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The Pinnacle Foundation celebrates 15-year anniversary and 100+ annual scholarships, as 2025 applications open from 1 July

Pinnacle Foundation 3 mins read

From regional roots in Inverell to international scholar in Berlin, aspiring business student and LQBTQIA+ advocate among the many Pinnacle Foundation program beneficiaries. 

Sydney/Melbourne, Australia, 1 July 2024 The Pinnacle Foundation, Australian LGBTQIA+ education charity, is celebrating a dual milestone this year. The foundation has reached a remarkable achievement, awarding over 100 scholarships to deserving and eligible queer youth pursuing fulltime education at TAFE or University, around Australia. Pinnacle has been instrumental in transforming the lives of its scholars by supporting their wellbeing, providing them a sense of community, and helping them realise their true potential.  Alongside this milestone, Pinnacle is also celebrating its 15-year anniversary. 

Since being founded in 2007, the foundation has made significant contributions in supporting education and fostering success among young LGBTQIA+ Australians, creating a more diverse and inclusive society. 

Pinnacle’s CEO & MD, Andrew Staite, says, “15 years ago, The Pinnacle Foundation embarked on a journey to transform lives with our educational scholarships and mentoring program, and provide a sense of belonging by creating a community and family for life. Over the years, with the help of our generous donors and partners, the Foundation has acted as a launchpad for many young Australians who have benefitted from the program. Today we celebrate the resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit of our scholarship recipients.” 

“With scholarship applications opening on Monday the 1st of July, we’re looking forward to seeing the submissions of the next generation of young LGBTQIA+ Australians”, says Andrew. 

The Pinnacle Foundation’s commitment extends beyond financial scholarships. Pinnacle carefully matches the young Australians it awards scholarships to with a mentor who identifies in the same way and who works in their field of study to provide career guidance and help them excel in their studies. 

Some of the country’s largest organisations have named scholarships with The Pinnacle Foundation including L’Oreal, BHP, CBA, Mirvac, Rio Tinto and Virtus Health.   

Among the many Pinnacle beneficiaries from the last 15 years is Max McFarlane (he/him) who, through his academic excellence, also received a Global Mobility scholarship to attend Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Germany last year where he studied the German language and a Politics Intensive. Max is mentored by Johnathan Hiley, Creative Partnerships Lead at Google in Sydney.  

Max is currently using his Pinnacle Foundation scholarship to complete his Bachelor of Commerce and Advanced Studies at the University of Sydney. From regional roots of NSW’s Inverell, Max's journey as a gay man has been both challenging and empowering. His proudest achievements involve advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community through various platforms, including Youth Parliament, his role as a school captain, and notably, establishing the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Portfolios at the university. 

Max McFarlane shares, "Being a Pinnacle Foundation scholar has given me a sense of belonging and made me feel like part of a supportive family. The encouragement and resources provided by the foundation have been invaluable in helping me pursue my goals and overcome challenges. It has also been instrumental in my academic and personal growth, allowing me to seize opportunities including upcoming internships at Nestlé and Ernst and Young.” 

"My motivation to apply for the scholarship stemmed from a deep-seated desire to expand my advocacy efforts and academic pursuits, and my advice to anyone thinking about applying is to go ahead and do it," says Max. 

Scholarship application details  

The scholarship program, now in its fifteenth year, awards multi-year scholarships nationally to students aged between 18 – 26 years for fulltime study. Scholars can be pursuing a range of different course from either public TAFES or public Universities in Australia. Every Pinnacle scholar is also carefully matched with a mentor who will typically identify in the same way, and share the same academic and professional interests . The mentor acts as a role model.  

Scholarship application submissions are open from Monday, 1 July 2024 and close on Saturday, 31 August 2024. Eligible LGBTQIA+ candidates can find further information and submit their applications online.  

For more information about The Pinnacle Foundation's scholarship program and research, please visit    

About us:

Founded in 2007, The Pinnacle Foundation is Australia’s LGBTQIA+ education charity. With a vision for a more diverse and inclusive society with visible LGBTQIA+ role models, The Pinnacle Foundation’s flagship program provides educational scholarships, mentoring and opportunities to young LGBTQIA+ Australians to realise their full potential.  


Additionally, The Pinnacle Foundation is allied with The University of Sydney Business School to deliver the LGBTQIA+ Executive Fellowship: LGBTQIA+ Executive Fellowship - The University of Sydney Business School. The Fellowship, the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, develops senior and executive leadership capabilities within the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Contact details: 

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