Mercantile Foundation


How does your Club protect itself for the future?

Success on the water is the primary way of protecting the Club’s future. We must always be vigilant to aim for excellence. 

However, there are some things which the Club can do financially, to secure the Club’s future. We have been fortunate to have a history of generous benefactors who have led in this area. They have created the Foundation which is already providing annual assistance to the Club. But it needs to grow considerably to protect our Club and ensure that we remain a high-performance club.

The Foundation is a critical part of securing the Club’s future and will need many more donations and bequests to achieve its aims.

The Club needs donations to the Foundation which can be made through the Australian Sports Foundation in a tax deductible manner. A donation form can be found through this link or you can donate direct online with the Australian Sports Foundation Mercantile Rowing Club page. Whilst all donations are gratefully received, direct donations are of course preferred as they do not attract the 5% deduction of the ASF.

In addition to donations direct to the Foundation, the Club has been fortunate to receive generous bequests from deceased members. These have made a considerable difference to the Club. We have also been fortunate to have received commitments from some members that the Club will be well provided for in their Estates.

History of the Foundation

Back in 1980 at the Club’s centenary, President James Sprigg made a substantial donation to establish the Club’s Foundation, then known as the Endowment Fund. The original idea of the fund was to provide reserve funding should the Club have its “back against the wall” such as having to find another place from which to row. Other donors added to that figure and together with investment income, it grew to $630,000 by the time the Club undertook the renovations in 2012.

The Foundation assets were lent to the Club for these renovations on the condition that the rental income from tenants would repay the loan and also enhance the funds available to help the day to day activities of the Club.

The Club’s Robert Hannaford portrait of Jim Sprigg

More recently, Sean Colgan made a grant for equipment and at his request, a separate account has been established named in honour of the Late Hubert “Freddy” Frederico. Through Sean’s extremely generous donations, this account has grown very quickly and now has assets of $1 million and based upon an annual 5% return, will continue to provide $50,000 pa to the Club for equipment. When combined with equipment sales, this is sufficient to maintain our large and good fleet. Well done Sean and the other members who have generously donated to the Frederico account.

Sean Colgan at the National Championships in 2019

Long term aims of the Foundation

The aims of the Foundation are:

Maintenance of a Clubhouse

This is the original purpose of the Foundation established by the Late James Sprigg. Currently this part of the Foundation has assets of about $200K. Our objective is to have at least $1mil in 13 years time to again renovate the clubhouse. We project that the current assets, the repayments from the Club and the income generated over the next 13 years, we will reach our target. Obviously after every renovation, this objective will need to be renewed.

Maintenance of a good fleet

This part of the Foundation established by Sean Colgan and named after a former great coach Hubert Frederico has achieved its initial objective and subject to the Administrators maintaining the real value of the capital and income, it is regarded as completed.

Assistance to Club athletes competing overseas. 

This part of the fund is called the Colgan Fund and supports our members competing overseas. The balance of this fund has risen to over $200,000 and provides annual grants to our travelling athletes. However to fund seat fees of six under age athletes annually, a target capital of $1mil is required.

Supporting volunteers

This element of the Foundation was established with a bequest from the Late Dr R A Cooper back in 1973 to provide an annual award for the Club member of the year and has expanded to include wider volunteer aims. 

Support coaching at the Club

The final aim of the Foundation is to support coaching at the Club. This segment of the Foundation's assets is named after the Late Keith Bilney was established by a donation from his family. The objectives of this fund would be to fund two coaches and so is a very large figure. This is unlikely to be achieved for a considerable period.

Your Foundation Administrators are currently Andrew Guerin, John Harry, Malcolm Batten, Jeff Lawrence and Tim Frederico. In accordance with the constitution, one of these Administrators retires annually at the annual general meeting and is eligible for re-election.

The Foundation is a critical part of securing the Club’s future and will need many more donations and bequests to achieve its aims.

If anyone has any questions on the Foundation, please do not hesitate to call any of the Administrators.

Andrew Guerin
July 2020