Funding scholarships for disadvantaged students
My wife Julianne and I moved to the Northern Rivers in 2001 after a corporate life spanning 35 years and appointments in Fiji, the UK, NZ and Australia. Soon after I met John Bennett who asked me to become involved in the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, becoming a director for around 10 years. John and I spearheaded the fundraising activity in those early days and during this period I became aware of the broad range of social issues requiring support across the region.
The problems faced by people struggling to support themselves at university resonated with me – for example school leavers from single parent families or remote communities, mature age students wanting to advance their education but held back by family responsibilities, a history of abuse or illness. Single mothers, economically disadvantaged by circumstances is a significant group.
I know from personal experience how important a good education is to bring out the full potential of a person, enable a rewarding life for the individual and to provide support to their family. My university education was funded by a scholarship, providing me with an education to the doctorate level that otherwise I might not have had. This experience motivated me to find a way to assist people who were experiencing difficulties due to disadvantage.
A NRCF sub fund was the perfect way to provide this support. Discussions with the Vice Chancellor at Southern Cross University resulted in the SCU-Bowen Education Scholarship being established with equal contributions by the university and Julianne and me. Donations to this fund are pooled and invested in perpetuity with the earnings used to fund scholarships for students facing disadvantage. Two students have received a scholarship each year since the sub fund was established in 2007, assisting 26 students over this time. It has been rewarding to see so many of these students achieve outstanding results in their studies despite the difficult circumstances they have faced.
The sub fund continues to grow and will get a substantial boost from a generous bequest from John Bennett and Jennifer Regan, enabling many more students to be supported in the future. I encourage anyone with an interest in helping people with their education to support this sub fund, enabling more students experiencing disadvantage to benefit now. Long term, bequests will make a big difference and I also encourage everyone to consider including a bequest in their will in support of the Foundation.
If you are interested in leaving a long-lasting legacy in our region, consider setting up a Named Fund with the NRCF, or making a bequest. Find more information on the Giving Page of our website here or feel free to contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 0499 862 886.