The ACP community is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chris Reichstein, founder of the Mt Burdett Foundation in Western Australia, aged 58.
Chris’ was raised with a love of farming, and owned and managed his own grain farm in Esperance, WA, from the age of 30. When Chris was diagnosed with stomach cancer six years ago, he initially sold a portion of the property and put the money in a trust that he developed into the Mt Burdett Foundation, motivated by a desire to give back.
Subsequently, the Foundation has been funded by profits from Chris’ farm and topped up by donations from the supportive local community. Chris’ concept for the Foundation saw it develop two main arms, the Esperance Community Foundation, and the Regional and Rural Advancement Foundation (RRAF).
While the Mt Burdett Foundation is a Private Ancillary Fund, it operates in the spirit of community philanthropy and shares the values of a community foundation. Chris’ passionate commitment to regional and rural Australia in general, and his community in particular, lives on in the work of his Foundation.
An inspirational model
Through the Mt Burdett Foundation, Chris also inspired other farmers to consider the community philanthropy model. A perfect example is the establishment of the Esperance Farmers’ Fund, a community fund set up by local farmer Greg Curnow, who was later mentored by Chris.
ACP also had the privilege to meet and learn from Chris, who was generous in sharing experiences from his philanthropy journey as part of our project established to support the development of community philanthropy in WA, supported by the Minderoo Foundation.
“Chris’ legacy means he will be forever giving to his community,” said ACP Project Coordinator Clare Gregory, “His positive impact in the Esperance region, and input toward rural and regional capacity development, has gained great momentum in just three years.”
While Chris’ untimely passing is a cause for great sorrow, we hope that his legacy will inspire many others and his impact continues to benefit the lives of people in his community, as he wished.
We pass on our sincere condolences to Chris’ friends and family. Our thoughts and support are also with local Esperance farmer Sarah Brown, who will continue to carry the torch as Executive Officer at the Foundation.
If you would like to find out more about the Mt Burdett Foundation, please visit their website.