Local Projects

Education awards

Education plays a key role in advancing women, girls, and communities.

This is why the Zonta Club of Brisbane has a strong focus on fundraising so that it can provide education awards to students in high school and university. In the past 20 years it has enabled Zonta Club of Brisbane to award bursaries and prizes to more than 250 recipients.

The Education Awards are:

Zonta Education Award

Zonta Education Award
Education plays a key role in advancing women, girls, and communities. Bursaries of $500 are awarded each year to a girl in Year 10 for use in years 11 and 12 at six high schools in regions of social disadvantage.

Kingston Learning College

Annual award to young women wishing to undertake tertiary education or training to help them meet financial barriers to move beyond secondary school.

University Awards

Three awards are made to University students from gifts and funds raised by members to reward excellence in university studies in honour of distinguished Club members.

Cathy Hunt, Deb Suckling, Prof Margaret Sheil AO and Ian GillespieLocal Projects

Advancement of Women Award


To mark Zonta’s cententary year in 2019 the Zonta Club of Brisbane established the $5000 Advancement of Women Award to assist other women now and in the future.

This is an biennial, gender neutral award that recognises a person who, through their leadership, work or advocacy is progressing the status of women. This may be by either creating new pathways for women, facilitating women’s advancement along existing pathways, or advancing the interests of women through other endeavours in social, community, economic, academic, political or work environments.

The Club aims to reward persons from a broad base. For example, the recipient could be an administrator, scientist, teacher, business or industry leader, police officer, community worker, fund-raiser or a pioneer in their field.

This is an biennial award with nominations opening in July and closing in September.

The award is funded through  the Advancement of Women Fund set up in 2018 inaugurated with a living gift from charter member of the Zonta Club of Brisbane, Dr Joan Godfrey OBE. This fund will  grow with ongoing capital donations and bequests from members..

2019 Advancement of Women Award winner

Cathy Hunt

Cathy is co-founder of Of One Mind, a not for profit company behind the development of the Women of the World Festival in Australia. She was chosen as the winner of the Advancement of Women Award in  recognition of her outstanding 20-year track record creating programs to empower women in addressing gender inequality, engaging a wide range of communities of women in Australia and internationally creating new pathways through art and cultural efforts including your directorship of the WOW Festivals.

2019 Advancement of Women award finalists

Ian Gillespie, Director, RACQ Foundation and Chair of Global Mobility Alliance

Judges citation: In recognition of Ian’s work as RACQ CEO to create new pathways for women through gender targets, HR policies around parental leave, and a Female Mentoring program that has led, in part, to the appointment of more women to the RACQ Board and senior management positions.

Deb Suckling, founder of label SugarRush Music

Judges citation: In recognition of Deb’s pioneering role within the music industry in Australia supporting and empowering young women from regional communities to create their own labels, albums and  to express their voices in songwriting.

Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, Queensland University of Technology

Judges citation: In recognition of Prof Sheil’s long and outstanding record in creating new pathways for women in the academy and research, including the eligibility criteria for Australian Research Council grants, and  in  programs to promotie women in politics at the University of Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology. 

Funding and donations

The Advancement of Women Award is funded through the Advancement of Women Fund set up in 2018 inaugurated with a living gift from charter member of the Zonta Club of Brisbane, Dr Joan Godfrey OBE. This fund will grow with ongoing capital donations and bequests from members.

Donors to the Advancement of Women Fund

Donor category Name Amount Year
Foundation Donor Dr Joan Godfrey $50,000 2018
Member Donors Ms Susan Hocking (in memory of Lesley Hocking) $20,000 2018
  Ms Susan Davies (in memory of Anne Davies) $20,000 2019

If you want to donate to the award please contact info@zontabrisbane.com.au

Global Impact

EID BI EID (Hand in Hand)

Jordan is currently hosting 1.4 million Syrian refugees, nearly 10 percent of Jordan’s pre-crisis population, which has increased competition over resources, placed additional strain on social services and heightened community tensions in some areas with unintended consequences, including greater restrictions on women’s mobility.

