Before Bianca Hunt started her studies at the University of Wollongong, she thought philanthropy was a distant rumour of selfless, generous people. “When I was awarded this [scholarship] I was surprised and I realised that philanthropy was not something that happened elsewhere but maybe happens everywhere,” she says.
Bianca received a scholarship from the Learning and Development Fund – which is now known as Transforming Futures – and used the money to buy essential resources to support her studies in Psychology and Criminology. The support has made a big difference to the ability of the mother of seven to continue her degree. But it has also had a flow on effect to her children who have been inspired by their mother’s journey as the first person in her family to study at a tertiary level.
When she graduates, Bianca would ultimately like to work with children with cognitive disabilities and behavioural issues who are struggling with their education or have found themselves in the criminal justice system. She is also interested in working to prevent domestic violence and suicide.
Law and International Studies student Mitchell Brown has also benefitted from the generous donations of philanthropists. He was selected to undertake a UOW McKinnon Walker study tour taking in nine universities across America and Europe.
Mitchell then returned to the US as a Uni-Capitol Washington Intern where he worked in the office of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. The experience brought him one step closer to his dream of being an ambassador for Australia so he can make a difference in the lives of others and be an influence for good in the world. Senator Menendez worked with former President Barack Obama during the Syrian crisis and has spoken up over his concerns with North Korea.
Both Mitchell and Bianca are excellent examples of the ongoing impact of philanthropic giving. The opportunities provided to them by philanthropy mean they can make the most of their education and create change in the world when they embark on their careers.
However there is more to the story. Mitchell and Bianca have both been inspired by the support they have received to help others and in turn, they have inspired those around them to achieve their dreams. This is the ripple effect of philanthropic giving that builds upon the initial gift.
“Due to my understanding of philanthropy, I know that even a small gift during the start of my career will be able to make a definite impact”
Mitchell said The McKinnon Walker study tour also demonstrated the impact of philanthropy and community support. In reflecting on the McKinnon Walker gift – and his own decision to give back – Mitchell saw how philanthropy often started as an idea but could ultimately transform lives.
“Due to my understanding of philanthropy, I know that even a small gift during the start of my career will be able to make a definite impact,” Mitchell says.
UOW has provided opportunities for donors to meet and hear from scholarship recipients about how philanthropic support changes lives, and ultimately, our world.