The Pinnacle Foundation lighting the spark within

The Pinnacle Foundation Light the SparkThe Pinnacle Foundation is a national charity that provides educational scholarships and mentoring support to marginalised or disadvantaged LGBT+ youth aged 17 – 26 across Australia, attending University, College or TAFE.

Too many young LGBT+ people suffer from crushing discrimination and loss of parental support when coming out. When rejected by their families, communities or faiths, their self-esteem and mental health suffers and often they often lose the environment, money and the support needed to keep up their studies.

Since 2009, the Foundation have been providing scholarships and mentoring to LGBT+ youth who are marginalised or disadvantaged because of their gender or sexual identity. The Foundation was set up by a group of professionals who saw a significant need in the community that was not being met, with the aim of giving our students the chance to achieve their full potential.

To date, the Foundation has awarded 190 scholarships to 122 students in diverse professional fields including Medicine, Education, Business, Music, Law, Science, Creative Design, Journalism and Humanitarian Services. By funding their education in high school, TAFE or uni, we turn vulnerable youth into accomplished students and future leaders.

Financial support is critical for our Scholars, however, of equal importance and what differentiates The Pinnacle Foundation, is our Mentor Programme. The Foundation aims to match sexual or gender identity, location and academic/professional interests of both Scholar and Mentor – who are successful in their chosen field and are there to encourage, inspire, guide and motivate the Scholars.

Every Pinnacle Scholar is matched with a carefully screened mentor who provides wise counsel throughout the scholarship period. In many cases, mentors will have achieved the ‘pinnacle’ of their careers and will be able to impart some of life’s most important lessons, and often the lessons learned from their own journey, to scholarship recipients.

The Pinnacle Foundation helps young LGBT+ Australians overcome social disadvantage to go on to:
● Get immersed in their studies with fewer emotional or financial distractions
● Pursue life ambitions and achieving their full potential, creating easier career pathways
● Display improved mental and physical wellbeing, becoming stronger and more resilient
● Become social justice advocates and help those that follow.

2018 is the year that the Foundation matured and expanded in many ways. This year, 38 scholarships, (selected from over 400 applications) have been awarded – which is as many as the first 3 years since the Foundation was founded.

The Pinnacle Foundation is the only Australian charity providing educational or vocational support to this vulnerable section for the community. We do not receive any government funding, and rely on the generosity of private donors, philanthropic entities and corporate supporters. Individual giving is the single-most important source of funds for the Foundation.

Applications for the 2019 Pinnacle Scholarships are now open and close Monday 1 October 2018. For more information, visit: www.thepinnaclefoundation.org for details.

Image: courtesy of The Pinnacle Foundation

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