Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation’s Gold Dinner 2023

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation’s Gold Dinner 2023 makes history, raising $19.2 million, and smashing world-record for children’s hospital charity galas  

The amazing generosity of Sydneysiders was on display when Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) broke the global record for children’s hospital charity galas, raising an outstanding $19.2 million in one night for children with complex and intensive needs.  

The historical funds raised at the 2023 Gold Dinner presented by Scape – Australia’s largest owner and operator of purpose-built student accommodation – included the largest single pledge in 26 years of Gold Dinner history, a $5 million donation made by Gina Rinehart’s family on behalf of Hancock Prospecting.  

This brings the total amount raised by Gold Dinner over the last 26 years for sick children in urgent need of care to nearly $60 million, placing it in the ranks of internationally renowned fundraising events such as the Met Gala and others worldwide. 

Over 400 of the nation’s leading philanthropists and VIPs gathered and raised these funds for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Kids Complex Care Centre, to be known as the Kookaburra Centre.  

Children with complex, rare medical conditions need life-long comprehensive care and intensive support to get through daily life. It is for these children and their families that Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network’s proposed new complex care centre would cater for, combining a multidisciplinary model of care with state-of-the-art infrastructure to provide a genuinely innovative healthcare experience.  

Gold Dinner 2023 committee member and philanthropist Bernadette Nassif took to the stage to share her personal story about her son, John-Paul, accessing care through The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the important role community plays when caring for kids with complex needs.  

Sarkis and Bernadette Nassif donated $1 million dollars on the evening continuing their long-term support to the Westmead Children’s Hospital.  

Continuing the tradition of a quarter century, the exclusive invitation-only gala was held at a secret location, revealed to be the iconic Sydney Town Hall. The theme for the event was a modern twist on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with a Gold carpet reminiscent of the iconic “yellow brick road” leading guests into the world of wonder, romance, and magic of Gold Dinner 2023.  

Gold Dinner Co-Chair, Joshua Penn, said he, together with his mum and owner and Managing Director of Australia’s largest and most iconic retailer Lowes Menswear, Linda Penn, are honoured to resume their roles as Co-Chairs of Gold Dinner 2023.  

“It is our goal to achieve exceptional results through Gold Dinner. Our commitment to philanthropy is rooted in our belief that all children deserve access to the highest quality pediatric care, regardless of their circumstances. We are immensely grateful to the passionate individuals and companies who generously supported our fundraising campaign, which raised a record-breaking $19.2 million for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation. With these funds, we can build world-class facilities that cater to the complex medical needs of children, ensuring that they receive the care they deserve. We are confident that this milestone achievement will make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of many children and their families, both now and in the future.”  

Joining Joshua and Linda on the Gold Dinner 2023 committee are fellow members, James Auswild, Alina Barlow, Sophie Curtis, Alessandra Eddy, Benita Kam, Tara Rushton and Monika Tu. In addition, the committee welcomes Craig Carracher, Katie Evans, Adrian Fonseca, Bernadette Nassif and Kristy Nassif Elias as new members. 

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kristina Keneally, said this year’s Gold Dinner gave philanthropists a role in revolutionising complex care and becoming part of this Australian- first, ground-breaking facility, making an impact that lasts a lifetime.  

“We extend our sincere gratitude, on behalf of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation and the children whose lives will be positively impacted by this game-changing service, to the devoted committee and all those who attended and supported Gold Dinner 2023, for their exceptional contributions in achieving an unprecedented fundraising amount. Your unwavering commitment and generosity enables us to push the boundaries of pediatric healthcare today and safeguard the health of future generations. Your support is an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to working together to make a positive impact on the lives of children and their families.”  

First held in 1997, Gold Dinner is regarded as the signature charity event in Australia. Thanks to the generosity of its patrons, sponsors, and supporters, it has raised nearly $60 million over the last 26 years for sick kids in urgent need of care. In addition, funds raised have helped to support vital projects such as The Centre for Clinical Genetics, palliative care and research into rare diseases. SCHF raised $76 million last year and has reached a cumulative total of over $500 million since 1986.  

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation is now part of The Woodmark Group, a leading philanthropy organisation aiming at improving health for children everywhere. Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation is the first member outside of North America. It is a testament to the Foundation’s impressive fundraising totals, which are records in Australia.