Historic $30 million commitment to Powerhouse Parramatta
Impression credit: Mogamma
The Powerhouse has today announced an extraordinary $30 million investment in the future of Powerhouse Parramatta by The Walker Family Foundation and Western Sydney University.
In one of the largest donations ever to an Australian cultural institution, The Walker Family Foundation has committed $20 million to the Lang Walker Family Academy and associated programs, a commitment that will fund access to world-class immersive STEM education experiences at the museum for over 10,000 high school students from Western Sydney and regional NSW every year – including overnight stays at the museum for many of these students.
The Lang Walker Family Academy programs will commence in 2022 in Western Sydney with in-school STEM education programming being planned for schools in the Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Bankstown, Penrith and Parramatta LGAs.
Western Sydney University has committed $10 million to Powerhouse Parramatta confirming its place as the museum’s Foundation University Partner. This significant investment reinforces the University’s ongoing commitment to developing the next generation of Australian innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs. The University will embed researchers in the museum including an annual Scholar in Residence, be a supporting partner for the Lang Walker Family Academy and utilise museum spaces for STEM-related education opportunities.
The Walker Family and Western Sydney University will be the Foundation Partners of Powerhouse Parramatta. This generous investment is a significant milestone in the Powerhouse’s campaign to raise $75 million towards Powerhouse Parramatta.
The Walker Family Foundation’s $20 million gift to Powerhouse Parramatta is the second largest gift ever to a Western Sydney institution, behind Lang Walker’s $28 million committed to Western Sydney University, which includes $20 million to build the Lang Walker AO Medical Research Building.
The Walker Family Foundation has devoted $50 million to Western Sydney over the last two years alone in education, culture, health and medical research.
Museum Trust President, Peter Collins AM QC said:
“It is hard to quantify what these incredibly generous investments will mean to generations of young people in Western Sydney as they navigate their way through life where STEM learning is so pivotal to their lives and future livelihoods,” said Mr Collins.
“Lang Walker’s commitment to Western Sydney is long standing. His visionary investment in the Lang Walker Family Academy will be something parents and the children of Western Sydney and regional NSW will speak about for generations. There will be no STEM learning program like this in Australia and I can’t wait to see this ground-breaking Academy program develop.
“I would like to share my profound gratitude to the Walker Family and Western Sydney University for this extraordinary investment in Powerhouse Parramatta.”
Lang Walker AO Founder and Executive Chairman, Walker Corporation said the Walker Family Foundation wants to inspire and educate students in Western Sydney and beyond.
“We are passionate about investing in the education of our future generations in Western Sydney and this academy will deliver the very best in science, technology, engineering and maths,” Mr Walker said.
“The Lang Walker Family Academy will empower students with the skills they need to succeed in the high-tech 21st century job market.
“School camps and excursions will be taken to a whole new level at the Lang Walker Family Academy, as our live-in campus enables students to immerse themselves in STEM education and culture, in one of the world’s best museums.”
Professor Barney Glover AO Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University said the University is delighted to partner with Powerhouse Parramatta and the Walker Family Foundation on this ambitious project, which will create life-changing opportunities for the young people of Western Sydney and regional NSW for generations to come.
“Together with the incredible generosity of the Walker Family Foundation, Western Sydney University’s contribution will help support the Lang Walker Family Academy to deliver world-class, immersive STEM education experiences for school students from across our region and will see the University’s own students, staff and researchers embedded in the life of the Museum,” said Professor Glover.
“We know that harnessing school students’ early interest in science, technology, engineering and maths, creatively engaging more young people from diverse geographic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in STEM and inspiring future generations to actively pursue STEM-related education and careers are all vital for the knowledge economy and Australia’s technological future.
“For more than 30 years, the University has been opening up higher education opportunities and supporting the aspirations of young people of Western Sydney – today’s announcement is indeed an exciting new chapter in that long and proud history.”
Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah said:
“These remarkably generous commitments from the Walker Family Foundation and Western Sydney University, without doubt, form one of the most impactful donations ever seen in arts and culture in Australia, and I wish to thank our Campaign Chairman Tony Shepherd AO and Campaign Director Yvonne Zammit for their tireless work in securing these contributions,” said Ms Havilah.
“There are hundreds of thousands of Western Sydney and regional students who don’t receive the same exposure to arts and education programs that young people in other areas do. The Lang Walker Family Academy will deliver experiences for these young people that will not only spark their creativity but pave the way to genuine STEM careers in the future.
“Western Sydney University has been a close partner of the Powerhouse for many years. This generous partnership will see Western Sydney University have a home at Powerhouse Parramatta, creating collaborative ties with research, industry placements and programming as the Foundation University Partner for the museum.”
Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas
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