Live events company RX empowers students in Australia
In January 2020, RX pledged to donate $1M over five years to selected not-for-profit partners around the world who are working to improve inclusivity and diversity within their communities. We catch up with some exciting developments from one of our 2022 partners, the Australian GO Foundation, and share the stories of First Nation students whose lives RX is helping to transform through education and cultural connection.
The Goodes O'Loughlin Foundation (GO Foundation) was founded by two Australian Football League (AFL) sporting greats, Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, both proud Aboriginal men who wanted to give back to community. Their fundamental belief that education is key to empowerment and self-determination led them to focus on culturally appropriate academic support for First Nation students, resulting in the launch of the GO scholarship program in 2014.
Today, GO supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from primary school through to university. The foundation works with 77 schools and seven universities to reach students and, to date, has awarded over 950 scholarships in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra.
The programme includes cultural and aspirational connection days, access to professional opportunities through GO’s partners, and financial support. GO aims to make their young peoples’ journey through school as rewarding as possible and provide opportunities that assist with their post-education future.
“We know from research conducted by the GO Foundation and KPMG Arrilla Indigenous that there is a clear correlation between a strong cultural identity and participation and achievement in education and training by Indigenous students.”
“When students learn about their culture, they learn about their background and heritage, and the legacy of their Elders. The students are proud, they want to work hard for their families and communities, for those who have gone before them, and to achieve and change the world for those who will follow. The financial support of partners like RX allow us to both increase the numbers of students and to properly support students so they can achieve their dreams.”
Inspired to learn
Among GO’s 2022 co-cohort of aspirational students is Leah, who is in year 11 at high school in Sydney. She is one of four children in her family, and as sole parent, their dad has struggled over the years to pay for uniforms, art equipment, the internet and transport for school events and excursions.
“I want to work hard and go to university. I am very proud of my culture but don’t live with the Aboriginal side of my family, so I am very excited to be part of GO to help me learn more about my culture. My dream is for my family and future family not to have to struggle as much as I have. I would like to be a psychologist or a lawyer or work in crime investigation one day.”
Another GO scholar who is now in his first year of university studying law, Izayah is the second person in his family to finish high school and the first to attend university. Izayah’s mum died four years ago, and the family had difficulties living on one income. He applied for a GO scholarship four years ago to help him finish school and GO was able to help with a laptop and Wi-Fi at home. “I love the connection to the land and community I get from my Aboriginal culture,” Izayah said "which has been brought out with the support of the GO Foundation.”
Year 7 student DiorRose is just starting out on her GO Foundation journey but is already determined to make her mark. “My dreams are to be successful and make my community proud” she said. “I would love to pursue a career as a dancer to not only represent my culture but to also be a role model to younger students, who feel they might not be able to succeed due to their background.”
Building on success
It’s been an incredibly productive first half of 2022 for the GO team. With the financial support of RX and other partners, Charlene and the Board welcomed four new team members to the GO family in January, increasing their capacity to deliver more opportunities for more scholars. They have also been delighted to recommence their face to face graduation ceremonies, and providing cultural and aspirational mentoring through the delivery of Cultural Connection Days after two years of Covid-induced isolation.
“At our Cultural Connection Days in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra in April and May our students participated in traditional activities like ochre making, language lessons, storytelling, dance, weaving (including grass skirt weaving) and boomerang shaping. They interacted, yarned, laughed and more importantly, our staff and Founders were able to listen to the GO Scholars and reflect on how they are tracking against their aspirations.”
Student mentoring continues to be conducted by GO staff with the support of generous partners like Bloomberg, Accor, GHD, Knorr-Bremse who provide access to career advice and guidance, and information on the choices and pathways available.
One of GO’s biggest achievements this year is the development of their 5-year Strategic Plan which aims to drive deeper engagement with their students and develop stronger relationships with their schools and partners. They are also excited to be implementing a new Impact Measurement Framework in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney which will enable them to formally measure the impact of the GO model.
“Inclusion and diversity is at the heart of RX’s values and mission to enable everyone to thrive whoever and wherever they are. GO Foundation’s mission to empower Indigenous students through education and cultural connection fits perfectly with the RX Global Charity Fund’s commitment to support equal opportunities through education and mentorship. We are delighted to work with Charlene and the team to unlock opportunities for GO students and help them realise their potential.”