Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Western Chances

ProjectWestern Chances Program Management

Amount$475,606 in total

Date2012 & 2015


These grants were approved under previous grants policy
Building capacity Support the position of a full-time Program Manager to enable growth of the scholarship program and the development of a sustainable business model.
Extending opportunity Increase education and employment opportunities for over 500 students per annum, through scholarships and work experience placements.
Collaboration and partnership Maintain partnerships with Victoria University, Western Bulldogs, Western Health, VECCI, Scienceworks and William Angliss Institute. Establish new partnerships with organisations outside Melbourne’s West including University of Melbourne’s Trinity and Ormond Colleges, Doxa Youth Foundation and Melbourne Youth Music.

New strategy boosts opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Melbourne's west

While Western Chances' successful scholarship program was growing slowly but steadily, the appointment of a full-time Program Manager saw its achievements reach new heights.

Image Western Chances Scholarship recipient

Melbourne’s west is the fastest growing region in Australia, but has a very high proportion of residents experiencing financial disadvantage and social and cultural barriers. Western Chances assists motivated and talented young people in the region to realise their potential by providing new and renewal scholarships and ongoing support. In 2012, HMSTrust supported the appointment of a full-time Program Manager to extend Western Chances’ reach and effectiveness. In 2015, the Trust extended its funding of this highly successful initiative for a further three years.

  • HMSTrust provided funding for a full-time Program Manager, with the original goal of increasing annual scholarships, boosting work placement and creating new opportunities. The new position enabled Western Chances’ CEO to focus on strengthening the capacity of the organisation, in particular revenue generation and partnerships.
  • New scholarships increased by 75% and renewal scholarships by 100% since 2012.
  • Donations increased by 200% and the newly established loyalty program will generate a recurrent revenue stream.
  • New education and corporate partnerships increased dramatically for tertiary, leadership, and extended work experience placements.
  • In 2014, 546 scholarships were awarded, up from 464 scholarships the previous year
  • 100% of the 125 Western Chances scholarship recipients studying Year 12 in 2014 completed the year and 97% have progressed to further education or training. 73 recipients are studying degree courses.
  • The Links Program has expanded from an original primary focus on work placements to now encompass a variety of opportunities for scholarship recipients via Western Chances’ collaboration with many outside organisations. These include leadership programs, VCE revision seminars, other scholarships as well as work placements and cadetships.
  • In 2015, Western Chances’ key partnerships and collaborators include: Western Health, Melbourne Airport, Western Bulldogs, Victoria University, Trinity College (the University of Melbourne), Ormond College (the University of Melbourne), Doxa Youth Foundation, Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse, Engage Education Foundation, The Dafydd Lewis Trust and Mary Jane Lewis Foundation, Mittagundi, Melbourne Youth Music


“HMSTrust's two grants have transformed our organisation. Our capacity to employ a full-time Program Manager has enabled us to increase the number of new and renewal scholarships, improve program delivery, create new partnerships, strengthen existing partnerships and boost donations.” Rhyll Dorrington, CEO, Western Chances.