Author's Name: Eddy Giacomel
Date: Thu 02 Mar 2023

Support for The Pinnacle Foundation 2023

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Kay Durrant introduced Paul Ward, WA Committee Chair of The Pinnacle Foundation. As a secondary education scholarship recipient himself, Paul has had first hand experience of how the gift of education can change a life. Currently working for BHP, he is a technology expert with more than twenty-five years experience. Paul related his own story telling us that, while discrimination at school was limited to bullying, it did prevent him from developing and becoming his whole self both at school and university.

Introduced into Australia in 2009, the Pinnacle Foundation provides scholarships, mentoring and opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ Australians between the ages of 17 - 26. It awards multi-year scholarships nationally to students for fulltime study at public higher education institutions in Australia, to achieve educational or vocational qualifications in any profession, trade or the arts. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or sexual characteristics, they have been prevented from achieving their academic aspirations. The vision is to empower them to achieve their full potential, thus transforming Australian society for the better.

Scholars are matched with a mentor, who monitors their progress, both scholastic and emotional, and helps them to feel like they belong. They are also expected to give back to the community. Through its program, Pinnacle enables disadvantaged LGBTIQ+ youth to become self reliant, maintain their dignity and give back themselves.

Studies have shown that LGBTIQ+ people are 5 to 11 times more likely to “self-harm” and 42% to 74% feel unsafe in education. Student numbers benefiting from scholarships have grown from 44 in 2020 to 72 in 2022.

The Foundation is reliant on donations, combined with the passionate contributions of volunteers, to deliver its program across the country. It runs various fund-raising activities and receives corporate support from several organisations, including the Commonwealth Bank, BHP and Ro Tinto. Read more on the Pinnacle Foundation website.

As part of our Vocational Service funding this Rotary year, and following the RI and RC Karrinyup strategy of Diversity and Inclusion, the Rotary Club of Karrinyup donated $1000 to the Foundation.

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