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Westpac offers $500,000 worth of grants for social innovators

Westpac has opened applications for social innovators to take part in a Fellowship grant and leadership program

Westpac is commencing the search for grant recipients to reap in the awards of a $500,000 boost to community work and leadership programs.

The 2019 Westpac Social Change Fellowship will grant 10 recipients with a $50,000 Fellowship, which includes tailored support to help develop skills, knowledge and networks needed to create positive social change.

CEO of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, Susan Bannigan, said the program would be beneficial to a social innovator, adding: “The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is highly impactful and supports both established and emerging social leaders.”

As part of the Fellowship, recipients will undergo a four month Leadership Program which includes the option of securing a business mentor through Westpac.

Victorian 2017 recipient, Naba Alfayadh, founder of Happy Brain Education, spent six months working on leadership and management skills with Silvana Pizzino in Westpac’s Human Resources team in the Commercial Bank.

“After the mentoring with Silvana, Happy Brain Education went from a simple tutoring charity with one program to an impactful social change organisation with six programs in two states,” Alfayadh said.

2017 recipient, Sarah Gun, founder of GOGO events, added that the Westpac Social Change Fellowship had proved transformational for her personally and professionally.

Gun converted her corporate event business to a social enterprise in 2012 with the aim to create employment opportunities for people at risk. Using the grant, Gun also expanded her professional networks and learnt social enterprise models.

“Visiting social enterprises across the world helped me gain an understanding of the uniqueness of each enterprise, the many and varied models, and the ecosystems in which they have evolved and been nurtured,” Gun said.

Since completing the Fellowship, Gun has gone on to launch Social Change HQ and Collab4Good to drive more collaboration and social change in South Australia.

“Westpac believed in me and my vision. They had my back. They saw the significance and value of what I was fighting for. And they have committed, not just for one year, but for the long haul through the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.”

Westpac will give the public the opportunity to nominate an individual who is creating social change through their work, no matter their sector.

“Social innovators aren’t always working in the social sector. We want to reach those individuals outside the sector who are working on highly impactful programs that are addressing a social issue facing Australia,” Bannigan said.

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