Westpac Delivers $100M Education Scholarship Program
3 April 2014 at 10:58 am
Banking giant Westpac has launched what it has described as the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history as part of its new Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.
Westpac says the new charitable Foundation will have an exclusive focus on the education and advancement of Australians and will include specific scholarships for community leaders.
Westpac says a one-off contribution of $100 million will fund about 100 scholarships and awards every year in perpetuity to Australians from all walks of life who have the potential to shape Australia’s future.
The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation was launched by the Group Chairman Lindsay Maxsted, Chief Executive Officer Gail Kelly and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, as part of the bank’s approaching 200th anniversary year in 2017.
“As we head towards the celebration of our 200th anniversary, we wanted to create a substantial, enduring initiative that would reflect Westpac’s commitment to Australia and its continued prosperity,” Lindsay Maxsted said.
“The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is designed to support Australians who are shaping a better Australia, while also supporting and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders, and we are proud to be able to provide around 100 scholarships and awards each year.”
Gail Kelly said there was a link between the new Foundation and Westpac’s long history of supporting communities.
“We strongly believe that as a vital part of the Australian community, Westpac has a responsibility to play a role in ensuring we capitalise on every opportunity to help nurture future leaders,” Kelly said.
“The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation builds on our already strong commitment to contributing to our communities. In 2013, our community contributions totalled $131 million.
“This is in addition to The Family of Giving, which encompasses our four existing charitable funds of Westpac Foundation, St George Foundation, Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund and BankSA & Staff Charitable Fund, which last year distributed more than $4.1 million in grants to support charities and social enterprises.”
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, about 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 and 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.
Westpac says the programs will be developed progressively and are expected to be fully operational by 2017.
The one-off $100 million contribution will be reflected in Westpac’s Second Half 2014 statutory results. Details can be found at www.westpac.com.au.