Balcatta’s Fortuna Advisory Group raising money to buy laundry van for homeless people

Jason Ip, Dinesh Aggarwal, Tony Smith, Mili Aggarwal and Melvyn Gilbert from Fortuna Foundation. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Jason Ip, Dinesh Aggarwal, Tony Smith, Mili Aggarwal and Melvyn Gilbert from Fortuna Foundation. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

THE belief that it only takes a few people to make a difference is the driving force behind a group of Balcatta colleagues’ fundraising effort.

Work colleagues at Fortuna Advisory Group, who established Fortuna Foundation, are aiming to raise $60,000 to improve the lives of people living on the streets.

The group, Melvyn Gilbert (West Perth), Jason Ip (Ardross), Tony Smith (Karrinyup), Mili Aggarwal and Dinesh Aggarwal (Sorrento), hopes to raise the money for a van fitted with washing machines and dryers.

The idea is to help give homeless people dignity through self-care and hygiene with clean clothes. Each wash is expected to cost between $3-4.

Money will be raised to purchase the van at a free public art auction on February 28 during a Fortuna Sundowner at the Fortuna Advisory Group’s Erindale Road offices.

Senior accountant and brand manager Melvyn Gilbert (West Perth) said the “crazy idea came up over coffee” after they decided they wanted to do something about the problem of homelessness.

Dinesh Aggarwal and Melvyn Gilbert from Fortuna Foundation with artwork by William Water (Kolkata) for auction. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

“Homelessness is a major problem in WA and we want to help fill a gap by working collaboratively with Orange Sky, which also has a van offering clothes cleaning services to people who are homeless or disadvantaged,” he said.

“Clean clothes is a basic human necessity, a matter of hygiene that gives you confidence, something that people on the streets need.

“We wish we could build houses but we are small and we don’t have huge amounts of funds.”

Mr Gilbert said although the foundation wasn’t able to offer monumental solutions to people living rough, the group believed that by making a small difference it would have an overall impact on people’s lives.

“It makes me think of Mother Teresa when she said something like, ‘one drop in the ocean is not much but if that was not there then the ocean would be less by one, one drop’,” he said.

“If every company or group of people did something little to help the problem then it would make a huge difference.”

Mr Gilbert said the group was partnering with churches and community services to station the van and run off a generator with water connections – around Perth and the southern suburbs.

Art for sale at the sundowner are from Mr Gilbert’s personal collection that he bought from English artist William Waters, who he met in India and who sold hundreds of artworks to fund his cancer treatment.

All money raised from the sale of the art will go towards buying the specially designed van.

Fortuna Sundowner

Free event

5.30-7.30pm Wednesday, February 28

Fortuna Advisory Group

Suite 1.02, 110 Erindale Road, Balcatta.

To register, go to

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