Kylie Jenner has donated $200,000 to the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland, stunning its general manager who knew little about the make-up mogul and questioned if she had made a mistake.
Justin Choveaux got the call from Ms Jenner’s New York publicist yesterday morning, with the money being transferred today.
“The first thing I said was, ‘are you sure it’s us?’,” Mr Choveaux said.
“I said ‘we are the Rural Fire Brigades Association, we support brigades and volunteers in Queensland, if you want your money to help people who have lost everything that’s not us, we don’t do that’.
“But the person who represents the Jenners said ‘we are donating a million dollars, and we want $200,000 to go to rural firefighters in Queensland’.
“Obviously I said ‘that’s fantastic’.”
The publicist for Ms Jenner has confirmed the donation for Queensland, adding that the 22-year-old would give a total of $1 million to five organisations across Australia.
It comes a day after the billionaire reality television and social media star copped flak for an Instagram story in which she mourned the death of animals in Australia while wearing slippers made of mink fur.
Mr Choveaux said he did not know much about Ms Jenner and her famous family up until the donation.
“I do now,” he said.
“I obviously know the name ‘Jenner’ but I was more aware of Dr Jenner the 18th century British physician who invented the cure for smallpox and is credited with saving the most lives in the history of the world.
“I knew more about that than the Jenners — up until yesterday morning.”
Mr Choveaux said all of the donation would go towards buying fire mapping computer tablets.
Currently the association has only one, but with Ms Jenner’s donation and another $300,000 from other fundraising, the association will buy 500.
They will be used inside fire trucks to track topography while offline, and give live updates of where waterbombing helicopters and other fire trucks are in the area.
Mr Choveaux said Queensland is not missing out on support from people overseas even though the state’s fires are not currently as bad as those in other states.
Donations are coming in from the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Britain, Canada and a “huge amount” from the United States.
“We have to be quite open at the beginning of all conversations about what the intent of our organisation is and ask what they want to do with the money,” he said.
“What people are doing is very, very, very generous.
“It’s important that their generosity achieves the goal for which it is intended.”
Major bushfire donors
|Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation||$70m|
|Paul Ramsay Foundation||$30m|
|Australian NBA stars||$1m+|
|John and Pauline Gandel||$1m|
|Kylie and Dannii Minogue||$500k|
|Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban||$500k|
*Table does not include fundraisers, such as Celeste Barber’s efforts to raise tens of millions, or pledges conditional on future events, such as Nick Krygios’ commitment to donate $200 for every ace he hits.