Building a culture of giving to create opportunity

Published: Tuesday 15th November 2016

Photo of ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven.

A message from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven:

ACU has a long tradition of giving back to the community, and our fundraising programs have stood out in the Australian higher education landscape because we focus on helping others rather than building our own capital or wealth. Building on this, we have a new philanthropy plan that will harness the collective generosity of our staff, students, alumni, donors and stakeholders to support programs that make a real impact.

This month we are launching an annual appeal to our alumni community and a staff giving program that will amplify the impact of our charitable endeavours.

For a number of years the ACU Foundation has, through the generosity of donors, created a number of philanthropic projects including professorial chairs and scholarships. The Foundation has also worked on international aid programs in the Thai-Burma border and East Timor.

Our new philanthropy plan will build on these initiatives and has a strong focus on fostering a culture of giving across the entire ACU community.

One of ACU’s Strategic Plan 2020 targets is “being at the forefront in improving the access and outcomes of equity groups”.

ACU continues to grow, with student enrolment numbers growing from 16,000 to 32,000 over the past five years.  We recognise that many students need some extra support and that we can do more to empower students to overcome disadvantage to succeed in their studies.

Under our philanthropy plan we aim to double the number of equity scholarships available to students in need over the next five years, through our new annual appeal to alumni and staff giving programs.  We are establishing the Creating Opportunity Fund with an initial contribution of $1 million, and we commit to matching all donations from alumni, staff and our friends dollar for dollar.  So your donations will have double impact, and make a real difference to students who need that extra hand.

We want to help our students reach their greatest potential, without being hampered by circumstances outside of their control and we know that our scholarships make a real difference in students’ lives.

Former scholarship recipients speak of the alleviation of financial stress and the feeling of being supported by a community that is investing in their future.

They say our scholarships have helped them manage the costs of university education including books, uniforms and housing.  They may seem small costs to some, but when they are unaffordable they limit a student’s ability to participate in a university education.

By relieving some of these burdens, scholarships help our students to focus on the most important part of the university experience – their education, which sets them up for life.

This month we will launch our annual appeal to alumni and all members of the ACU staff community will soon be invited to participate in our inaugural staff giving program.

This is your chance to become part of the new culture of generosity we are creating here at ACU.

We know our alumni and our staff are generous and are likely to be empathetic towards students experiencing hardship, and we are hoping to gather momentum by reaching out to our alumni community and deepening our engagement with them.

The Creating Opportunity Fund will be the core focus of the annual appeal, and we are committed to continuing our support of the East Timor and Thai Burma border programs, so these will also be included in our staff giving program.

I invite our staff to join us as we launch our new philanthropy plan andI look forward to watching and supporting the continued growth of a culture of giving across our alumni, donor, stakeholder, student and staff community.

If you would like more information about the ACU philanthropy plan and how you can contribute please contact a member of the Advancement Team.

Professor Greg Craven

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