Financial and mentoring support for Australia’s aspiring athletes

The Pinnacle Foundation, a national charity that provides scholarships and mentors to disadvantaged LGBTIQ students, has announced its first national sports-focused scholarship.

From 2016, the Foundation will launch The Pippa Downes Pinnacle Scholarship, for any athlete competing or training at national level and aspiring to represent Australia, whilst also pursuing their full-time academic goals in any tertiary faculty or discipline. It will be provided for LGBTIQ students aged between 16-24 years old.

Scholarships will be granted for a period of one year and a scholar’s application form needs to be submitted by 1 October each year. This scholarship provides for $5,000 for first year of tertiary studies and $3000 for subsequent years (subject to specific conditions).

Sean Linkson, Chairman and CEO of The Pinnacle Foundation said, “This is a very exciting development for Pinnacle, as the scholarship is the first of its kind to help support Australia’s aspiring athletes. The scheme will not only help provide the financial means to help kick-start the career paths of many young and talented students, but we will also provide a mentor who shares the scholar’s sexual or gender identity, location and ambition in academic and sporting endeavours.”

Pippa Downes, Cornerstone benefactor and Board member of the Pinnacle Foundation, has a Master’s degree in Applied Finance from Macquarie University and Bachelor of Science (Business Administration) from University of California, Berkeley. Pippa was also previously an appointed Independent Director on the Board of Swimming Australia and the Swimming Australia Foundation until December 2011. She was a former member of the Australian Swim Team and has represented Hong Kong at the International Rugby Sevens.

Downes said, “I know first-hand how difficult it is to manage dual commitments to academic studies and sport. The financial strain is considerable and acts as a real impediment to achieving your goals. My involvement with the Pinnacle Foundation has shown me how transformational this support can be on young lives.”

Applications are now open for the 2016 scholarship program and students can apply via this website:

Please note that application forms need to be submitted by 1 October. Don’t miss the deadline!