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Foundation funding to help strengthen Indigenous student engagement

2 min read
community grant programs

St.George Foundation has named Cathy Freeman Foundation as the recipient of its 2020 Inspire Grant to help strengthen student engagement in Indigenous communities through its Starting Block Program. Currently the program supports students in four of some of the most remote communities in Australia, working to empower students and communities through education.

With the support of the Inspire Grant, Cathy Freeman Foundation will work towards strengthening and elevating its program over the next three years.

The grant is awarded to one eligible Australian children’s charity each year to help children impacted by physical, social or economic disadvantage through innovative programs that provide alternative pathways to education that will change the course of a child’s life.

Data shows school attendance rates for Indigenous students have not improved over the past five years with students in both primary and secondary school in remote and very remote locations reported to have considerably lower attendance rates than students in major cities or regional areas.

Tara Beath, Acting Chief Executive of St.George Foundation said: “It is vitally important we work to ensure access to education for as many young people as possible. Everyone should be afforded the same opportunity to go to school and learn in a supportive and safe environment. This is fundamental to ensuring a child’s future development and success.”

Tara continued, “A crucial part of ensuring access to education is building and supporting student engagement through offering alternative and multiple pathways, especially for those experiencing disadvantage.”

“We were inspired by Cathy Freeman Foundation’s innovative and targeted approach to helping bridge the gap between children, the community and the education system. Key to this is having local Indigenous staff in each community delivering the program, ensuring local people lead local children through a culturally appropriate lens.”

St.George Foundation is delighted to be able to support Cathy Freeman Foundation to help Indigenous children and their families recognise the power of education to achieve their goals and dreams through our 2020 Inspire Grant.

Jade Colgan, CEO Cathy Freeman Foundation said: “The Cathy Freeman Foundation is beyond thrilled to have received the 2020 St.George Foundation Inspire Grant to support the work of the Starting Block Program; helping children to realise their potential through education from preschool to year 12.”

The Starting Block Program is really important because it promotes and rewards regular school attendance and works to bridge the gap between families and school.

The program works in true partnership with each community and walks the journey of education with a child, intersecting at critical transitions and challenging times, as a constant and consistent source of encouragement and strength to students who really need it the most.

“Support, passion, and dedication for the Cathy Freeman Foundation is key, and it is a privilege that through this grant and partnership we will see the Starting Block Program flourish,” Colgan said.

Since 1990, St.George Foundation has partnered with over 800 community organisations and invested more than $32 million to positively impact the lives of thousands of children experiencing disadvantage in Australia. Through the Inspire Grant, St.George Foundation continues to help children access education, paving the way towards a brighter future.


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