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Newsletter | december 2015

A word from the CEO

Firstly, thanks to those who sent such warm words of welcome in response to my being formally appointed CEO of FRRR – they were greatly appreciated. There is a wonderful legacy on which to build and I am very much looking forward to continuing to grow FRRR and connect even more donors with local leaders to deepen our reach into rural, regional and remote Australia. Recently, we welcomed Dominos as a new partner, and I hope they will be the first of many. 

We are uniquely placed to share with rural, regional and remote communities and our donor partners examples of what’s happening across the country to enhance the sustainability, adaptability and viability of communities. I plan to travel regularly to strengthen our role in enabling this. Recently I met with community representatives in the Alpine Valley in Victoria when we launched the new Social Change 101 program and Wagga Wagga in NSW to commence community engagement for a new social innovation program.


In the last month I’ve met with donors and partners in South Australia and New South Wales, and I also had the chance to meet many of our long-term donor partners at the Board’s end of year luncheon in Melbourne. Thank you to those who came along, including our Founding Patron, Baillieu Myer AC. As you can read below, at that event we farewelled Margaret Smith AO, one of FRRR’s founding Board members, and it was also a chance to formally farewell Alexandra Gartmann, FRRR's former CEO.

It is already apparent that we are in for a busy natural disaster season, and we are ready to help where we can. We are exploring the needs in the areas of WA and SA that experienced tragic fires and I am keen to work with any donors who want to join us to support the recovery of those communities. I am delighted that Louise Mitchell has joined the team permanently to look after our natural disaster recovery programs and she can also answer any queries you may have.


Natural disasters are a permanent part of Australia life. In recognising the need for communities to be prepared and resilient to the impacts of disasters, we are designing a project with The Prince's Charities Australia designed to enhance community preparedness and resilience. In November, our Chairman, Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC, and I had the opportunity to meet HRH Prince Charles. We were able to introduce him to two community groups from the Blue Mountains (pictured) that we funded via Repair-Restore-Renew 2013, helping to put a face to community-led local preparedness initiatives. 

While the year is rapidly coming to a close, there is still lots happening on the granting front, as you can read in the program update below. Please keep an eye on our website for details. 

In closing, I hope you have a wonderful break and come back rested and refreshed, and ready to continue to build on the strength of rural, regional and remote communities. As you can read below, we will certainly be doing the same as our offices are closed for a week. 

Happy holidays!

Natalie Egleton

Program update

Since the last newsletter, in partnership with the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), we supported another 25 projects to assist in the long-term recovery from the 2009 bushfires. The grants were via the Grants for Resilience and Wellness program and the new Community Group Futures program.

Social Change 101

Meanwhile, we launched a new recovery program funded by VBAF - Social Change 101 – to enable local change-makers to learn from their community's leading business and social enterprise experts about how to bring their social enterprise idea to life for the broader benefit of their community. The School for Social Entrepreneurs will  deliver the program in three regions impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. The first will focus on the Alpine / Indigo region. Two further programs will be offered in yet to be determine locations. If you are interested, register your interest, as that will inform where they are offered.

Meanwhile, thirty community groups in cotton growing areas of Queensland and New South Wales shared $150,000 in grant funding thanks to the Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities program. Funded by the Monsanto Fund, each group received $5,000 to provide support where it's most needed.

Grant recipients of the Small Grants for Rural Communities program will be announced next week, so keep an eye on our website or your inbox.

As 2015 comes to a close, FRRR and our partners are still working hard to support community groups doing amazing things. A special note of thanks to two Tackling Tough Times Together donor partners: Qantas ran a charity flight and raised more than $90,000 and Aussie Farmers Foundation customers raised $13,000, simply by purchasing a vege box. These funds will be added to the funding available for this program.

The following program is currently open:

  • Tackling Tough Times Together - helps communities in Qld & northern NSW access the resources they need to support one another through the drought. This round offers grants up to $20,000, and EOIs are invited for grants up to $50,000. Applications close 27 January, 2016.

