Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Media releases

Westpac backs 10 social change innovators with $50,000 fellowship

27 February, 2017

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has today announced its 2017 Westpac Social Change Fellowships, recognising 10 inspiring individuals focused on bringing positive social change to Australians.


This year’s recipients include seasoned social innovators Luke Terry, Executive Director of Toowoomba Clubhouse and Jordan O’Reilly, founder of Hireup, as well as emerging social leaders including GOGO Events’ Sarah Gun and Happy Brain Education’s Masad Alfayadh - all with a common purpose to build a better future for all Australians.


Now in its second year, the Westpac Social Change Fellowship is valued up to $50,000 per scholarship and focuses on the individual and their potential to drive change. It is designed to give ten recipients each year the opportunity to broaden their skills, knowledge and networks, ultimately fast tracking their ability to tackle some of Australia’s entrenched social issues.


Susan Bannigan, CEO, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, said the Westpac Social Change Fellowship takes an alternative approach to social funding, investing in the capacity of people to drive positive social change.


"We work closely with each recipient to create and fund a personal development plan that will provide them with new insights and learnings they can apply to their own social initiatives. This may involve a global study tour, attending international conferences or short courses, and various networking opportunities, depending on their needs.


“The Fellowship is about identifying and investing in leaders from any sector, not just the social sector. In addition to some great social entrepreneurs, we have health professionals, business leaders, and an architect, amongst our first two years of fellows.” said Susan.


Sarah Gun, one of this year’s recipients, transitioned her corporate events company, GOGO Events, from a general business to a social enterprise two years ago, so she could give homeless people in South Australia the opportunity to gain meaningful employment. She will use her fellowship to investigate social enterprise models throughout Europe, bringing her learnings back to Australia to take her social enterprise to the next level.


“The Westpac Social Change Fellowship presents a wonderful opportunity to scale-up GOGO Events and thereby increase our social impact; to explore new social enterprise models for social inclusion of the marginalised and homeless; and to connect across the globe with social change makers and bring these learnings and initiatives back to Australia.” said Sarah.


Beyond the financial investment of the Fellowship, every Westpac Social Change Fellow will gain lifelong access to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network. Growing by 100 scholars a year across Westpac’s five scholarship programs, this network will connect those with bold ideas to build a better future for all Australians.


“Every Westpac Scholar will have lifelong access to mentorship, collaboration, learning and development opportunities through the Westpac Scholars Network.” said Susan.


The full list of this year’s Westpac Social Change Fellows are:


Social Initiative

Masad Alfayadh

Happy Brain Education

Chris Ennis

CERES Fair Food

Sarah Gun

GOGO Events

Nicholas Maisey


Jordan O’Reilly


Chris Raine

Hello Sunday Morning

Christina Ryan

Disability Leadership Institute

Bronwyn Sheehan

The Pyjama Foundation

Julia Suh

Urban Toolbox

Luke Terry

Toowoomba Clubhouse

About Westpac Bicentennial Foundation:

The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is one of five scholarships offered through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation. The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation was created in 2014 with a $100 million gift to the nation, to help to support individuals with the drive and imagination to shape the future of Australia. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will award 100 scholarships a year, forever.


In 2017, the first 200 scholars will have been selected in the year of Westpac’s 200th anniversary.


For more information go to