Crowdfunding drives support for Freedom Ride scholarship

26 November 2015

As part of its record-breaking INSPIRED campaign, the University this week is inviting its local and global networks to support the NSW Freedom Ride Scholarship Fund through its new crowdfunding platform.

The appeal is the first time the University has used crowdfunding as part of INSPIRED – the campaign to support the University of Sydney, which aims to raise $750 million by 2017.

University of Sydney Vice-Principal (Advancement) Mr Tim Dolan said crowdfunding allowed the University to reach out to broader networks and encourage gifts from all over the world.

"Crowdfunding is a great way we can appeal to our community, which stretches across Australia and to more than 170 countries around the world," Mr Dolan said.

"It's just one way the University community can help important, exciting and innovative projects get the funding they need to get started.

"In turn, the impact that we can make with donations, both big and small, is already being seen on a local, national and global scale," Mr Dolan said.

Initiated in 1965 by a University of Sydney student action group, the Freedom Ride shone a spotlight on the difficult state of Australia's race relations and sparked a human rights movement in regional NSW.

To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Freedom Ride this year, the University established the NSW Freedom Ride Scholarship Fund to support talented Aboriginal students from across New South Wales. This year more than $23,000 has been raised towards the fund's $30,000 goal.

Donations can be of any amount and will go towards supporting the daily needs of students attending university, such as stationery, textbooks, groceries, public transport, and rent.

In February this year, the University of Sydney and the Students' Representative Council reenacted the Freedom Ride, leading a historic bus trip to Dubbo, Walgett, Moree, Bowraville and Kempsey to raise awareness of the issues Aboriginal people still face.

Earlier this month, the University announced INSPIRED had reached its goal of $600 million, two years ahead of schedule.

Launched in 2008, the fundraising campaign is the first and most ambitious of its kind in Australian higher education. With its original goal now realised, INSPIRED's new target has been revised to $750 million by the end of 2017.