s leading cause of death.

“By the time those currently aged 18-40 are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, it is expected that the number of people with dementia will have more than tripled,” said PJ Lane, the son of late entertainer and Alzheimer’s victim Don Lane, who is one of three Change Makers ambassadors alongside Edward Caser and Keri Kitay. “Change Makers will support research that will inevitably impact their own future.”

Eileen Hoggett

The health and societal costs of dementia are enormous, yet the Change Makers concept is a simple one; regular donations from young Australians will combine towards larger and more impactful research contributions. Those who donate will have access to tours in the CHeBA laboratory and educational workshops that cover healthy brain ageing and modifiable risk factors for dementia.

“It is the most feared condition in surveys of older people, costs Australia over $14 billion annually, and despite many decades of research there is no cure, and behind each of these statistics there are lives that are upended and relationships breached,” says KPMG’s national audit managing partner Eileen Hoggett, who was recently elevated to the firm’s national executive committee.

For Hoggett, the issue is a personal one; “Unfortunately, like so many (including, recently, the author of this article), I have felt the enormous pain and heartbreaking impact of dementia. My beloved mum died of early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the tender age of 66. Through that experience I have witnessed, firsthand, the vital work of organisations supporting research.”

For KPMG’s part, the firm has served as an in-kind partner of CheBA’s Dementia Momentum initiative since 2015, a movement aimed at bringing researchers and the corporate and philanthropic communities together to help stem the incidence of dementia in Australia. The firm has also previously provided analysis of national dementia programmes for the Department of Social Services.