While existing programs that provide food and unconditional cash assistance have been instrumental in responding to the immediate humanitarian crisis, they are not designed for long-term outcomes. As the government of Jordan opens the labour market for refugees with work permits, targeted efforts are needed to empower female refugees to harness income-generating activities. These efforts must also support the government in meeting its commitment to increase overall female participation in the workforce.

Eid bi Eid is a multi-year initiative to support the government of Jordan to address issues of employment and gender inequality, exacerbated by the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis. The project began in 2015 to support the immediate needs of refugee women and vulnerable Jordanian women affected by the crisis. The second phase, which began in 2017, utilizes a resilience framework for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment goals and promotes individual and community ability to absorb shock. This is done through the provision of livelihoods opportunities and protection support for refugee women living in camp and non-camp settings, as well as Jordanian women living in hosting communities.

How Zonta helps

Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to UN Women to improve Syrian refugee and Jordanian women’s access to sustainable and decent employment, coupled with protection services and community leadership/engagement, to enable greater equality and reduced violence against women.

To find out more about our International Service Program go here

Global Impact

Let us learn

About 90 percent of Madagascar’s population lives on less than US$2 per day, leaving children particularly vulnerable. Aside from endemic poverty, Madagascar is prone to natural disasters, which further impede economic growth of the agricultural economy and make it even more difficult to escape poverty and prioritize education for children.

More than a quarter of Madagascar’s children are excluded from formal education, and one out of three girls will become pregnant before the age of 18. Junior secondary school enrolment fees are prohibitively expensive for families, forcing parents to select one child to continue their education, often leaving girls behind.

UNICEF’s Let Us Learn is an integrated education program that is creating opportunities for vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls, in Madagascar to realize their right to an education in a secure and protective environment. The project is focused on reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls’ education and improving quality outcomes for learners.

To find out more about Let Us Learn Madagascar:

Global Impact

Ending Child Marriage

Worldwide, almost 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday and an estimated 280 million more girls are at risk of becoming brides. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030.

Child marriage is a global violation of human rights that can be found in cultures, religions, ethnicities and countries around the world. Recognizing that only a long-term strategy will ensure the desired outcomes, UNICEF and UNFPA have joined forces and formally launched a multi-country initiative to protect the rights of millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls. The program brings together governments, civil society, families and young people in a collective effort to prevent girls from marrying too young and to support those already married as girls.

To date, more than 1 million girls have been reached through life skills and school attendance support and 1.67 million individuals have been engaged in community-based behaviour change and sensitization activities.

How Zonta helps

Zonta International has committed US$2,000,000 to UNICEF USA to support the UNICEF/UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage in 12 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

To read more about this exciting Zonta signature project go here

Local Projects

Cassandra Weddell Fund

Cassandra Weddell joined Zonta in 2002 and immediately demonstrated her commitment to Zonta’s ideals through her energy and hard work. She was elected to the Board in her first year of membership and in her brief time with the Club, charmed everyone with her humour and zest for life. She died in February 2003, aged 41. Cassandra was an educator and passionate advocate for the rights of children.

The Cassandra Weddell Fund was largely established through two donations – $10,000  from Cassandra’s estate by her partner Michael Drum who donated a further $12,000 in 2017. It was supplemented by further donations and service funds raised by the Club.

In June 2017, the Cassandra Weddell Grant of $10,000 was established with a call for project applications which fulfilled the ideals of Cassandra Weddell in early childhood education, utilised the arts and especially served disadvantaged children.

The first funding was provided in 2019 to two successful applicants:

  • Save the Children for their project Story Swags – $10,000
  • Trinity Tots Music Box: A Trinity Commons Project  – $5,500

To honour her memory and commitment, the Club also created the Cassandra Weddell Memorial Children’s Library. The Library collection is housed at the Women’s Prison where children up to school age are permitted to remain with their mothers. Managed by Save the Children (Queensland), the collection is funded for on-going expansion and maintenance through a dedicated investment account.

Publishers and book retailers have donated books to the collection and the books are covered to ensure that their condition is preserved. Book plates acknowledging Cassandra’s work for children are pasted on the inside front covers of the books. The collection holds over 1000 titles.

In 2018-2019, $1,197.09 was donated via Save the Children to purchase musical instruments for the prison library.