young men at the beach

Scott Aldred and Zac Hayes

Each year at The Pinnacle Foundation we introduce new scholars into our Pinnacle Scholarship Program. Each of these scholars come to us at different stages of their studies and from many different fields and backgrounds. We welcome our scholars into our family and in turn they welcome us into their world. We get to know each other and journey together through life as scholars and alumni and we share together the experiences that life brings forward. Along the way, our alumni share with us their successes and their challenges knowing that at The Pinnacle Foundation they always have the support of people who will cheer and encourage them in every step of the way.

We’d like to introduce you to Scott Aldred and Zac Hayes, two Pinnacle alumni and partners in business and life. Scott and Zac, in the five years since finishing their degrees and scholarships, collectively run four successful businesses, have won multiple awards such as MYOB 30 Under 30 and  Australian Young Business Leader of the Year 2019, have recently become engaged and are now proud sponsors at The Pinnacle Foundation, hoping to pay it forward for other young LGBTIQ+ students from regional Australia, much like they were just a few years ago.

Scott, a podiatrist, and Zac, an accountant, met in 2014 through a dating app when they were both living in Albury, only to discover that they had come across each other 8 years prior whilst playing hockey against each other. Studying and living in regional Australia was a challenge due to a lack of visibility and discrimination towards the LGBTIQ+ community, limited work opportunities for young people and a lack of community and mentors available. “We both faced a lack of community and a lack of mentorship and there was no support,” states Zac. In addition, Zac and Scott were surviving on one salary, which in Australia is extremely difficult to do. It wasn’t until one day, when a friend recommended that they apply for a Pinnacle scholarship, they decided to apply. Receiving Pinnacle scholarships was life changing for both Scott and Zac as it meant that they could worry less about finances and focus more on their studies. Not only was the stress of experiencing financial pressures lifted, they both received something valuable and enduring, a sense of belonging in a community of supportive LGBTIQ+ people who would cheer for them, encourage them and support them in every step of the way during their final year at university and well into the future.

Scott and Zac have come to a full circle moment with Pinnacle as they now find themselves in a position where they can pay-it-forward and donate to the Foundation. Their generosity will support the next generation of young LGBTIQ+ people living in regional areas and give them the opportunity to thrive. “For us the goal was to give back not only money but give a regional LGBTIQ+ young person the step forward, opportunity and support not only during their scholarship, but also for the long-term,” shares Scott. “I don’t think we would be where we are without the support of Pinnacle. We have been able to ground ourselves in the LGBTIQ+ community and with the support of our mentor, we have been able to reach our 15-year goal in 5 years,” shares Zac.

As part of their Pinnacle scholarship, Scott and Zac were both carefully matched with mentors who shared similar career and life backgrounds. “My mentor was my support and sounding board. It was so important for me to have someone who was a success, who was from our community and someone I could aspire and relate to,” says Scott.

Both Scott and Zac acknowledge that their challenges are challenges that many young LGBTIQ+ people face in regional and rural Australia and they are keen to make a difference. When asked what advice they have for anyone thinking about applying for a Pinnacle Foundation scholarship, the response was one of strong encouragement. “Please do it. It’s not often that young LGBTIQ+ regional people are given these types of opportunities and the care from a healthy and supportive environment that comes with a Pinnacle scholarship,” said Scott. Inspired to pay it forward, Scott and Zac could not stress strongly enough that the key getting the most from a Pinnacle scholarship was to, “Greet every relationship and opportunity with open arms. These relationships will last a lifetime. Try and learn from the experiences of the people and mentors who have gone before you,” encourages Zac. Scott adds, “Just because you are gay or in a regional area without support does not mean you cannot be successful. Despite whatever life circumstances may have come your way, the support of a caring environment will give you confidence to face any challenges that arise. Just remember, it does get better.”

We at the Pinnacle Foundation want to congratulate Scott and Zac on their recent engagement and on their success in business, which has touched the lives of thousands of people in regional Australia.

