In April 2020, we announced our A$20 million Community Support Fund which is supporting our host communities with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching the Fund, a number of health, livelihood and economic recovery initiatives have been funded such as a partnership with the University of Queensland to support COVID-19 vaccine research, a contribution to the cost of new lost-cost ventilators and partnering with international organisations to deliver medical supplies, equipment, infrastructure and services in Papua New Guinea.
The Board and I were pleased to see the support from our shareholders in response to the equity raising in the period. We successfully completed a A$1 billion placement for institutional investors and raised A$200 million from our upsized Share Placement Plan. These funds, together with our free cash flow generation, ensure that Newcrest remains in a strong financial position and is well positioned to fund its future growth options.
Taking into account our strong financial position and considering our expected future capital requirements and market conditions, the Board has determined to pay a fully franked final dividend of US 17.5 cents per share, taking our total dividend for the year to US 25 cents per share. This equates to total dividends for the financial year representing 30% of the full year free cash flow before M&A activity. This full year dividend is in line with our dividend policy that states that the total dividend payout is at least 10 to 30% of annual free cash flow, with the total annual dividend being no less than US15 cents per share. This is the fifth consecutive year of increasing dividend payments to shareholders.
In September 2020 we announced the resignation of Xiaoling Liu and the appointment of Sally-Anne Layman to the Board. I would like to thank Xiaoling for her strong contribution to the Board and its Committees over the last 5 years, bringing to bear her extensive global mining experience. With her considerable resources and corporate finance experience, I expect Sally-Anne will make an excellent contribution to the Board.
Newcrest holds a unique position in the market, with its long reserve life, low cost production, organic growth options, strong exploration and technical capabilities and a financially robust balance sheet. The Board is confident about the Company’s prospects under the leadership of a strong and committed management team. We thank you for your ongoing support.