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

Sustained funding supports disaster recovery

February marked the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires. FRRR was invited to join ABC Melbourne’s Mornings host, Jon Faine, for a special outside broadcast from the small community of Strathewen.

Natalie Egleton spoke on radio, alongside several local leaders who shared their community’s recovery journey. One project showcased was a fantastic partnership between the Strathewen Primary School and the Arthur’s Creek CFA, designed to help young people understand fire danger and overcome fears they have of even seeing fire trucks. FRRR has supported this program of work over a number of years, starting with an award-winning Claymation, followed by a book. The latest collaborative project is a video called A Walk Through Strathewen Fire History. This project is a fantastic example of the resilience of this community, and its creative solutions to the challenging issues that are still being experienced. WATCH the video and see for yourself the impact that supporting long-term recovery can have.

From Natalie's desk...

This summer we saw floods, fires, storms and nearly a cyclone. In each case, resilience and community spirit has come to the fore. Perhaps this has never been more evident than in responding to the devastating floods in Far North Queensland. The impacts on mental health, the economy and vibrancy of these communities will be significant, especially coming on top of years of drought.

FRRR’s Natural Disaster Response Framework focuses on providing support for medium to long-term recovery - ensuring that support is available to help communities get back on their feet, and support one another, long after most other support has moved on in 12-18 months. If you’d like to lend your support, and join others like Westpac and Rex Airlines, please do get in touch.

With so much of rural, regional and remote Australia affected by natural disasters recently, supporting our rural and regional communities is firmly on the radar. The challenge however, is to garner support in both the good times and the bad times. We live in a huge country, with great diversity, and while there are undoubtedly challenges where local communities need help to scaffold them through tough times, there are just as many communities that need support to capitalise on the opportunities. It’s a challenge, and one we are giving more and more thought to.

We must respond to and meet the needs of communities where they are at in their journey. At FRRR, we continue to evolve the way we do things, to make it easier for community groups to get the support they need. The most recent and perhaps most significant change is introducing the Strengthening Rural Communities program, an evolution of Small Grants for Rural Communities. We’ve doubled the maximum grant value to $10,000, and it is now open for application all year round.

There are great things happening right across the country, catalysed by very talented, enthusiastic and committed people, who sometimes just need a little bit of help to make their idea a reality – just like the CFA / Strathewen School video above. Talent, enthusiasm and commitment were also clearly on display this year, as it is every year, at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra last month. Once again, I was so impressed by the participants and the creative, yet grounded, ideas they came up with. We’ll soon be calling for applications for communities to adopt and adapt those ideas in their local area.

In closing, as you can read below, we are well on track to meet our grant-making targets for this year, which is only possible thanks to our generous donor partners - so thank you again for your support. Every dollar makes a difference, and work hard to ensure your donation gets to deserving projects as effectively as possible.

I hope you find this latest edition of People, Place, Prosperity of interest. As ever, I would appreciate your feedback on it - and any aspect of FRRR's operations. Thanks again for your support.

Natalie Egleton
Chief Executive Officer

From our team
FRRR’s program managers and team field a lot of enquiries on the phone, but they try to get out of the office every couple of months to check in with communities face to face. Here is some recent feedback they’ve shared.
  • Qld and NSW State Programs Manager Jacki Dimond has been fielding increased calls from early childhood facilities in drought-affected areas. She explains that they are usually heavily reliant on local philanthropy, but a lot of local funds have dried up and the availability of local volunteers has also declined. So, it’s a double whammy.
  • Mandy Grinblat, VIC, SA and TAS Programs Manager said in her recent trips she’s seen increased hardship in both Tasmania and Victoria, as a result of the cumulative impact of various shocks and stressors, such as fires and drought. But she says the positive side of this is the amazing resilience demonstrated by communities as they strive to deliver projects that will enhance their capacity to support each other and ultimately to survive and thrive.
  • Senior Programs Officer Jeanice Henderson, who manages In A Good Place, reports growing recognition that looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. This reality sits alongside the gap in access to mental health information and services in rural and remote areas. In typical rural style, communities want to take matters into their own hands and ‘do it for themselves’. This is why we support local leaders to deliver locally-led projects.
  • Joanna Kemp Philanthropic Services Manager, recently travelled to Muswellbrook in NSW to attend a grant-presentation event, where a collaboration of donors made some highly targeted grants in the Upper Hunter to help their local community respond to the drought. One of her key takeaways was the power of collaboration; what can be achieved to support rural communities through a partnership like the Hunter Corporate Collaborative and FRRR.
From our grant-making
With a backdrop of prolonged challenging climatic conditions, it’s not surprising that the highest level of funding between December and mid-February went toward supporting projects focused on health and wellbeing, via delivery of programs and services, followed by developing community-level resilience and capacity via a blend of skills and knowledge development and investing in community infrastructure. There was also an increase in projects that build organisational capacity, reflecting increased local pressures on community groups, both in terms of meeting day to day operating costs, and in attracting and retaining volunteers.

This correlates with feedback from our team that the need to come together to support one another is at the forefront of their conversations with community leaders.

