Three-time Supercars champion Craig Lowndes has nominated Mates4Mates charity for a $100,000 grant that will be used to help support Australian Defence Force members with physical or psychological injuries.
Newman’s Own Foundation will donate the funds, after Lowndes was given the opportunity to nominate a charity of his choice, as part of their grant program that recognises the “influential role Australian sportspeople play within the nation’s charity sector”.
“Our veterans deserve support as they continue the journey of rebuilding their lives. Many have physical and psychological injuries as a result of their service within the Defence Force,” Lowndes said.
“They have protected us, so we need to look after them and their families.”
The Newman’s Own Foundation grant provided seven sporting personalities, including Lowndes, the chance to nominate an Australian charity to receive the $100,000 in funding.
“While Paul Newman was best known as a movie star, he was also a passionate and successful championship racing car driver,” said Newman’s Own Foundation president and CEO Robert Forrester, who was also a longtime friend of Newman.
“His other passion was philanthropy, and he believed everyone has the power to make a difference. We’re pleased to recognise Craig’s and other Australian sports stars’ commitment to giving back and influencing others to do the same.”
Mates4Mates is a charity that aims to provide “life-changing support and rehabilitation services for current and ex-serving members of the Defence Force who have physical or psychological injuries as a result of their service.”
The charity confirmed the grant will be used to fund the Mates4Mates Social Connection Programs for veterans and their families and support the STAIR Program (Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation).
Mates4Mates chief executive officer Troy Watson thanked Lowndes for his nomination and support.
“Funding like this is vital to ensure that we can reach out to more veterans in need,” Watson said.
“Mates4Mates was established to provide a support structure for those serving and ex-serving Defence members that need help. In providing opportunities for our Mates and family members to engage in our services through our Social Connection Programs and the STAIR Program, we can support their road to recovery and help minimise the struggles associated with transitioning.”
The STAIR program is a peer-led skills program that aims to assist Mates develop skills in emotion regulation and interpersonal functioning for recovery, in order to improve day-to-day living.
Mates4Mates has approximately 3,724 registered Mates and family members across the country, and provides over 26,000 face-to-face contacts per year.