“Never see a need without doing something about it” St Mary MacKillop
The Skylife Foundation exists to provide hope, purpose and opportunity to those in need. At its heart is a commitment to make a worthwhile and meaningful difference to those experiencing hardship and disadvantage and to support those seeking to build and improve their lives.
The Foundation was established by Sydney’s Tartak family, founders of the waste management and recycling company, BINGO Industries and more recently, SKYLIFE. The Tartak family launched the Foundation with a $20 million donation from SKYLIFE and has the ambition to grow it into a large global Foundation. Their first series of pledges include:
- $1 million to Powerhouse Parramatta (over 5 years), in recognition and celebration of their western Sydney origins.
- $100,000 to Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
- $100,000 to Children’s Cancer Institute.
- $100,000 to Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.
- $100,000 to Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation.
The family have also recently donated $250,000 to Steps of Hope, a non-profit organisation, who are committed to minimising poverty in Lebanon by providing relief to those afflicted, including assisting those suffering from sickness, disability, injury and/or financial hardship.
Skylife Foundation was borne from the Tartak family’s profound sense of responsibility to help and support others. For the Tartak family – Tony and Mary and their sons Mark, Daniel and Nathan – giving has always been a core value in their lives and an integral part of their business philosophy.
The family owned and operated BINGO Industries, and as it grew to become one of Australia’s most unique small business success stories, so too did their commitment to giving back to the community beginning with support for local charities, church and junior sporting clubs in western Sydney. “The theory was anybody who asked, either church or charity, we never said no,” Daniel explains.
In 2014, their sense of social responsibility escalated after two family tragedies: the death of their beloved Aunty Rose, the sister of Mary Tartak, who died after a battle with breast cancer; and four months later, the death of a second aunt, Aunty Mary, to lung cancer. Both were aged just 56. The losses hit the family deeply and it triggered an immediate course of action.
The Tartak family and BINGO formed an alliance with the McGrath Foundation, which raises money to fund breast care nurses for sufferers, and the Cancer Council NSW. “We are true partners with the two organisations, and BINGO raises money for them regularly,” Mark says. “It was a company initiative but it was very personal to us and that legacy and contribution continues with the company today.” BINGO has since organised three major fundraising gala balls in Sydney in honour of Aunty Rose and Aunty Mary. It also initially had two, now six, pink trucks raising awareness for both the McGrath Foundation and Cancer Council NSW. Since 2014, BINGO and the Tartak family have raised and donated $1.2 million to the two charities.
Over the last two years, with the deep personal involvement and commitment of Daniel Tartak, BINGO has also raised and donated $600,000 to Cerebral Palsy Alliance and its STEPtember fund-raising campaign.
The value of giving back to the community began with Tony’s parents, who arrived in Australia from Lebanon in 1951 with no English or money, but bountiful optimism. As they settled and began to prosper, their home became a boarding house for young Lebanese men and women, similarly landing in Sydney with little more than belief in a better future. The Tartak family provided free food and accommodation for countless new arrivals and for Tony and his two brothers, it instilled in them early the importance of doing good deeds to help others. “We haven’t grown up in a privileged background, it was quite the opposite, but we grew up knowing about the importance of helping others,” Tony says. The Tartak family has continued to help those communities in need, donating money for under-privileged in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Lebanon.
Tony has supported the Lebanese community, both personally and with his leadership as the current President of the Charity Association of Sebhel Australia – helping the impoverished village of Sebhel, his father’s birthplace. “I wanted to help and make a difference to this village where people are living in extreme poverty, without electricity, without anything. I want to bring it back to life, like it was 50-60 years ago. I almost feel like it’s my destiny, I can’t walk away.” His mission began with a $1 million donation to fund the restoration of Our Lady of Sebhel Church in 2017, in honour of his father. Now the family is helping by donating funds towards regular supplies of diesel, bread, meat, medical operations and medicine, provision of a power generation system and the introduction of an education program to teach villagers agricultural self-sufficiency.
Now the Tartak family focus is on formalising their giving program under the single umbrella of the Skylife Foundation. “We have had our success and it is now time for us to really give back,” Mark explains. “It is part of us, it is our responsibility, and is what makes it all worthwhile. We genuinely believe the Foundation can make a serious difference to those in need. There are a lot of good people doing good things in the world, and we want to help them.”