People and Places
29/04/2019
Philanthropy, salad dressing and Paul Newman By Liz Rogers

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Sue Home has lived in Red Hill South for about 30 years. She’s worked in the wine industry with her husband, had a public relations business, and loves playing bridge and mah-jong and pottering around in the garden. She’s also had dinner in New York with the actor, producer and philanthropist Joanne Woodward and her daughters.

She explains: “I was invited to celebrate the donation of $300 million world-wide by the Newman’s Own Foundation about six or seven years ago. The foundation is actually based in Westport, Connecticut, where Paul lived. We used to correspond by fax with each other back then. It was before email. I was the Australian representative of the foundation. There were originally three women in America and just me in Australia, and for the first nine years it was solely run by women. Of course, now there are staff right across the world, in the UK, NZ and Canada. Paul loved working with women. The event was fabulous, although very understated, but that’s what both Joanne and Paul were like. Paul used to say, ‘From salad dressings all blessings flow’. He always doubted his acting ability but he knew he was the best cook around. He began making his salad dressing in his kitchen with a mate and people would come from all around to taste it until he decided to go commercial. All profits were and continue to be donated. Within the first year he had $20,000 to allocate to Australia.”

Newman’s Own Foundation has just announced $1.5 million in donations for Australian-based charities in 2019, including a focus on regional youth. Sue continues: “Paul had an enduring passion for disadvantage kids. I learnt about philanthropy from him. Do you know what philanthropy means? Love of mankind. Putting the time and effort into other people and getting on with things. My parents were like that too. They believed in helping people. Paul used to give an amount to each staff member on their birthday, which they could donate to a charity of choice.”

This community-first woman retired from the Newman’s Own Foundation five years ago after 30 years’ commitment but remains active in an advisory role. Current Australian adviser Dimity Pinto says Sue is “an inspiration and has played a vital role in Paul Newman’s legacy in Australia”. When Sue retired she was given $250,000 to give to a charity of her choice and she chose the Lord Somers Camp, with which she’d had a long association. She asked them what their needs were and met them. She also helped start the not-for-profit Sisterworks program, which helps vulnerable migrant, asylum seeker and refugee women become financially independent. All from Red Hill South.

Now that’s philanthropy.

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