We welcome you to apply to be part of our 2021 Scholarship Program and look forward to welcoming you to the Pinnacle Family: https://thepinnaclefoundation.org/apply/

rhian

My worlds are clashing by Rhian Mordaunt

Pinnacle Foundation scholar, Rhian Mordaunt, recently penned this beautifully written and powerful piece for the…

Alan Joyce AC, Patron of The Pinnacle Foundation

Alan Joyce AC shares his thoughts about the value and impact of the Pinnacle program.

“The art of changing lives”

A gift made possible by two of South Australia’s most significant arts figures is changing…

End of Year Fundraiser 2023 – QLD

Last week, the QLD Committee hosted a heartwarming End of Year charity fundraiser, weaving together…

Mardi Gras 2022

If you’re anything like us, reliving the amazing Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Pride…

Andy Tran

In 2019, The Pinnacle Foundation welcomed Andy Tran as one of our scholars. During his…

End of Year Event 2023 – TAS

Last Wednesday, the Tasmanian Committee lit up the night at our End of Year event,…

Partners’ Dinner 2023 – Sydney

Last night in Sydney, at our annual partners’ dinner, we thanked our corporate and philanthropic…

Rhian Mordaunt

Rhian Mordaunt

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Midsumma Pride March 2024

Over the weekend The Pinnacle Foundation’s Victorian Committee joined with scholars, alumni and partner reps…

End of Year Fundraiser 2023 – NSW

Last Monday night, the Sydney Committee hosted a spectacular End Of Year Cocktail fundraiserOur incredible…

Benjamin Law

‘Yield!’: Former High Court judge Michael Kirby’s surprising relationship secret

By Benjamin Law (article appearing in Good Weekend ) Each week, Benjamin Law asks public figures to…

Scholar Welcome 2023 – ACT

The Pinnacle Foundation would like to thank our Gold Partner – Maddocks for their generosity…

Brenda Appleton

Trans Day of Visibility

Trans Day of Visibility is an annual international celebration of transgender pride and awareness, recognising…

Brisbane Pride Festival March 2021

After the uncertainty of the last eighteen months, The Pinnacle Foundation’s Queensland committee seized the…

Mardi Gras 2024

The Pinnacle family proudly danced its way up Oxford Street in the 2024 Mardi Gras…

Midsumma Parade and Melbourne Pride

The Pinnacle Foundation’s Victorian committee joined this year’s Midsumma Festival Pride March. With a marching…

Her Excellency the Hon Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria

Pinnacle Foundation Patron-in-Chief, Her Excellency the Hon Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, hosted a…

Nathan Li

Nathan joined the Pinnacle family in 2012 as one of our scholars and his journey…

MEDIA RELEASE

Launch of Project Pronoun Only two chief executive officers of Australia’s top 100 ASX-listed companies…

Scholar Welcome 2023 – QLD

On 23 March, The Pinnacle Foundation welcomed its incoming and returning scholars in Queensland at…

James Holland

James Holland

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Picnic For Pinnacle 2022

Pinnacle co-founders Sean Linkson OAM and Philip Comans hosted their 2022 Picnic for Pinnacle in…

TasPride 2024

Over the weekend The Pinnacle Foundation family in Tasmania proudly marched at TasPride. Our Tasmanian…

Hannah Worsley

Hannah Worsley

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Nic Steepe

Nic Steepe

Nic’s journey with The Pinnacle Foundation has come full circle – he began as a…

Profile: Audrey Crémer – Pinnacle alumnus

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Lili Murtagh

Lili Murtagh

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Anu Francis

Anu Francis

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Brisbane Pride Festival 2022

This year, the Pinnacle Foundation again participated in Brisbane Pride March. Our Queensland committee was…

Jennifer Westacott AO, Patron of The Pinnacle Foundation

Jennifer Westacott AO shares her thoughts about the importance of the Pinnacle program.

