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Westpac backs Australia’s social sector with $1.95 million funding to Social Change Fellowships and Social Scale-Up Grants

07 February, 2018


  • Nine social change innovators named as 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellows
  • Applications now open for Westpac Foundation Social Scale-up Grants, with $1.5 million total funding available

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has today announced its 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellowships, recognising nine inspiring individuals who are committed to creating positive social change in Australia.

Valued at up to $50,000 each, the scholarships will provide each recipient with tailored support that will help develop the skills, knowledge and networks needed to accelerate their growth as a social innovator.

This year’s recipients include social leaders across a number of areas including:

  • Ben Abbatangelo, Deputy CEO of AIME – providing mentoring and educational services for Indigenous high school students to close the education gap.
  • Mikhara Ramsing, Founder of Ethnic LGBT+ – providing support, education, resources and mentoring for culturally and linguistically diverse individuals.
  • Laura O’Reilly, Founder of Fighting Chance – delivering impact and innovation to Australia’s disability sector.
  • Karn Ghosh, Founder of Hit 100 – providing healthcare and support to the disability sector to create healthy communities.

“We’re excited to provide this impressive group of social leaders with opportunities to further their professional development and create new and expanded networks,” said Susan Bannigan, CEO of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

“Now in its third year, one of the most valued parts of the Westpac Social Change Fellowship is the connections made through meeting industry-leading organisations and fellow entrepreneurs, both in Australia and overseas, as well as being able to tap into Westpac’s extensive network.”

Meanwhile, applications are now open for 2018 Social Scale-up Grants offered through Westpac Foundation. The program will award a total of $1.5 million to five not-for-profit social enterprises who are committed to creating jobs and training for those who face significant barriers to entering the mainstream job market, or are excluded from the workforce.

In addition to funding, successful organisations will also be supported with business mentoring and access to the skills and resources of Westpac Group.

“Since 2016, through the Social Scale-up Grants, we’re now backing ten social enterprises who together are expected to support more than 2,000 currently unemployed Australians into jobs by 2020,” continued Susan.

“Westpac has a long history of supporting Australian communities and social enterprises, and the Social Scale-up Grants and Social Change Fellowships are just two examples of how we’re continuing to build on this track record to support future growth and prosperity.”

Applications for the 2018 Westpac Foundation Social Scale-up Grants are open now until 5 March 2018. For more information and to apply, visit > Grants > Social Scale-up Grants.

For more information about the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation and 2018 Social Change Fellowships, visit


Notes to the editor

About the Westpac Social Change Fellowship

The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is one of five scholarships offered through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation. The scholarships were 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.


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


About the Westpac Foundation

Westpac Foundation is a charitable organisation with a legacy that dates back 138 years. Today, Westpac Foundation continues to support social enterprises and local grassroots organisations taking a fresh approach to addressing complex social problems, borrowing the best from business and the social sector to create more opportunities for Australia’s most disadvantaged. Since 1999, Westpac Foundation has granted more than $35 million to over 590 not-for-profit organisations and remains steadfast in its goal to help open doors to social and financial inclusion for fellow Australians experiencing disadvantage.


About the 2018 Social Scale-up Grants

Applications for the Westpac Foundation 2018 Social Scale-up Grants open from 1 February until 5 March 2018, and eligible to not-for-profit social enterprises creating jobs and employment pathways for fellow Australians. To apply, organisations will need to complete a Self-Assessment survey. Organisations can also register for a free ‘Social Scale-up 2018 Overview’ webinar.