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Announcing the Bella Ainsworth Perpetual Lift Off Scholarship

A gift in Bella’s name to support a Goulburn Valley student every year - forever more.

Greater Shepparton Foundation, in partnership with Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project is pleased to announce the establishment of the Bella Ainsworth Perpetual Lift Off Scholarship.


Bella Ainsworth is a passionate community champion and one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Lift Off Education Scholarship program in 2014.


A decade on and Lift Off has now supported 132 local students into post-secondary education by helping to overcome financial and other barriers to their education aspirations and to achieving their full potential.


A Shepparton local, Bella’s enthusiasm, talent and support of community projects has seen her become a much loved and cherished local advocate.


With Bella’s diagnosis of a rare form of cancer in 2023, just weeks after the birth of her son Saf, friend Fiona Smolenaars approached Bella with an idea; to gift a scholarship in Bella’s name to a young person in Shepparton who needs support to go on and achieve their further education aspirations.


Bella’s response, “why the hell not!”


The Bella Ainsworth Perpetual Lift Off Scholarship is seeking community donations to raise $100,000 to ensure this gift to the community in Bella’s name is available to a Goulburn Valley student every year - forever more. 


You can support Bella’s Scholarship by making a tax-deductible donation online via GSF’s ‘Shout For Good’ fundraising page at


Lift Off Education Scholarships were established in response to the increasing number of our young people not able to afford the transition from secondary education to post- secondary education.  A study has shown that young people from non-metropolitan regions in Victoria, such as Shepparton, defer university studies at twice the rate of their metropolitan counterparts, and currently only half of our young people finish secondary school and a quarter go on to tertiary education.


In response to this alarming study, Greater Shepparton Foundation partnered with the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project to tackle barriers to further education.


To support local students, Lift Off has partnered with more than 40 businesses and philanthropic partners, including Bella’s community spirited parents Garry Ainsworth and the late Liz Ainsworth.  In total more than $500,000 in scholarships has been distributed over the years.


Lift Off Scholarships are awarded to young people aged 16 – 25 years for approved higher education courses including pathway courses, Diplomas and Bachelor programs and range from $2,000 for one year and up to $10,000 over three years.


The Lift Off Scholarship program opens annually in October.  You can read more on the ‘Scholarship’ page of the GSF website HERE.

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