Helping people with diabetes: Leo Tutt FCPA

Leo Tutt FCPA is passionate about aiding people with diabetes.

Leo Tutt FCPA received Order of Australia membership for his charity work helping people with diabetes.

By Katie Langmore

It’s not unusual to find that people who volunteer their time often have a personal interest in the cause for which they volunteer. Talking to Leo Tutt FCPA, however, it’s clear within the first five minutes that his passion for his cause runs particularly deep.

“I’ve always volunteered my time for various causes, even back at university, but I decided I really wanted to do it for people with diabetes,” Tutt says. “I cared about it, I wanted to help people and give back and that’s still what drives me. I feel incredibly passionate about it.”

Tutt’s dedication to the cause is partly due to having type 1 diabetes himself, which was diagnosed during his time at university. “I’d done my economics degree and was doing my law degree,” he recalls. “During this time, I applied for some vacation work at an accounting firm and had to fill out a health form. I ticked that I had type 1 diabetes and was informed that ‘we don’t employ people with that condition’. It was a wake-up call to the stigma that health conditions can carry.” By 1998, Tutt was volunteering for Diabetes NSW & ACT.

Tutt’s passion for supporting the diabetes community is both sincere and infectious, making him a profoundly effective philanthropist. So effective, in fact, he has served as director of Diabetes NSW & ACT since 2001 and was appointed chair of the board in 2010.

In June 2018, he was also appointed a member of the Order of Australia for his “tireless work in advocating for people with diabetes, which has been an inspiration to many”, says Diabetes Australia independent president and chair Judi Moylan AO.

Tutt says he was humbled and delighted to receive the appointment, adding that he accepted it on behalf of his family, which is just as passionate about the cause and supporting the community.

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“My wife, Sarah, is as equally philanthropic as myself [and is] recognised for her many years of service at Meals on Wheels, as well as being a palliative care volunteer. My youngest son is also a palliative care volunteer, my daughter is an ambassador for Heart Research Australia and my eldest son is studying medicine, whilst supporting Indigenous youth in a mentoring program.”

Tutt reinforces the fact that accountants frequently bring great value to philanthropic work. “A CPA is someone who has business acumen, a professional approach and an ethical grounding,” he says. “If an accountant turns up and says, ‘how can I help?’ most organisations would be incredibly grateful,” adding that he finds “the rewards enormous and the benefits very tangible”.

Indeed, one of the most rewarding elements of his work with Diabetes NSW & ACT and Diabetes Australia has been providing financial support to an International Diabetes Federation program called Life for a Child, which has provided insulin to more than 17,000 impoverished children and young people with type 1 diabetes in over 46 countries.

“Over many years, supporting that program is one of the things I’m most proud of,” Tutt says, though he can provide a long list of Diabetes Australia’s national achievements. 

Of course, Tutt is managing his demanding philanthropic work while simultaneously putting his all into his role as director and group leader of audit and assurance at William Buck. “When you live and breathe your philanthropic work, it’s a massive time commitment but it’s unquantifiable,” he says.

“Practically, I guess Diabetes [Australia] takes up one weekend a month, and at least a day a week, but my partners at William Buck are incredibly supportive, and busy people are good at finding time to achieve outcomes.” In Tutt’s case, that rings especially true.

About Diabetes Australia

Diabetes Australia was established in 1984 and is the national body for people affected by all types of diabetes and those at risk. Through leadership, prevention, management and research, the organisation is committed to reducing the impact of diabetes. In collaboration with state and territory diabetes organisations and through assisting with the administration of the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), Diabetes Australia provides practical assistance, information and subsidised products to almost 1.1 million Australians diagnosed with diabetes.

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