Melbourne music touring and events agency Thick as Thieves is set to celebrate an extraordinary philanthropic milestone this weekend when they surpass $500,000 in funds raised for The Fred Hollows Foundation and its work to end avoidable blindness.
Led by founding director Mike Toner, the Thick as Thieves team has raised $496,000 for The Foundation since 2011 by teaming up with institutional venue Revolver and other promoters/partners to run music events donating proceeds from the door, a bar percentage, artist donations and personal donation. Mike also took on an ironman triathlon in 2015, and together with some of his team, participated twice in the Wild Women On Top Melbourne Coastrek 60 km trek in 2017 and 2018 raising funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation.
“Helping restore sight is one of the best gifts someone can give and Mike Toner and his wonderful Thick as Thieves team and supporters have done that thousands of times over,” said Gabi Hollows, Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation.
“It’s absolutely amazing that they’ve raised half a million dollars for us, and we are so grateful for their ongoing support and their help to put so many smiles on people’s faces.”
Mike and his team’s incredible support to restore sight for some of the world’s poorest people was recognised in May this year, when he received the 2018 Fred Hollows Foundation Helping Hand Award, given annually to someone who has made a special contribution, in a voluntary capacity, to achieving Fred’s vision.
The award itself features a framed hand-print of Fred’s and was bought at auction in 1992 by a young man named Christian Nott, who tragically died in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami along with his wife, Moi Vogel. Christian’s father Richard subsequently offered the print back to The Foundation.
“Our door entry is usually around $25, which is how little it costs The Foundation to restore sight in countries’, Mike Toner eplained. ‘I think that people love coming to our events, not only because they have a great time, but because they know they can effectively restore the sight of one person by simply walking through the door.”
“At the beginning, we used to ask the DJs if they’d be happy to donate one evening for free to The Fred Hollows Foundation, but it’s been such a success over the years that now, the DJs get in touch to ask if they can do a gig for Fred when they’re in Australia!”
“With the support of our partners and punters, we raise money to help The Fred Hollows Foundation restore sight to people in developing countries, thereby helping to break the poverty cycle.
For more information about Thick as Thieves’ support of The Fred Hollows Foundation, visit https://thickasthieves.com.au/about/