Three programs will open next week - on 21 December:

  • The McEwen Foundation grants for the Goulburn Valley, Victoria support youth development and / or vulnerable young children; children’s early learning and development services; and / or accommodation that benefits older people. Closes 1 February, 2016.
  • Small Grants for Rural Communities offers up to $5,000 for projects and activities that provide clear public benefit for communities in rural, regional or remote Australia. Priority is given to communities of 10,000 or fewer. The next round closes 24 March, 2016.
  • REAPing Rewards supports projects that enhance educational opportunities for students and their educators. Grants of up to $20,000 are available. Applications close 24 March, 2016.

Among the first programs to open in 2016 will be:

More details will be outlined in the next edition of eNews.

FYI, last month we made some changes to our website that mean it’s now easier to read on your phone or tablet, so you can stay up to date with grant programs and access resources on any device. Thanks to our web development partner CeRDI for making it possible. 

So long Margaret!

Alexandra Gartmann and Margaret Smith

It was the end of an era in November, as long-standing Director Margaret Smith AO resigned from the FRRR Board after 15 years of service.

A founding Board member, Margaret’s contribution was recognised at a lunch in Melbourne in December, where FRRR Board members and staff were joined by many donor partners.

Despite her resignation, Margaret still has plenty to do to keep her busy, as she will continue as a member of the assessment committee for Small Grants for Rural Communities.

FRRR is very appreciative of Margaret’s contributions as a Board member, and we wish her well in her ‘retirement’.

The event was also an opportunity for the Board and donor partners to formally farewell Alexandra Gartmann.

Celebrating community partnerships

Celebrations across the country during CPPW.

More than thirty Foundations and community groups took the opportunity to say thanks and share their stories about the impact they make by working in partnership during the inaugural Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week. As Christian Porter, Minister for Social Services, explained in the release launching CPPW, the aim was to provide an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of collaboration between community organisations and their philanthropic partners.

Events took place across the length and breadth of Australia, including:

For those on social media, check out the photos on Facebook or type in the hashtag #CPPWeek in Twitter and Instagram to see all the things that were said and done. A big thank you to everyone who got involved and we look forward to working with Philanthropy Australia to make it even bigger and better next year. 

In the media

Rebirth of a shepherd's hut

Reconstruction of the shepherd's hut in Birchip

In north western Victoria, the Birchip Historical Society is celebrating the completion of the recreation of a shepherd’s hut that dates back to around 1847.

The Buloke Times reported that creating the replica of the original drop-log cabin that was built at Narraport Station has been a labour of love. It is significant, as in 1847 when it was originally leased, there were no fences, so shepherds were employed to manage the vast mobs and they needed some shelter.

The Birchip Historical Society used a $3,338 grant from FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the William Buckland Foundation, to purchase the poles and beams necessary for the reconstruction.

The project has involved many from the local community, including students who are involved with the Historical Society through the school curriculum. A few years back, they photographed and researched the Shepherd's Hut while it was in its original location, and this booklet was very useful in checking some of the finer details in the reconstruction of the hut. Image courtesy of the Buloke Times.

CARA-funded project receives innovation award

Staff from McClean care celebrate receiving their innovation award

We were delighted to learn at the end of November that a CARA funded project won an award at the Northern Inland Innovation Awards held in Inverell, NSW.

McLean Care received recognition for their Bush Compass program, which is aimed at reducing barriers associated with accessing services by supporting older people living in rural and remote areas through virtual face-to-face service delivery.

The Inverell Times reported that Bush Compass uses Skype to reach out to ageing clients in isolated areas such as Mungindi, Tingha and Bundarra, providing them with access to a physiotherapist, exercise programs, and personalised healthcare advice.

McLean Care received a $10,000 grant from FRRR’s Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) program, funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, which helped them design the accessibility program. Gail Ting, Community Care Manager with McLean Care excitedly reported that plans are in place to expand this program further across the region. Image courtesy of the Inverell Times.

Youth in Sustainable Ag

An initiative of Northern Gulf Resource Management Group has enabled students to gain an insight into sustainable and renewable agriculture, thanks to a grant for $9,285 through FRRR’s REAPing Rewards program, funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Caledonia Foundation. The 'Youth in Sustainable Ag' program gave twelve students from across the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York the opportunity to learn about innovations in agriculture and natural resource management in Northern Australia.

