Local Leadership and Strong Communities

There is consensus that communities with strong local leadership are best placed to be sustainable. This requires investment in people, of all ages, as well as investment in the capacity of organisations, to equip them to better address community specific needs and in turn bring a community together.

Our goal is to support local leaders as they create viable, vibrant and adaptive communities. A highlight of this year was the Creating Inspiring Rural Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) program. Through a series of webinars and films, we shared information about how to strengthen leadership. We also reviewed the leadership training landscape and provided grants to enhance leadership development and capacity options.

Program in Action: Investing in people is investing in our future

Participants doing an exercise during the Community Leadership program.

After a decade of drought and then two devastating floods in quick succession, the Red Earth Community Foundation (RECF), in the South Burnett region of southern inland Queensland, saw an opportunity to develop a community leadership program.

In partnership with Vision 21, RECF launched the South Burnett Community Leadership Program in March 2014. FRRR and our donor partners have supported them on this journey.

“To build local leadership capacity, we designed a program suitable for anyone involved in their local community, their industry or the region. Our aim was to improve their effectiveness in their current roles and to equip others to take on a leadership role,” Foundation Director Georgie Somerset explained.

RECF chose to customise a program as there was nothing available that they could afford, nor that took into consideration the limited availability and commitments individuals were dealing with, especially in the aftermath of the floods.

RECF received support through FRRR’s CIRCLE program to evaluate the program. We also granted a further $15,000 through the Repair-Restore-Renew 2013 program to enable flood-affected residents of the South Burnett region to participate in the 2015 leadership program, to run a workshop for the alumni of the 2014 program, and a future workshop for the combined 2014 and 2015 alumni.

We also host a Donation Account enabling them to leverage our tax deductible status to help them fundraise. With this support, RECF hopes to be able to run the leadership program on an annual basis.

“It is about investing in our people and investing in the future. Passing on skills and mentoring the next generation of leaders ensures the sustainability for our industries and our regions right across the country,” explained Georgie.

  • Watch the below video which explains how they did it and some of the key considerations in designing the program.

  • Hover over the panels below to read four Grants in Brief.

leadership skills

A $3,000 REAPing Rewards grant enabled the Renmark Children’s Centre in SA to engage students in developing a plan to improve their transition between grades. Pictured are students making a vision tree for their transition plan.


up local

The Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program helps people affected by the 2009 Victorian fires to access resources and develop skills to be influential advocates in their community. Funds helped develop the initiative, and fund places in the 10-month program.


tools of

The Tools of Survival program teaches young people in rural areas the life skills they need to live away from home. Through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation program, Mid West Health, SA, ran seven Tools of Survival workshops including, first aid, mental health, budgeting and interview skills.


Understanding Crowdfunding

A $1,800 Small Grant funded by the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation (managed by Equity Trustees) allowed The Atherton Tablelands Chamber of Commerce in Qld to present four workshops on how crowdfunding can become an important new funding source.



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