Thank you for supporting First Nations Scholarships

An update on the funds raised over Christmas for our First Nations Scholarship program – and what this means for aspiring students.

Hayden with his three-year-old-son, Francis

Happy New Year from all of us here at Mary MacKillop Today! We hope you enjoyed a peaceful Christmas despite the many ways COVID-19 continues to turn our lives upside down. After a uniquely challenging 2020, may this year be filled with new hope and renewal.

Thank you to all the wonderful supporters who made a Christmas gift towards our First Nations Scholarships. We are deeply grateful and encouraged by your kind support. Together, we raised more than $147,000 this Christmas! With the outstanding generosity of supporters, we exceeded the fundraising target required to continue the First Nations Scholarship program into the New Year!

Securing this important funding will help set up our scholarships program for the year ahead. It means you are giving more students, like Hayden, the opportunity to achieve their dream of tertiary education.

After seeing the injustices that Indigenous Australian people face, Hayden made the decision to study to become a lawyer. But he needed to overcome the financial barriers to tertiary study and approached us for support. With the help of a Mary MacKillop Today scholarship, Hayden worked hard over many years to graduate with Honours, and he was offered an extraordinary job opportunity. Hayden is getting ready to start his new position next month working with Victorian Legal Aid through their Indigenous graduate lawyer program.

Hayden shared, “I’m both excited and nervous about my new role where I’ll get to work on Indigenous issues. My people haven’t been noticed for generations. So, to have somebody emerge from the community as a lawyer to stand and speak for the people means they can all have a voice through me.” 

Hayden’s inspiring story is a reminder that scholarships really do work. His journey shows just how powerful education is for providing life-changing opportunities to individuals and communities. With so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people facing barriers to achieving their educational aspirations, it is vital we continue to work with individuals and communities to make university more accessible.

Saint Mary MacKillop worked tirelessly to ensure everyone—regardless of circumstances, race, gender, or religion—could have access to quality education. She saw the power of education for breaking down cycles of disadvantage.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, there will be more scholarship students heading off to university next month – working towards the completion of their tertiary studies and stepping out to build careers in the fields they are passionate about.

Why First Nations scholarships matter

First Nations people have been disengaged from higher education over generations of inequity.

Supporting our First Nations scholarships means:

  • You’re providing aspiring people with access to quality education. A specific, targeted scholarships program is a practical way to help people overcome barriers.
  • You’re taking the financial pressure off students so they can focus on their studies. You will help students pay for the practical day-to-day things necessary to study plus help cover living expenses.
  • You’re supporting entire communities. Often, recent graduates choose to invest their newfound skills and knowledge back into their community. It’s an enriching thing when communities can be supported by a person of their own culture.
  • You’re closing the gap on Indigenous education and creating life-changing opportunities. Often, our scholarship students are the first in their family to go to university.
  • You’re continuing Saint Mary’s inspirational legacy of helping people in need. Your support will emulate Mary’s dedication into ensuring everyone can have access to quality education.

Our scholarships program is only possible with the support of generous people like you. We have a long list of students eagerly awaiting the support they need to complete their tertiary studies.

If you didn’t get a chance to make a gift over Christmas and you’d like to support our First Nations scholarships, you can still donate now. Thank you!