Investing in Rural Community Futures - VFFF

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Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) aims to strengthen local not-for-profit organisations and ultimately, enable them to thrive.

The IRCF program is based on the belief that local leaders are best placed to know what is going to make the biggest difference in their community and for their organisational sustainability. By supporting local solutions using a multi-faceted approach, our aim is to build resilient and strong communities.

The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and FRRR have partnered with three communities in NSW - Junee, Nambucca Valley and Leeton - to provide support from 2018 until 2023, which includes access to grant funding, planning and facilitation assistance, skill development, and experience sharing.

FRRR is working in tandem with the local NFPs in these communities, to help them identify where they need support.

To date the program has supported projects that will help improve organisational systems, access to skills and training, developing fundraising strategies, communication through a range of digital platforms and strategic planning.

The aim is to give these NFPs the confidence, ability and skills to continue the great work they do on an ongoing basis.

The IRCF journey

During 2018/19, FRRR focused on identifying and selecting three partner communities in NSW - Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley. We started 2020 with moving into the co-design phase, working alongside the communities to develop their community roadmaps (capacity plans) and identifying associated resourcing and delivery needs, focused on the IRCF strategic priorities. See the journey map below.


Each community on the IRCF journey is very different with its challenges, unique personalities and the depth and breadth of not-for-profits that work within its boundaries. FRRR recognises it is fundamental to have a local contact on the ground, and we believe that local leaders know their environment and community better than we ever could. Therefore, we have employed local community facilitators to help assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of projects suggested as part of the community roadmap work. 

We are well on the way through this journey, but there are still opportunities for local community groups to get involved. Watch this video to learn more.

Our IRCF partners

Following a comprehensive Expression of Interest process, the communities of Leeton, Nambucca Valley and Junee in New South Wales are partnering with FRRR in the IRCF program from 2018-2023.


Leeton has a strong and diverse NFP sector, with a population of more than 8,000 people in the heart of the Riverina. By participating in the IRCF program, Leeton's NFPs hope to create more connection between their groups and networks, build the capacity of their leaders through training and development, and revitalise their community sector. The NFP sector in Leeton has come together as ‘Leeton Connect’, an umbrella group that will connect the Leeton NFPs through networking, participation, collaboration and inclusion.

    The Leeton Community Roadmap (capacity plan) is now operational, and a community facilitator has been appointed:

    Nambucca Valley

    The communities of Nambucca Heads, Bowraville, Macksville, Valla Beach, and Scotts Head make up the Nambucca Valley. The combined population of these communities, which are in the mid-north coast of NSW, is more than 20,000. The Nambucca Valley NFPs want to build relationships, connect across the Valley, and work together on developing a Community Roadmap, a shared vision for the Valley.

    We are excited to announce the recruitment of two community coordinators. If you are an NFP situated in Nambucca Valley and would like to find out more about the IRCF program and how you could potentially be involved, then please contact your facilitator:


    A satellite town close to Wagga Wagga, Junee has a population of just over 6,500 people and is growing. It has a diverse NFP sector, which has embraced the IRCF program and are ready to see a change for their community. They want to strengthen the NFP organisations by providing a co-ordinated focus on improving the long-term sustainability of their groups and networks.

    The Junee Community Roadmap (capacity plan) has been finalised, and if you want to get involved, please contact your facilitator:

    Ongoing Partnership Grants (August 2020)

    Support is also being provided through a rolling grant program that is open to individual organisations and collective initiatives. FRRR received a strong response to these grants and has awarded a further $557,698 in funding to the three communities of Leeton, Junee and Nambucca Valley. The focus on these communities is to support a range of capacity building projects surrounding governance, strategic planning, infrastructure, community mindset, administration support and youth engagement.

    The successful and recommended NFP organisations have been published in the August media release. The NFP organisations that were not recommended are not viewed as unworthy, but rather require more work, and the IRCF team is working on a Toolbox of Support to aid the NFP organisations for future grant applications. The Toolbox of Support for all cohorts will be localised and delivered in a COVID-19 safe manner. 

    Start-Up Grants (August 2019)

    As part of the process of determining the long-term partners for this program, Tumut, Leeton, Junee, Nambucca Valley, and Moree received $60,000 in Start-Up Grants in August 2019 to support a range of organisational capacity building projects. The funds had the purpose of enabling the community NFPs to work collaboratively and be in a position to submit an Expression of Interest to part of the long-term support element of the program.

    Despite not being part of the longer-term program, FRRR continues to work with the communities of Tumut and Moree to make the most of their Start-Up Grants.

    Learn more

    For more information on the Investing in Rural Communities Program, please contact IRCF Program Manager Allison Mudford on 0448 992 820, or via email, or IRCF Program Support Officer Yashna Poorun on 1800 170 020 or via email.


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