The Pinnacle Foundation has announced it will provide scholarships and mentoring to 29 new and continuing LGBT+ scholars, aged between 18 and 24, from around Australia to assist in their secondary or tertiary education.
This year, the scheme received a record number of applications, and has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to assist the group of young scholars in completing their studies in High School, TAFE or University. Scholarships awarded to all 29 selected scholars will cover a range of academic disciplines across the Arts, Science, Business, Law, Finance, Education and Social Work.
The Pinnacle Foundation empowers young LGBT+ Australians to achieve their full potential and transform society for the better. Founded in 2009 and funded entirely by the generosity of individual donors and corporate supporters, over the past seven years Pinnacle has provided more than $400,000 in grants. Aside from the financial scholarship, scholars are matched with an accomplished mentor who shares the career guidance, life skills, and community involvement they have gained throughout their own journey.
“Pinnacle exists to provide educational scholarships and mentoring to young LGBT+ students who need support, no matter what their chosen field may be,” said Pinnacle CEO and co-founder Sean Linkson. “We are always inspired by the potential we see in these amazing students, and feel privileged to offer opportunities and inspiration to the bright, talented and ambitious young Scholars of 2017.”
The Pinnacle Foundation is Australia’s only national charity providing financial assistance and personalised mentoring to marginalised LGBT+ students whose circumstances might prevent them from achieving their full potential. In December 2016, Pinnacle announced a significant strengthening of its Board along with a goal to double its endowment fund to $2 million by 2020, allowing even more annual scholarships to be offered.
New 2017 scholar, Jordan Brown, (18), who is studying for a Bachelor of Law/Communications at UTS in Sydney said of the scholarship: “During a time where I am fully discovering myself, I feel that receiving this scholarship not only supports my education, but also my identity as I enter a new and exciting chapter of my life. Coming from a rural area, this was something that I had missed out on.”
“Receiving this scholarship has been incredibly reassuring, recognising the struggles that I and many other queer teens have during their high schooling. The Pinnacle Foundation lets me know that I am not in this alone, and that there are many others just like me who because of their sexual identity, struggle to reach their full potential as a student.”
In Southern Queensland, Angel St James, was awarded a scholarship in 2016, is a returning Scholar in 2017, and studying a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Creative Writing. “In 2016, I was humbled and honoured to be welcomed into the Pinnacle family. I am incredibly excited for another year brimming with possibility as this scholarship continues to enable me to fully focus on my studies and becoming the person I need to be to pursue my dreams and make a difference in the world.”
“I remain eternally grateful for my mentor, whose continued support is invaluable, and is instrumental in developing my confidence and belief in myself. Truthfully, I cannot express the depth of my gratitude to the Pinnacle Foundation for this opportunity of a lifetime and for its remarkable, inspiring work for the LGBT+ community.”
Principal sponsor The Commonwealth Bank, will for the third year dedicate financial, volunteering and technical support to sponsor eight scholarships around the country. The Bank is among several generous private benefactors, trusts and foundations who provide scholarships for study in a particular field.
For more information and full list of recipients, visit: www.thepinnaclefoundation.org for details.
Image: Scholars at the Inauguration Day with patron The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG (supplied)