A great example of the power of coming together emerged this week in the community of Yinnar, in Victoria. Following the 2009 fires, FRRR funded an exercise program for elderly people. This week, Yinnar was again affected by fires, and the trainer didn't expect many to turn up. More than 20 people came along, to support one another.

We also had feedback about the impact of a generator FRRR funded in Mackay in Qld, following Cyclone Debbie. It was critical to have power in a local sporting group's club rooms, which was a key evacuation centre. It was used recently following the worst fires in the district in living memory.

From the outside
UNICEF recentlyreleased a report entitled, ‘In their own words: the devastating impact of prolonged drought on children and young people’. The report was designed to fill the gap of knowledge of the impact of drought on children.

Two findings in particular resonated with FRRR’s experience - there are long-term mental health impacts that often won’t manifest for several years; and the children and young people themselves have great insights and solutions to the challenges and issues they and their families face - which we see expressed through the likes of the Heywire Youth Innovation program.

How we are tracking...
Thanks to the support of our donor partners, we’ve had a bumper start to this financial year. We have already awarded $5.7M in grants of our $10M target. Read more about how these funds have been distributed.

The first grants were awarded via the expanded national Tackling Tough Times Together program, with 55 recipients sharing $1.3M in grants. We also awarded $584,150 in Back to School vouchers to 11,683 students and their families. A huge thanks to all those who have supported this initiative. It really makes a significant difference.

Drought and a dust storm on our National Drought Program Manager's property in rural NSW.

As we flagged in the last edition, we have restructured our grant programs, and in late February, we opened the Strengthening Rural Communities program, which is an evolution of the Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC) program. It has been well received by community groups, with more than 180 downloads of the guidelines and more than 100 applications in progress, just two weeks after its launch. It seems this collaboratively funded program, which is now open all year round, and offers grants of up to $10,000 through the Small & Vital tier, will be just as popular as SGRC was. We welcome new partners to this program, as indications are that demand will outstrip our funding.
Reference Committee - Clockwise, from front left:
Patrick Moriarty, Annabel Dulhunty, Fiona Crawford, Jenny Wheatley, Alli Mudford, Natalie Egleton.

Planning is now well advanced on the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, which we announced late last year. This $5 million, five-year partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation involves exploring new ways to strengthen the capacity and capability of grassroots not-for-profit organisations, and to trial the effectiveness of investing deeply in a community, over an extended period.

The first IRCF Reference Committee meeting took place three weeks ago to start the process of identifying communities for a roadshow to launch the program. Once the shortlist is finalised, we’ll be on the road to explore the opportunity with those communities. Stay tuned!

Donor Spotlight: Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation
Natalie with Catherine and Harriet from LMCF
In each edition of People, Place, Prosperity, we are going to put the spotlight on one of our donor partners. It seemed fitting to start with someone who has known FRRR since it was just an idea. Catherine Brown is now CEO of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF). Catherine was involved in helping draft FRRR’s constitution and objectives, and so knows only too well the impact FRRR can make. However, FRRR’s partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation is more recent - going back to 2013.

We spoke to Catherine about why LMCF is working with FRRR, the importance of having common values and why place-based programs are becoming increasingly important in philanthropy.

Partnering opportunities
FRRR is currently seeking partners for three particular areas of need.
  1. Natural Disaster Recovery - FRRR is currently fundraising to support the communities affected by recent flooding and fires. We can channel immediate support via the Strengthening Rural Communities program, and set funds aside for medium to long-term recovery, so there is funding available in 12-18 months, to support communities in the next stage after the immediate recovery efforts are completed, and when much of the media attention has turned elsewhere. Please lend your support.
  2. Disaster Resilient: Future Ready - We know that those communities that are socially-connected and prepared recover more quickly in the event of a natural disaster. We are piloting the DR:FR program in three NSW locations - and will soon launch it in Victoria - to co-design an approach to ensure communities are disaster resilient and future ready. Please help us roll it out in Victoria. A Queensland DRFR program is also being planned, please contact us if you are interested in supporting the rollout into Queensland.
  3. Strengthening Rural Communities: Larger Leverage grants - As part of our grants restructure, we created a second tier of the Strengthening Rural Communities program - offering grants between $10,000 and $25,000. We are seeking partners to help us deliver this stream of funding, which will support larger projects, which aim higher to leveragethe ideas, creativity and resources of communities for bigger impacts and creating stronger, more connected communities.
If you’d like to know more, please contact Natalie Egleton or Sarah Matthee at FRRR.
Seville War Memorial - final funding push
For the ANZAC Centenary, the Seville Township Group, in conjunction with the local community, decided that they wanted to build a contemporary war memorial to honour the town’s veterans.

The Seville War Memorial acknowledges the local residents who served in war and it's hoped it will become an iconic local attraction. The memorial will also draw additional focus to Captain George Ingram, the Yarra Valley’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross.

The project will cost $165,333 and the group requires a further $47,000 to ensure its completion. Using their FRRR Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account they plan to reach their goal by the end of this year. They would be very grateful for your support.

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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