Chairman's Message 2016
This past year brought some exciting changes for the George Alexander Foundation. We have a new CEO, Craig Connelly, who took the helm in December 2015. Although new to the philanthropic sector, Craig has embraced the philosophy and ethos of the Foundation, taking time in his first six months to visit our partner institutions and meeting with many current GAF scholars and fellows across Australia.
Early in 2016, the Foundation published a new edition of the biography of George Alexander, ‘The little brother'. The previous edition was published in 2006 before George Alexander passed away in 2008. This edition has allowed us to bring George's personal story to a close and reveal the path taken by the Foundation since his passing. Previously, only scholars and fellows received a copy of this monograph, but now everyone can access this fascinating story of a self-made man who has left such a lasting legacy, as the new edition of 'The Little Brother' is also available as an e-book.
In February this year, the Foundation also launched a new website and recently, the Foundation published the first issue of its newsletter, Campus, which has gone out to over 350 of our current scholars and fellows, alumni and partner institutions.
In the past year, the Foundation's Board was pleased to renew two of its scholarship programs. Murdoch University in Perth will receive $432,000 over 5 years from 2017 through 2021, funding a further 18 scholarships. The George Alexander Foundation Campus Accommodation Rural Scholarship Program at Murdoch was established in 2008 with the aim of encouraging students from rural areas to enrol in courses at Murdoch University. The scholarships assist students in overcoming the burden of the increased costs of moving to the city in order to take up tertiary studies. The scholars selected come from all over Western Australia, and some students from the Northern Territory also apply.
The program has been very successful, with more than 50 students having received GAF scholarships through Murdoch University since the program began.
RMIT University's George Alexander Foundation Scholarship and Bursary Program will receive $450,000 over four years from 2017 to 2020, which represents 24 scholarships and 36 bursaries. These scholarships and bursaries are available to RMIT students who excel academically whilst also engaging in a positive way as strong community participants and future leaders.
This program is one of the Foundation's longest running having commenced in 2002. Over the last decade, the Foundation has provided a total of $1,665,000 in support of this program at RMIT and has impacted 170 students with bursaries and scholarships. Bursaries are awarded to assist students with courses that have high costs related to materials (e.g. design courses) and/or placement requirements.
Each year the Foundation provides funding to its partners by way of scholarships, bursaries and fellowships to provide financial assistance for students with potential.
It was George Alexander's hope that his act of philanthropy was 'planting seeds and hoping they grow into pretty big trees'. During 2016 the George Alexander Foundation planted more than 90 seeds in the form of scholars, fellows and bursary recipients across eleven partner institutions. They are joining a growing forest of 650 past and current scholars and fellows.
Here at the Foundation, we take pride in watching these GAF scholars, fellows and alumni continue to grow and thrive.
Charles Goode AC