Westpac backs Australia’s social sector with almost $2 million funding to Social Change Fellowships and Social Scale-Up Grants

2018 Westpac Social Change Fellows

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation today announced its 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellowships, recognising nine inspiring individuals who are committed to creating positive social change in Australia.


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


This year’s recipients include social leaders across a number of sectors including emerging leaders like Mikhara Ramsing, Founder of Ethnic LGBT+ through to more established social entrepreneurs, Laura O’Reilly, Founder of Fighting Chance and Karn Ghosh, Founder of Hit100.


“We’re excited to provide this impressive group of social leaders with opportunities to further their professional development and create new and expanded networks,” said Susan Bannigan, CEO of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.


“Now in its third year, one of the most valued parts of the Westpac Social Change Fellowship is the connections made through meeting industry-leading organisations and fellow entrepreneurs, both in Australia and overseas, as well as being able to tap into Westpac’s extensive network.”


Meanwhile, applications are now open for 2018 Social Scale-up Grants offered through sister fund, Westpac Foundation. The program will award a total of $1.5 million to five not-for-profit social enterprises who are committed to creating jobs and training for those who face significant barriers to entering the mainstream job market, or are excluded from the workforce.


In addition to funding, successful organisations will also be supported with business mentoring and access to the skills and resources of Westpac Group.


“Since 2016, through the Social Scale-up Grants, we’re now backing ten social enterprises who together are expected to support more than 2,000 currently unemployed Australians into jobs by 2020,” continued Susan.


“Westpac has a long history of supporting Australian communities and social enterprises, and the Social Scale-up Grants and Social Change Fellowships are just two examples of how we’re continuing to build on this track record to support future growth and prosperity.”


Meet our 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellows: 


Laura O’Reilly – Fighting Chance


Joel Pilgrim – Waves of Wellness


Helen Black – WorkRestart


Mathew Bowtell – Free 3D Hands


Karn Ghosh – Hit100


Madeleine Buchner – Little Dreamers


Mikhara Ramsing – Ethnic LGBT+


Lucinda Hartley – Neighbourlytics


Find out more, visit Westpac Social Change Fellowship here


Published 7 Feb 2018 

Related articles

Five lessons on social leadership

In May this year, I had the opportunity to spend a week with an amazing group of leaders, who are all recipients of this year’s Westpac Social Change Fellowship. With their support, I learned a lot about what it takes to become a leader, about how to lead no matter where you stand, and why leadership matters when you are working for purpose and values.

Meet 10 social entrepreneurs making Australia more inclusive

Driven to find solutions for difficult social issues surrounding health, disability, disadvantage and unemployment, Westpac Social Change Fellows are leading change to create a more equitable future for Australia.

Gaining a global perspective

2022 Westpac Social Change Fellow Joe Kwon has returned from a month of travel with renewed vigour for influencing the reform of the Australian prison system.