As reported online on the ABC Rural website, a highlight of the four-day camping trip on a remote property was the ‘moment with a mentor’ sessions, giving participants one-on-one sessions with a range of different mentors discussing career ambitions and opportunities.

The success of these sessions was evident when Mick Theile, a student whose family owns and operates a barramundi farm at Julatten on the Atherton Tableland commented to an ABC reporter, “I think I want to get into cattle but also maybe barra. I'm not sure if I just want to continue the legacy or start something new.”

Tourism eases the burden

Podcast 3 on FRRR's website

In our third FRRR podcast, we looked at a number of small rural towns in Queensland that are working to ease the financial burden during drought via tourism initiatives.

Journalist Cameron Wilson spoke to Reverend Jenny Coombes of Longreach, who shared insights into the major effect that drought can have on small businesses in rural areas. Alan Smith, tourism operator and owner of ‘Outback Aussie Tours’ talked about the role of tourism during tough times, and Stuart Mackenzie of the Outback Gondwana Foundation was interviewed about the great opportunity that the small community of Eromanga is excited about – a new museum for its impressive collection of dinosaur and megafauna fossil finds.

In case you missed it, here are the links to our first two podcasts:

Handy tips for community groups

Aussie Farmers Foundation Grants

Aussie Farmers Foundation logo

Grants from Aussie Farmers Foundation are now open for organisations working in rural and regional Australia on one or more of these areas:

  • Economic wellbeing of farms and farming families;
  • Disaster relief for farming communities including drought;
  • Kids health & healthy eating, including awareness of food provenance;
  • Food waste and food security; and
  • Mental health for farming communities.

For more information, visit the Aussie Farmers Foundation website.

Grant seekers - consider your 'endgame'

Patrick Moriarty from Our Community recently posted an article on LinkedIn highlighting a ground-breaking essay by Alice Gugelev and Andrew Stern on how not-for-profits can achieve more social impact by asking the right questions and focusing on the right goals - ie their 'endgame'. Doing so enables local leaders to maximise their ability to achieve significant social impact.

Our Community's grant-seeker template is a great way to collate all the information you need to be able to answer - in some form - when you apply for funding. Patrick talked this through in the second CIRCLE Webinar on seeking funding. And if you are on the hunt for funding, check out these other great tips to help you get started.

Benchmark your board’s financial and governance skills

Earlier this year, the Institute of Community Directors Australia surveyed senior representatives of Australian not-for-profits about governance and financial oversight. The results make interesting reading and provide an opportunity to benchmark your organisation. Visit the Our Community site to read the report in full and find out how your organisation compares.

Office closure for the holiday season

The FRRR office will close at the end of the day on Wednesday 23 December, and reopen on Monday 4 January, 2016. Our phones will be monitored during this time, and our CEO, Natalie Egleton will be contactable via email: ceo@frrr.org.au.

We wish everyone in our network a happy, healthy and safe holiday and hope that you are able to enjoy a break.




  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Program update  
  3. Farewell  to Margaret Smith  
  4. Celebrating partnerships - CPPW  
  5. In the media:
- Birchip, Vic
- Inverell, NSW
- Northern Qld
- FRRR Podcast #3
  6. Handy tips for community groups  
  7. Xmas closure  
  8. Grants in action:
- Glenburn, Vic
- Atherton Tablelands, Qld
- Margaret River, WA
- Nimbin, NSW
- Boggabilla, NSW
- Elcho Island, NT

Grants in action

Glenburn Growth aids recovery

Glenburn hall

Like many small communities in rural and regional Australia, the Glenburn Hall is the hub of the community.

The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires shattered the once close-knit community. Since the fires, the Glenburn Hall and Progress Association have worked hard to provide appropriate facilities and equipment to enhance community connectedness.

A $10,835 grant from FRRR’s Grants for Resilience and Wellness program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, enabled the Association to purchase outdoor tables and chairs that are easy for their ageing community to use, and a projector to be used for community social events and educational purposes.

And already the new equipment has been put to good use, resulting in a noticeable growth in numbers and new faces at the hall.

