People, Place, Prosperity - Dec. 2019
An update for FRRR's donor partners

From Natalie's desk...

I am delighted to share our 2018/19 Annual Review. It provides a glimpse of the collective impact achieved with the generous contributions from our donor partners, and the tremendous resilience and passion of local rural leaders.

This was a record year for FRRR - $11.6M awarded via 677 grants, and more than 80 communities visited - but also one of continued organisational evolution, which has set us up well for the years to come. We are putting the final touches to our 2020-2025 strategic plan, which I look forward to sharing with you early in the new year. 

In the meantime, I invite you to watch the video below, review the online summary and download the full report to learn more about our collective broader reach and deeper impact from the grants awarded to hundreds of communities across Australia. Our Strengthening Rural Communities program, which we launched this reporting year, confirms that small grants – $5-7,000 – play a key role. They address diverse needs and are catalytic, as communities typically leverage grants at least three times through in-kind and cash contributions. 

I also want to highlight a relatively new FRRR initiative - our Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund. When we launched it in August, little did we know just how soon it would be needed. To recap, this fund will ensure that those communities affected by natural disasters, like the bushfires that have affected virtually every state and territory in the last couple of months, can get support for their recovery when they need it. As you can read below, we’ve had some very generous donors partner with us, including Wilson Asset Management, who have agreed to match donations up to a combined $1M. So we would welcome any additional donations to the Fund, as it's apparent many communities will need assistance in the years to come. 

Looking ahead
The default is often to focus on the negative, or the crisis in front of us. While there are certainly challenges, we are positive and optimistic about the future for rural, regional and remote communities. We will continue to support those in the thick of it, and celebrate the successes of communities off the beaten track that, regardless of their population or postcode, take matters into their own hands, devise projects that are creative, inclusive, sensible and smart, and in doing so, create vibrant places to live, work and be a part of. You will find plenty of examples in the Annual Review, and it was a pleasure to revisit the achievements of so many local community organisations.

Finally, a reminder that next year FRRR will celebrate our 20th anniversary. We will invite our donor partners to join us in visiting some of the communities that have received your support to see first-hand how together we are making a difference. If you have suggestions for other ways to mark this milestone, please get in touch with our Partnerships and Services Manager Sarah Matthee on 03 5430 2399.

In closing, I wish you all a safe and happy festive season, and we look forward to working together to strengthen rural, regional and remote Australian communities in 2020.

Warm regards

Natalie Egleton
Chief Executive Officer

2018/19 Annual Review
This year, thanks to the trust placed in us by our donor partners, FRRR raised $11.7M from a record 962 donations and granted out $11.6M to 677 projects.

This was 44 percent of the requests we received. The majority of the funds awarded supported projects that work toward building, including many dealing with the drought.

To get a sense of what else we achieved together, watch this video, read the online summary, or download the full report

IMPACT: Legend and the Locals

The annual Legend and the Locals tour concluded recently, and this video captures its wonderful impact across several Queensland communities. Developed by the Keppel Coast Arts Council, Legend and the Locals received Tackling Tough Times Together funding, thanks to the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, two years in a row to help provide opportunities to connect in rural communities during the ongoing drought.

It involves a music ‘legend’ - Golden Guitar winner Troy Cassar-Daley - support acts and a conductor travelling to regional Queensland towns. The artists lead workshops in each town, which culminate in an event, bringing the community together, that sees locals perform alongside the legend.

This year, the tour revisited towns that participated in prior years. With the drought still biting, practising their acts gave community members a reason to keep coming together, nurturing connections that increase wellbeing and build resilience in the face of their continuing challenges.

INSIGHT: The long game of disaster recovery

FRRR recently facilitated a Philanthropy Australia Rural and Regional Funders’ Group meeting, where we heard from community leaders, as well as Bob Ottenhoff, CEO of the US-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). Bob shared some findings from the Center's recent research: Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2019: Data to Drive Decisions. One statistic that particularly resonated with us was that of almost $45B in disaster-related giving in the US in 2017, 64 percent supported immediate response and relief, 17 percent went toward reconstruction and recovery, and 2 percent was allocated for resilience and disaster preparedness.

This reinforces FRRR's view that an active focus on supporting communities during their medium to long-term recovery is crucial. It is also why we launched a dedicated Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund, which will make sure flexible, fit-for-purpose funding is available to support preparedness and recovery, whenever it is needed.

Our founding partner in the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund is Aussie Farmers Foundation (AFF), who generously donated $500,000. We've since had support from a number of sources, including Wilson Asset Management who have offered to match donations up to a combined $1M. These funds, together with other donations from individuals and philanthropic partners, will be invested within FRRR's corpus. Annual returns from the Fund will be granted out to support locally-led preparedness initiatives and disaster recovery in rural, regional and remote communities.

This Fund also aligns with CDP's tips for disaster-related giving, which we encourage you to review. It highlights how important it is to ‘play the long game’, and that if we take this view, we can all be involved in disaster philanthropy, whatever the funding priorities.

Read more about the Fund, and if you would like more information or wish to discuss any aspects of how the Fund will work, speak with Sarah Matthee.

Partnering opportunity: Back to School

Now in its 14th year, the gift of a Back to School voucher is much more than money. It’s the confidence children who receive the voucher gain when they fit in, and it's having the things they need to be physically and emotionally ready to learn.

For our distribution partners and our generous donors, it’s rewarding to be able to recognise a local need, address it and see positive, tangible outcomes. It’s knowing that we've all contributed to a child’s education and helped put the smile on their face!

FRRR Back to School vouchers are always in high demand. However, with our current funding for this program, more than 9,000 children in need will miss out this year. Can you help us bridge the gap?

As a reminder, 100 percent of funds donated to this program go directly to students and families in need.

Learn more about the program and how you can make a real difference to a child's education. 

Farewell to our founding directors

Last Wednesday, FRRR's Directors and several long-term donor partners gathered in Melbourne to farewell the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC and Bill Kelty AC. Both men were founding directors of FRRR, and retired in June. It was a fantastic evening celebrating their achievements and dedication to rural, regional and remote Australian communities. We are grateful to the Myer family for hosting us at Cranlana.

We wish Ian and Bill all the best for their future. Their contribution to the success of FRRR will never be forgotten.

Thanks again for your support of rural, regional and remote communities.
If you have any questions about the above, or would like to reach out for a chat, please contact
Sarah Matthee, Partnerships and Services Manager at (03) 5430 2399 or

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