The stunning, panoramic views of Sydney were matched only by the smiles on the faces of the lucky schoolchildren who were the inaugural recipients of GO Foundation scholarships.

At the GO Foundation’s first Stakeholder Function on the 4 December 2014, Sydney Swans premiership players and Foundation co-founders, Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, awarded 11 scholarships to indigenous students from the Sydney Metro region that would help pay their way through school.

Both Adam and Michael paid tribute to the help that they’d had in the five years setting up the program, including Allens, KPMG, the GO Foundation Board, the Sydney Swans, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and another co-founder, James Gallichan. But they were visibly excited to be able to give their first ever scholarship winners a personal mention in front of the students’ families.

“Tonight’s about those young faces in the crowd,” said Goodes. “We’re so excited to be able to give these young, bright minds the opportunity that they deserve. When we sat down at a cafe five years ago and talked about starting a foundation to now being able to give these scholarships to some of the best schools in Sydney is exactly what we wanted to happen.”

Goodes also expressed how important he thought education was to both the students themselves but also as a beacon for the entire Indigenous community. “To all the kids,” said Goodes, “really see this as a great opportunity to get some great help and mentoring from Michael and I as well as the AIEF. And thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, it’s an absolute dream and we only see this getting bigger and better. It’s a very proud moment.”
Michael O’Loughlin acknowledged the humble beginnings of both himself and Adam and said that their mothers and families set the groundwork for wanting to set up a foundation to help other people. “When we were kids, it was always about putting another seat at the table if someone needed a meal,” said O’Loughlin.  “It’s an amazing opportunity for these boys and girls and we really want to send you out there with the message that our mums gave us: ‘Head down, bum up, work hard because you make your dreams come true if you do’. We’re pumped at the moment – it’s like we’re about to run out in a grand final! Our heart and soul is in it so we hope you take this opportunity with both hands.”

Both Adam and Michael are confident of building on the success of the past year and being able to reward more Indigenous young people with scholarships in 2015.

The Sydney Swans will also continue to promote the great work of the GO Foundation during the AFL’s Indigenous round when they play Carlton at the SCG on May 29th.