Mardi Gras Fair Day 2023

On 19 February our NSW committee had a stand at Mardi Gras Fair Day and…

Drag Bingo – Uni of Syd

A heartfelt thank you to our incredible Pinnacle scholar, Max, for organising a Drag Bingo…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – VIC

Recently, the Victorian Committee gathered in Melbourne for a truly special occasion – the annual…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – QLD

Last week, The Pinnacle Foundation welcomed its incoming and returning scholars in Queensland at a…

LGBTQIA+ Executive Fellowship

The inaugural LGBTQIA+ Executive Fellowship, a one-week intensive executive leadership program developed by The University of…

Picnic For Pinnacle 2023

Picnic for Pinnacle featured as a Pride Amplified event, part of Sydney WorldPride, and we…

End of Year Fundraiser 2023 – VIC

This week in Melbourne, KPMG set the stage for a heartwarming evening as they hosted…

Connor Allen

Connor Allen

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Picnic For Pinnacle – VIC

Scholars in Victoria gathered with members of the Victorian Committee for a Picnic for Pinnacle,…

Rose

Renae Papalexiou

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

A message from the Governor of Victoria (Patron-in-Chief of The Pinnacle Foundation): Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

On behalf of the people of Victoria, I extend my sincere condolences to His Majesty…

Dylan Lloyd

Dylan Lloyd

I want to share with you some of the ways in which Pinnacle has empowered…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – NSW

On Thursday 7 March the Pinnacle family in NSW welcomed the 2024 NSW Pinnacle Foundation…

Angel St. James

Angel St James

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle Foundation….

WA Pride March 2023

The Western Australian Committee stood strong and recently marched at the WA Pride March. With…

Profile: Han Worsely – Pinnacle alumnus

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

rhian

Rhian on Studio 10 – Wear It Purple Day 2022

The Pinnacle Foundation scholar Rhian Mordaunt appeared on Channel 10’s Studio 10 with Sarah Harris…

Nathan Cappelluti Photo

Nathan Cappelluti

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Dr Glen Lo

Dr Glen Lo

What inspired you to become a mentor at The Pinnacle Foundation? My inspiration is to…

Beyond the Rainbow

Watch Devon Esper, Lead Author of WPP’s global research, “Beyond the Rainbow – An investigation…

Cornerstone Members & Patrons Dinner

On Tuesday 8 August we held our annual Cornerstone members and patrons dinner. The event,…

Profile: Anthony Copeland (he/him) – Pinnacle alumnus

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

End of Year Fundraiser 2023 – WA

As we bid farewell to another incredible year, the Western Australian Committee celebrated in style…

Murray Gatt

Murray Gatt

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Georg Tamm

Georg Tamm

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Midsumma Pride March 2023

The Pinnacle Foundation marched proudly (and rather colourfully) in Victoria’s Midsumma Pride March. Scholars, alumni,…

Brayden’s Story

Brayden cannot remember exactly what he put in the note to his mum. It was,…

End of Year Fundraiser 2023 – ACT

The ACT Committee’s End of Year Cocktail Fundraiser was an absolute blast, filled with joy,…

Scholar Welcome 2023 – Victoria

On the evening of 21st March, The Pinnacle Foundation welcomed its incoming and returning scholars…

IDAHOBIT 2022

Today is #IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia & Discrimination Against Intersex People….

Scholar Welcome 2024 – ACT

The Pinnacle Foundation’s ACT Committee recently held the 2024 Scholar Welcome event. A special shoutout…

Odette Maher

Every year we receive inspiring and outstanding applications from young LGBTIQ+ Australians all around the…

Coming out as gay to my parents: Brayden’s story – SBS

Brayden wrote a note to his mum, walked away and started to cry Noongar man…

Gabin Soosaipillai

We have just welcomed our new scholars for 2022 and we are so inspired by…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – TAS

Last night the Tasmanian Committee held the 2024 Scholar Welcome Event, graciously hosted by Hydro…

Penny Wilson

Penny Wilson is one of our valued regular donors and has supported The Pinnacle Foundation…

Profile: Lee Taube (they/them) – Pinnacle alumnus

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Laura Cripps

August 2019

Laura Cripps What was it like for you to be part of The Pinnacle Foundation…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – WA

Our WA Committee recently hosted a Scholar Welcome Event, a night filled with gratitude, warmth,…

Lewis McFarlane

Lewis McFarlane

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

ben

Ben Bjarnesen

What inspired you to become involved with The Pinnacle Foundation? Growing up I didn’t have…

MEDIA RELEASE

Developments at The Pinnacle Foundation Established in 2007, The Pinnacle Foundation is a national charity…

Arthur Forrest

Arthur

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Partners’ Dinner 2023 – Melbourne

On Wednesday night, The Pinnacle Foundation, Australia’s LGBTQIA+ education charity, hosted its annual partners’ dinner…

young men at the beach

Article posted in the Star Observer (August 17, 2020)

Philip Comans graduated in the 1970s when tertiary degrees were free for students in Australia….

