Despite being a student of the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE) in the 1970s, Kevin Charlesworth’s reason for establishing two scholarships at USQ is based on a life lesson he was taught as a young farmer.
Mr Charlesworth was 21 when he had taken over the family farm, and while he had a great crop of oats, he did not have the money to bale it and was afraid to ask for help.
‘I put my pride aside and asked a family friend if they’d be in a position to help but made it clear that I wanted to pay them back when I could,’
‘This wonderful bloke agreed to bale the crop for me and after he’d done the job, he was adamant that I only repay the price of the baling string in return.’
And it was that one act of selfless giving that made all the difference in Mr Charlesworth’s life.
‘Finding out that there was someone out there who was willing to hedge a bet on me, give me a go, and ask for nothing in return was quite the realisation,’
‘A lot of people thinking that philanthropy is about the giving of money; it’s not about that at all. It’s about getting to play a small part in someone else’s success.’
Now retired following a working career in engineering, farming, and education, Mr Charlesworth is still active in the community, as the President of the Australian Sunflower Association and a volunteer at the Toowoomba Flexi School.
With his wider family, he’s established the Nola Charlesworth Scholarship endowment fund – named after his mother – as well as the Kevin Charlesworth Fund, built through his giving and USQ’s endowment matching program.
He enjoys and sees immense importance in encouraging young people to have a go, consider university, and telling them about the different types of scholarships available and that support exists.
‘It’s something I’m proud of but I always like people to know that we’re not offering huge amounts of money; what we’re doing is making sure that the student who needs that little bit of help, gets it,’
‘Giving simply makes you ‘more’. Whether you’ve got $20 to donate, or something more substantial over a longer period, the return on your investment in a young person will offer you the same reward.’