The Gold Dinner Turns 25

A quarter-century of giving back to be celebrated in style.

By Terry Christodoulou 17/05/2022

This week sees the peerless charity event, The Gold Dinner, take place with over 500 of Sydney’s leading philanthropists and VIPs gathering to raise significant funds for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Following on from last year’s, crypto-focused, record breaking event, the charity event hopes to continue to build on the generosity of 2021 with yet another milestone setting night.

Chef Joel Bickford, of Sydney’s Shell House is providing the catering while a performance by the Gondwana Choir is set to entertain guests.

Orchestrating the event is a committee headed by mother-son team Joshua and Linda Penn. Joshua has been a committee member since 2020 while Linda is a well-known philanthropist and the CEO of Lowes.

Further committee members include James Auswild, Alina Barlow, Sophie Curtis, Francesca Duncan, Earl Evans, Benita Kam, Oscar Martin, Francesca Packer, Joanna Pongrass, Tara Rushton and Monika Tu.

Before the event, we caught up with Earl Evans, Co-CEO of Shaw and Partners Financial Services, the presenting partner of the event.

Robb Report: It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Gold Dinner. Why do you think it’s stood the test of time?

Earl Evans: Children are our future, and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation has an ongoing need for funding for cutting edge technology and resources. That hasn’t changed in 25 years. For the Gold Dinner committee, it’s about raising as much money as possible, each year raising the bar for the following year to raise the same or more. It’s about resetting the benchmark and continually pushing to do as much as we possibly can for this incredible cause.

I believe that it’s this ongoing need for funds, and the Gold Dinner’s laser-focus on delivering them, that keeps the event so relevant.  

RR: What kind of legacy do you think the Gold Dinner will create for future generations of philanthropy?

EE: Personally, I think it’s less about leaving a legacy, and more about putting back in and leaving something meaningful. Having two young children of our own, the cause resonated with us and we knew that we wanted to be involved. I never ever want to be a passenger in life and so I thought, how can I/Shaw and Partners make a meaningful difference and contribution? I’m extremely honoured to be on the Gold Dinner 2022 committee and to have Shaw and Partners as the presenting partner.

RR: As Co-CEO of Shaw and Partners, who are presenting partners for the fundraiser. Why is it so important for corporate channels to be giving back?

EE: At Shaw and Partners, we have made a strong stance on giving back to the communities we work and live in. After reshaping the business from Shaw Stockbroking to Shaw and Partners in 2015, one of the cornerstones of the new company was to have a strong community focus at the core of Shaw and Partners. It is something that both Allan [Zion] and I are immensely proud of, and it has been extremely fulfilling for staff and for the business. As a good corporate citizen, you have to walk to talk, you have to put back in. A lot of people just talk the talk but don’t put anything in action. We’re determined to make a difference.

RR: What are the main hopes for this year’s event in terms of targets and also the key narratives? 

EE: We’re hoping to set a new fundraising record! Thanks to the generosity of the Gold Dinner’s patrons, sponsors, and supporters, the Gold Dinner has raised in excess of $35 million over the last 25 years for sick kids. This year’s Gold Dinner will support critical care services across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, whether it’s for a child in need of resuscitation in the emergency department, life-saving surgery or around-the-clock care in the Intensive Care Unit. The critical care teams are there to ensure the sickest children in the state have the best chance of survival and recovery. What could be more important?

Co-CEO of Shaw and Partners financial services, Earl Evans.

RR: The dinner is now sold out and we know the waiting list is rather deep — do you feel there is an increased want to get out and support? 

EE: There’s always been a massive demand for the Gold Dinner, because it is for such an incredible cause. But yes, I would say that in 2022, there is an increased sense of wanting to connect and make a difference, after the disruptions of the last two years.  It’s good people wanting to do good things for society.

RR: What are some of the auction pieces you’re excited about and which we should really know about?

EE: Looking at the auction pieces, what stands out to me is the generosity of the companies and individuals who have donated these items and experiences, all for kids’ health. It’s a testament to the people and companies behind the Gold Dinner and their hard work, passion and commitment. Speaking personally, I think that the surf experience with Tom Carroll is super cool and unique. It would be my pick.

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