Caiti Galwey

We have just welcomed our new scholars for 2022 and we are so inspired by…

Picnic For Pinnacle – SA

All across the country, people are getting together in pubs, breweries, restaurants, wineries and at…

Mardi Gras & World Pride 2023

Truly a night to remember. The Pinnacle Foundation marched in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian…

TasPride 2023

So great to see the Tasmanian Pinnacle Foundation family out and proud (very colourfully) at…

Jacinta Clark

Jacinta Clark was welcomed into the Pinnacle family in 2018 as one of our scholars….

Georgie Stone OAM

Congratulations to Georgie Stone OAM, a Pinnacle Foundation ambassador and alumnus, who was last night…

Caitlyn Georgeson

Caitlyn Georgeson

Caitlyn took part in The Pinnacle Foundation’s Scholarship program during 2014-2017 while undertaking a Bachelor…

Caitlyn Georgeson

Can you tell us how you became a Pinnacle Foundation board member? I was appointed…

Oliver McGrath

Oliver McGrath

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Out For Australia 30 Under 30 Award

Congratulations!   We at The Pinnacle Foundation would like to congratulate everyone who has been awarded…

Scholar Welcome 2021 – ACT

As we start to emerge, in a COVID-safe way, our scholars, mentors, Committee and Board…

Lorraine Hall

Lorraine Hall

Lorraine Hall has been a valued mentor at the Pinnacle Foundation for nearly four years,…

Scholar Welcome 2023 – WA

On the 25th of March, we welcomed incoming and returning  scholars and their mentors in Western…

The Honourable Justice Thomas Bradley

The Honourable Justice Thomas Bradley shares with us why he decided to become a Pinnacle…

Power of words – King & Wood Mallesons

Pinnacle Foundation gold partner, King & Wood Mallesons believes that responsible business is everyone’s business,…

First Nations Voice to Parliament

As an education charity supporting young LGBTQIA+ Australians to achieve their full potential, The Pinnacle…

Bronte Charles

Bronte Charles

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Mardi Gras 2021

The Pinnacle Foundation participated in our first ever #SydneyMardiGras and what an amazing night it…

Midsumma Carnival Day – VIC

The Pinnacle Foundation’s scholars, mentors and volunteer Victorian Committee were at Midsumma Festival’s Carnival. It was…

Scholar Welcome 2022

The Pinnacle Foundation family has welcomed incoming scholarship recipients and their mentors in five states…

Scholar Welcome 2024 – SA

Last Thursday night the SA Committee hosted our Scholars Welcome event at the Treasury, generously…

David Edwards Photo

David Edwards

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Cameron Tirendi

BHP | Principal Program Delivery | Global Co-Lead Jasper, LGBTIQ+ ally network | Mental Health…

Louise Fisher and Peter Maher

Louise and Peter have been involved with The Pinnacle Foundation and have generously sponsored the…

Hayden Moon

Hayden Moon

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Vale – Geoff Selig

The Pinnacle Foundation, Australia’s LGBTQIA+ education charity, mourns the tragic passing of Geoff Selig. Geoff…

Hayden Moon

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

The extraordinary joy of being considered ordinary

South Australian committee member, Simon Royal, wrote a gorgeous article for Indaily, featuring Pinnacle scholar…

Isabella Kotasek

Isabella (Izzy) Kotasek

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Sujin Jang

Sujin Jang

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle…

Alastair Lawrie

Alastair Lawrie has been a valued mentor at The Pinnacle Foundation for the past three…

The History of The Pinnacle Foundation

The Pinnacle Foundation’s journey began serendipitously back in October 2005 when Sean Linkson OAM, filling…

A Country Practice – Dr Jacinta Clark

PREGNANT women in the Limestone Coast will be delivered easier access to specialist care, thanks…

Picnic For Pinnacle

Things are in full swing with Picnic for Pinnacle. Picnics are being hosted by supporters…