Westpac Social Change Scholar Jeremy Forbes.

Westpac Social Change Fellow Jeremy Forbes

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has opened applications for the next cohort of its Social Change Fellowships, with 10 social entrepreneurs to receive mentoring and personal development support through the program.

Valued at up to $50,000 each, the fellowships will provide each recipient with tailored support over six months to help them develop the skills, knowledge and networks needed to accelerate their growth as a social innovator.

The fellowships can be used to cover things like travel and accommodation (either within Australia or overseas), personal development costs, reasonable personal expenses and (in some cases) a salary allowance.
The scholarship also includes access to a four month leadership program and the option of securing a business mentor through Westpac.

Aside from applicants submitting themselves for consideration, this year people can nominate someone else who they feel is doing work that creates a positive change in the community.

However, all applicants and nominees will need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18 and have an existing initiative that addresses a social need within Australia.

Participants in the 2018 cohort included Laura O’Reilly (Fighting Chance), Joel Pilgrim (Waves of Wellness), Helen Black (Business Behind Bars), Mathew Bowtell (Free 3D Hands), Karn Ghosh (Hit 100), Madeleine Buchner (Little Dreamers), Mikhara Ramsing (Ethnic LGBT+), Ben Abbatangelo (AIME) and Lucinda Hartley (Neighbourlytics).

Unlike previous years, the 2019 program is open to people from all sectors, meaning the participants don’t have to work full-time for a social enterprise or not-for-profit to be selected.

Applications opened on 11 July, with an information webinar scheduled for 13 August ahead of submissions closing on 20 August. The participants will then be notified in December, with the fellowship kicking off in January or February of 2019.

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation CEO Susan Bannigan said the program is “highly impactful and supports both established and emerging social leaders”.

“Whether someone has only recently established themselves or they are 10 years into their social initiative, the Westpac Social Change Fellowship can provide them with the resources, networks and opportunities they need personally to grow as a social leader.

“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.”

For more information about the Westpac Social Change Fellowship, and to nominate or apply, visit westpac.com.au/scholarships/