A $100 M initiative is available to support education and advancement of the Australians.
The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history, was being launched by the Westpac Group Chairman, Mr Lindsay Maxsted, Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Gail Kelly, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP as part of its approaching 200th anniversary year in 2017.
The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is designed to support Australians who are shaping a better Australia, while also supporting and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders.
The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation builds on an already strong commitment to contributing to the communities. In 2013, the community contributions totalled $131 million. In addition, four existing charitable funds – Westpac Foundation, St George Foundation, Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund and BankSA & Staff Charitable Fund – last year distributed more than $4.1 million in grants to support charities and social enterprises.
Westpac Group Chairman, Mr Lindsay Maxsted said during the launch that the fund is a substantial, enduring initiative that would reflect Westpac Group’s commitment to Australia and its continued prosperity.
Westpac Bicentennial Foundation centred their scholarships around three focus areas which they believe are at the heart of Australia’s future growth and prosperity, and central to their own focus as an organisation:
- Technology and innovation: digitisation is changing almost every element of everyday life. We want Australia to stay at the forefront of this revolution.
- Australia-Asia ties: Australia is uniquely positioned to share in the rapid rise of Asia, with our deep cultural, political and economic relationships. We want to strengthen these bonds.
- Positive social change: Social entrepreneurship is fast becoming a distinctive part of the nation’s social, economic and political fabric. We want Australia to keep drawing strength from this phenomenon.
Details of the Scholarships
Scholarships and awards will be granted by the Foundation in partnership with Australian universities. Currently planned scholarships and awards programs are:
- Future Leaders scholarships will be awarded to new or recent graduates for post-graduate study at a prestigious global institution. Nationally, around 17 scholarships will be awarded each year. Recipients will come from a wide range of disciplines, with preference given to Australia’s relationship with Asia and Technology & Innovation.
- Best and Brightest program will provide awards to post-doctoral researchers in Australia’s leading research universities. Two recipients are expected to be selected each year whose work could contribute to enhancing Australia’s competitive position in technology and innovation, or towards helping strengthen Australia’s ties with Asian economies
- The Young Technologists program will offer 30 to 40 three-year undergraduate scholarships each year, awarded for merit, to encourage diversity (women are heavily under-represented in technology disciplines) and to overcome economic disadvantage.
- Asian Exchange scholarships will provide the opportunity for Australian undergraduate students to spend a semester at a leading Asian University, with a focus on increasing the number of Asia-literate graduates in Australia. About 30 to 40 scholarships will be provided each year.
- The Community Leaders program will provide 10 awards annually to community leaders to undertake a personal educational opportunity that will have a direct value to their community.
The programs will be developed progressively and are expected to be fully operational by 2017.
A one-off contribution of $100 million will fund around 100 scholarships and awards every year in perpetuity to Australians from all walks of life who have the potential to shape Australia’s future.