One of Philanthropy’s Best Kept Secrets

There is in Auckland a wonderful opportunity for students who are about to leave school to apply for a scholarship that will provide a grant of $25,000 dollars towards the costs of their initial years of study at a university.
The unique feature is that the students who benefit from this great assistance will benefit from the grant with few strings attached other than an expectation that the student will apply themselves to succeed. They will have already proved that success is the given outcome through their demonstration throughout their school years. They will have achieved through over coming adversity, been outstanding scholars and shown superb leadership at their school and in the wider community.
The grant is not compromised by the institutions which often make what is styled as significant sums of money creating gasps from the students at prize giving but which are in effect grants through money in kind – accommodation, course costs, and so on.
The Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust was founded in 1956, the year of the death of Sir George Elliot who was a businessman with a stellar career in different parts of the country including several long stints as Chair of the Reserve Bank in Wellington. He was also the President of the Auckland Exhibition, a most successful event in 1913 thanks to his guiding hand.
The link with education had always been there. He was a stalwart supporter of St Kentigern and St Cuthbert’s donating substantial sums of to both schools and indeed the donation to St Kentigern, which was made anonymously, allowed the school to proceed with its establishment.
The Sir George Elliot Trust in 2000 set up the scholarship, $25,000 for three students who met the criteria – achievement through adversity, exemplary academic standards, and clear leadership in both their school and their community. Twenty-two years later the trust can be proud of the 70 students that have passed through the programme. Many are now in mid-career, and all are fulfilling the confidence that that the Trust members have in each of the successful awardees, confident in the quality of the scholars.
Seventy scholars have either been through or are still in the programme. As those who start the journey when school leavers build on the qualities recognised by the award and continue to demonstrate the capability to give effect to their early promise.
A rather nice touch is brought to the programme each year since its inception by the involvement of the Governor General of the day in sponsoring a function at Government House, Auckland. They are joined by the awardee’s Principals who receive a grant of $500 for the library to mark the contribution made to the awardees earlier education which brought them to the threshold of a Sir George Elliot Tertiary Scholarship and the opportunities that go with it.
Giving does not need to be surrounded by brash publicity.

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