Success stories and Research Office newsletter
Philanthropic grant success: Pocket Rockets
Meet Dr Carol Newall from the Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences (this is not her pictured!). She is a tenacious go-getter and an impressive academic. Dr Newall understands what philanthropic foundations want from their granting: in-depth engagement and clear demonstration on how their funding will change the world for the better. She has been successful in receiving grants from many different avenues.
In 2015, Dr Newall defied the odds and secured funding from the Ian Potter Foundation, one of Australia’s largest private foundations, who supports a variety of areas including arts, community wellbeing, education, and the environment amongst others (last financial year they gave out over $36 million to 267 projects). In 2015/16, only 10% of applications in their Education stream were successful, so Dr Newall is a proven superstar. The funding was for a small pilot program for Pocket Rockets, an innovative STEM workshop for children aged 4-6 years, in collaboration with Dr Kate Highfield at Swinburne University.
With the help of the Office of Advancement, Dr Newall has successfully managed the relationship with the funder, including:
- Managing the funds so well that she was able to undertake 2 extra free workshops for children in remote areas (above and beyond what the Foundation expected)
- Inviting the Foundation along to the workshops and ensuring they have been kept up to date where appropriate
The way that Dr Newall has managed this relationship is best-practice. She has treated them as a partnership, rather than as a transactional relationship. She has ensured that they are ‘inside the tent’ rather than keeping them at arm’s length. This will have done wonders in bolstering Macquarie’s reputation with the Foundation, which can only benefit all of our future applications.
We have also been able to leverage Dr Newall’s program. Through connections in the Office of Advancement, we have met with the Head of the St George Foundation (the bank’s philanthropic arm) and received their first ever donation to an Australian University. This is unheard of!
Because of Dr Newall’s persistence and understanding of the philanthropic landscape, philanthropic funding for her work continues to grow.
Past Success Stories
Faculty of Arts working with Optus for positive social impact through technology
Dr Rowan Tulloch from the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies was funded by the Optus Future Makers for his pitch ‘The Game Change’.
The inaugural Optus Future Makers program fosters digital innovation that will impact how we socially engage. A tense pitching process to a panel of experts by eleven emerging digital influencers took place in front of an audience at the Optus Campus in Sydney.
The innovators had just 180 seconds each (with no notes or power point slides) to secure their share of the $300,000 funding pot and six walked away with enough financial backing to bring their ideas to life.
Rowan won $50,000 to help make his innovative idea a reality. Rowan said “it was so far out of my academic comfort zone, but it must have gone well because they funded me to the full amount”. The Game Change is software that helps university and school teachers gamify their classrooms to better engage and motivate students. The software is also designed to assist students who are marginalised by traditional teaching practices. Through the Future Makers program, Rowan found his collaborator, Epiphany Games, and has been able to expand the scope and enhance the timeline of his original proposal, and to hopefully bring The Game Change app to market.
Paul O’Sullivan, Future Makers Judge and Optus Chairman, said, “This program is about helping Australia’s innovators to make a positive social impact through the use of technology. We know how important technology is in people’s daily lives, and with Future Makers we are specifically targeting projects that will benefit marginalised and vulnerable youth.”
“I think the main thing that gamification can give us as teachers is the possibility to open up a dialogue with students and to help guide them into the practices that we take for granted,” Rowan says.
For further details from Rowan himself, listen to the PioneeringMinds podcast.