Gilchrist Foundation Engagement

Engaging, Nurturing and Mentoring.

Questions we have considered:
When we created our policy, we have considered the following:

  • do we promote a culture of respect, fairness and equality, and foster respectful relationships?
  • is the engagement we offer inclusive and empowering, valuing the positive contributions of all stakeholders and creating a sense of belonging and connectedness that are conducive to positive engagement?
  • are there opportunities for stakeholders to take responsibility and be involved in decision-making about our policy?
  • are there processes to identify vulnerable students and those at risk of disengagement from their studies? 
  • are there processes for ongoing collection and use of data for decision-making?
  •  is there social/emotional and educational support for at risk and vulnerable students?
  • are our expectations and consequences clear?

Who is involved

This engagement policy has been developed with input from representatives from all stakeholders, including:

  • our Engagement Coordinator who has the primary responsibility to develop, communicate, implement and monitor the policy
  • the students’ communities, which have a key role in ensuring the policy reflects shared expectations and that the policy is well communicated and monitored, and its effectiveness evaluated
  • students, whose voice can assist in building relationships, shared expectations and supporting policy implementation.  Research shows that when students are engaged in setting their own behavioural expectations they are much more likely to commit to them.  This also helps to build an inclusive and respectful culture, where all members of the students’  communities feel empowered to contribute to influencing the culture and practice.
  • Donors, Foundation Friends and Corporate Sponsors and the tertiary institutions who all play a vital role in supporting successful learning experiences and outcomes for our students. This framework is about our Foundation engaging with tertiary institutions, students, donors and communities to work together to maximise student engagement and learning outcomes.

We now know that tertiary institutions will not greatly improve a student’s academic progress unless they find ways of getting the institution, the student, the community and home into harmony.” (Hedley Beare, 2013)

Gilchrist Foundation Engagement Policy

Gilchrist Foundation identifies prospective tertiary students who may be forced to abandon their aspirations because they find barriers such as geographical isolation, financial issues, family trauma, broken relationships, intellectual or physical disabilities, single parenthood and so on. Once identified, these students can apply for our scholarships which may change their lives.

Universities and other tertiary institutions throughout the country are involved in the identification of appropriate students and awarding of scholarships.

Donations of funds are sought from people and organisations Australia-wide to redress the disadvantage endured by these often-disenfranchised Australians.

Gilchrist Foundation Mission

  1. Our mission is;
  2. to assist eligible students in furthering their education
  3. through financial assistance, and
  4. active mentoring.
    1. Our model considers;
  5. the potential outcomes of all opportunities presented to eligible students,
  6. the value of contribution from Donors, Foundation Friends and Corporate Partners,
  7. the effects we may have in multiple communities,
  8. our contribution to society in general.

We Find, we Fund and we Foster.


Engagement with our Donors (including Patrons and Sponsors

Donor engagement can range from an informal chat to more formal research procedures, to attending Donor gatherings and events. However the engagement happens we will always:

  • make it inclusive: using their preferred communication Understand how each Donor prefers to communicate and make sure that each Donor is able to participate using their preferred communication method.
  • provide supports: Make sure that a Donor can participate by providing supports.
  • provide feedback to Donors.

Engagement with the Students’ Communities

  1. Community engagement is about empowering, amplifying and capturing the voice and expertise of the community. It allows community members to actively contribute to Gilchrist Foundation decisions and actions by creating an inclusive environment in which community feedback is embraced, considered and acted upon.
  2. Community engagement can be both proactive and responsive. It occurs in planned moments – such as the range of ways our Foundation seeks and uses community input when making a decision – and also occurs in the way we undertake day to day services and activities, and consistently builds and maintains relationships with community members and our other stakeholders.
  3. The ability for people to be involved and heard on issues that are important to them and decisions that impact them fosters greater fairness, inclusivity, ownership and transparency in decision-making, and increases community trust and confidence in the activities of Gilchrist Foundation.

Engagement with Students

  1. Students are the centre of our operations and our philosophy. When they receive a scholarship, they become part of our “family”.
  2. We offer students the opportunity to not only receive the funds for their scholarships, but also the opportunity to have appointed Gilchrist Foundation counsellors who will:
    1. make connections with Foundation personnel by:
      1. connecting with them personally or by Zoom (or other appropriate means) as soon as they have been confirmed as scholarship recipients in order to establish a close relationship for the duration of their courses.
      2. establishing a timetable of engagements both long- and short-term.
      3. becoming involved in the four-way engagement structure with students, their communities, the tertiary institutions and donors.
      4. regularly monitoring progress through personal contact, contact with the tertiary institution or contact with the community.
    2. make connections with Donors:
      1. Gilchrist Foundation will facilitate engagement between the students and relevant donors.
      2. Student engagement with Donors can range from an informal chat to more formal panels, to attending Donor gatherings and events. Whichever way the engagement happens we will always:
        1. make it inclusive: Understand how each student and Donor prefers to communicate and make sure that each party is able to participate using their preferred communication method.
        2. provide feedback: Give feedback to Donor.
    3. make connections with the Tertiary Institutions:
      1. Each tertiary institution has a dedicated officer whose responsibility is to maintain close liaison with scholarship donors.
      2. Gilchrist Foundation will facilitate engagement between these officers and our students in order to ensure smooth progress in the students’ studies.
      3. Tertiary teachers/lecturers will be invited to scheduled Zoom or physical meetings with students and Gilchrist Foundation personnel, again to ensure satisfactory progress and accepting any incidental opportunities that may be provided.

Engagement with our Tertiary Institutions

  1. Gilchrist Foundation Engagement Officer will engage with the dedicated contact person in each institution so that:
    1. Gilchrist Foundation Tertiary Studies Committee and the tertiary institutions can:
      1. work together in-
        1. selecting students for scholarships,
        2. preparing students for their studies,
        3. ensuring ongoing progress,
        4. reviewing progress reports, and
        5. celebrating graduations.
      2. establish regular interaction regarding-
        1. current scholars, and
        2. develop agreements for future courses.

This policy will be regularly (at least annually) evaluated and updated.