Read more ...

TREAT for the environment

A community-based tree planting organisation in northern Queensland that has more than 600 volunteer members works to revegetate degraded lands and create corridors for wildlife on the Atherton Tablelands.

Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT) received $3,000, funded by the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, via  FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program to retrofit purpose-built rack stands to the existing hardening off bays at their rainforest tree seedling nursery.

TREAT President, Angela McCaffrey, said that these ergonomically designed pipe racks that support the bays of seedling trays have made such a difference to the use, comfort and safety of the volunteers.

Read more ...

Daycare believers

Expansion works on the daycare centre

For more than 20 years, Margaret River Community Resource Centre (MRCRC) has supported the local community in Margaret River, WA, helping to relieve suffering, poverty and disadvantage. The organisation runs a number of programs including a Childcare Centre, a soup kitchen, and facilitation of practical placements for high school, TAFE and university students.

An initial grant from FRRR helped kickstart fundraising necessary to expand the Childcare Centre,which reopens in February 2016. But they still needed help to equip it appropriately.

A further grant for $8,000 through the REAPing Rewards program, funded by Third Link Investment Managers, now means they also have the necessary educational resources and furniture to complement the redevelopment of the centre.

MRCRC representative, Sally Hays, says that it’s been a hard road but they have persevered. 

Read more ...

Strengthening the learning of pre-schoolers with ThinkPads

Nimbin is a small rural town in northern NSW with serious social issues including persistent alcohol and substance abuse. As a result, the preschool is a very important place for the community as it is a space for children and families to learn different ways of living.

Through the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program, and thanks to technology company Lenovo who also donated $30,000 of IT equipment to the 2015 program, the Nimbin Preschool received one Lenovo Thinkpad and two Lenovo Thinkpad Tablets valued at $3,097 to enhance the teaching at the preschool and therefore, the learning outcomes of the children in their years before formal schooling.

Kylie Kingston, Service Director at Nimbin Preschool explains that both staff and the children are benefiting from the use of this technology.

“Our preschool is a changed space as a result of the new Thinkpad and Tablets,” said Kylie.

Read more ...

Five Big Ideas for Boggabilla

Boggabilla-Toomelah in far northern New South Wales has a large indigenous population and is significantly disadvantage.

Gunawirra, a not-for-profit public benevolent institution operating in the community, received an $8,000 REAPing Rewards grant, funded by the Yulgilbar Foundation. It went towards implementing the “Five Big Ideas” program in the local pre-school. The program uses fun, interactive techniques to deliver information in an interesting and culturally appropriate way.

One of the five modules is “My Land, Our Environment”, and involves local elders and establishing vegetable gardens. Norma Tracey from Gunawirra said the funds went towards purchasing the support materials required to run the program.

“The best thing we did was to purchase a tank. The pre-school had set up a garden but the plants were dying in the heat.

“Teaching good eating habits and limiting the use of fast-food is an important part of this program. The garden has proved to be a resounding success in involving parents and the community in the pre-school,” said Norma.

Read more ...

Echo Island recovers to their own tune

Technical expertised shared at Elcho Is Cyclone Recovery Concert.

Remote Elcho Island in north east Arnhem Land, NT, was devastated by Cyclone Lam earlier this year, and then again by Cyclone Nathan not a month later, leaving 200 people homeless. Many are still residing in temporary housing.

The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation supports remote Indigenous youth through music workshops in partnership with the local school. They used a $15,000 Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) grant funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation to facilitate a Cyclone Recovery Concert.

The funds helped cover the costs of travel and freight of personnel and equipment, as everything has to come from Darwin. The organising committee made good use of the equipment and personnel, presenting two concerts. They also used the equipment and technical and event production experts to give 11 local young people the chance to learn new skills.

These skills have already been put to use, as they provided the sound system and production support for the kids' disco during the festival.

Whilst the recovery efforts continue on this tiny, isolated community, their spirits have been lifted and the community is now more cohesive as they continue their recovery journey.

Read more ...

The FRRR Mission is

"to champion the economic and social strength of Australia's regional, rural & remote communities through partnerships with the private sectors, philanthropy and governments."



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