The campus of Balairung Jambi University in Indonesia was the site of a November 2014 Tanoto Foundation Expo that provided information about foundation scholarships for deserving students. Members of the Jambi group of the Tanoto Scholars Association staffed an information center and spoke to the public about the range of scholarship opportunities available, and about their own positive experiences as Tanoto Scholars.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as of 2011 only about one-quarter of Indonesia’s college-age young people were enrolled in tertiary-level education. As a rapidly developing nation, Indonesia has put considerable effort into higher education, and nonprofit organizations like the Tanoto Foundation have also stepped in to fund this crucial need.
Established in 2001 by RGE Group CEO Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, the Tanoto Foundation works with government agencies and the private sector to fund education at all levels, teacher training, entrepreneurship skill-building workshops, health care, and infrastructure-building in some of Indonesia’s most under-resourced regions, including rural areas of Jambi, Riau, and North Sumatra provinces.
For the current academic year, the Tanoto Foundation has opened registration for applicants for non-bonding scholarships and National Champion Scholarships. The latter scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement. In addition, the foundation offers a bond scholarship program, also known as the Regional Champion Scholarship. High-potential high school graduates in Jambi, Riau, and North Sumatra are eligible for this funding, which also includes the promise of post-graduation employment with one of the foundation’s corporate partners, RGE natural resources manufacturing companies Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper or Asian Agri.
Providing support for education is especially important to Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made and partly self-educated entrepreneur who was forced to leave school at age 17. Mr. Tanoto has since turned his small family business into the $15 billion RGE Group.