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Westpac launches Australia’s largest ever private scholarship fund

2 April 2014

 Westpac today launched the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history, the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

Through the proceeds of Westpac’s $100 million grant, around 100 scholarships will be awarded every year, in perpetuity, through the new Foundation, to educate and advance people who have the potential to shape Australia’s future.

At the launch, Westpac Group Chairman, Mr Lindsay Maxsted said the fund is a substantial, enduring initiative that would reflect Westpac Group’s commitment to Australia and its continued prosperity.
 
“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.”

“Over the next century, 100 scholarships a year will be awarded through our new fund - that’s more than 10,000 scholarships. We are confident this fellowship of Westpac Scholars will play leading roles in Australia, Asia and the world in the years and decades to come.”

Westpac Chief Executive Mrs Gail Kelly emphasised the 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.

“The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation builds on our already strong commitment to contributing to our communities. In 2013, our community contributions totalled $131 million.  In addition, our 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.

“Our new Foundation will ensure we continue to play our part in shaping Australia’s future and economic prosperity,” she said.

Details of the Scholarships

 The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation will receive a one-off grant from Westpac Group of $100 million. Proceeds from the endowment will be used to fund five specific scholarship programs in partnership with Australian universities.

The programs will be developed progressively and are expected to be fully operational by 2017, when 200 scholarships will be offered to mark Westpac’s bicentenary. The five scholarship programs are:

Future Leaders

Awarded to new or recent graduates for post-graduate study at a 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

Provide awards to post-doctoral researchers in Australia’s leading research universities. Two recipients are expected to be selected each year whose work will enhance Australia’s competitive position in technology and innovation, or who will help strengthen Australia’s ties with Asian economies.

Young Technologists

Offering 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

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.

Community Leaders

Will provide 10 awards annually to community leaders to undertake a personal educational opportunity that will have a direct value to their community..

More details can be found at www.westpac.com.au/200years.

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