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Newsletter | april 2017

A word from the CEO

Qld floods

Communities in Queensland and northern New South Wales are still dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. The stories that continue to emerge make it clear that this is one of the biggest disasters on record. FRRR knows these communities well, having provided just under $1M to 133 projects across the impacted regions in the last three years. They are strong but will need a hand as they recover and, in time, renew their community infrastructure, local economies, environment and support the health and wellbeing of those impacted.

We've had some generous support from our donor partners, and know more is on the way but we continue to fundraise so we can support their medium-long term recovery. As you can read in this interview with Ann Bichel, who experienced the 2011 floods in Queensland, this kind of support is very important. All contributions – no matter how small or large – would be appreciated and donations over $2 are tax deductible.

It has been a busy month on a number of other fronts too. We were delighted to have two grants FRRR made to local community organisations receive special mention at the Philanthropy Australia Awards. Congratulations to the Toolangi District Community House for the Fit for Free project and The Australian Farmers’ Market Association for the Boots for Change project. Both were a great example of leveraging a grant, and measuring the impact.

I had the pleasure of judging the Regional Australia Institute’s Lightbulb Moments project, alongside Senator Fiona Nash, rural social enterprise expert Kerry Anderson, Tony Hogarth from Prime Television and RAI's CEO Jack Archer. Ten great ideas were selected to receive a suite of support from the RAI, FRRR and Prime 7. It was inspiring to learn about the many ‘lightbulb’ moments coming out of regional Australia and I’m looking forward to working more closely with the finalists.

A key part of FRRR’s role is to shine a light on the strengths, diversity and challenges facing rural, regional and remote communities and to encourage philanthropic investment to add capacity to community-led solutions. We do this by capturing the great outcomes of our grantees and aligning these with broader evidence and policy frameworks. Over the last few months, our team has been hard at work developing FRRR’s evaluation and impact approach, laying the groundwork for a new grants management system to be introduced by the end of 2017. Between now and the end of the year, we will provide a range of information and support to introduce the new system and ensure that the transition is smooth, so look out for those communications.  

On a final note, we currently have more than $1 million available in our grant programs, so I encourage you to check our grant calendar to see what is available to help you address issues in your community.

Until next time …

Natalie Egleton
Chief Executive Officer

Cyclone Debbie is a Big Issue

Cyclone Debbie ad in the Big Issue

Cyclone Debbie and the subsequent floods have largely left newspaper pages and our screens. However, the hundreds of rural, regional and remote communities affected are still top of mind for FRRR and many of our partners, who are working hard to ensure funds will be available to support their medium to long-term recovery needs.

A very big thank you to the donor partners that have contributed to our Cyclone Debbie Recovery Fund, including ANZ Banking Group, as well as many other individual donors. Bendigo Bank, the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association and Aussie Farmers Foundation have also been running fundraisers.

Origin Foundation also gave us a page in the Big Issue, so we can try to reach a broader group of people with this appeal. A massive thanks to everyone who has come on board to date – and again, if you can help, we would appreciate any donation.

BTS vouchers helping thousands of kids

Sending off the BTS vouchers

Buying new shoes for the start of school or a couple of pairs of long pants for winter may seem like a normal experience for most families with kids at school. However, for many families in rural, regional and remote Australia, getting these necessary basic items means going without something else or ‘making do’.

That's why FRRR's Back to School vouchers are so important, and this year, in partnership with local community organisations, FRRR has distributed more than 9,300 $50 vouchers for Target stores and local businesses. That's 9,300 individual students who won't have to 'make do' this year.

Program Manager Jeanice Henderson says that every year the team receives letters and comments from parents who've received a voucher, sharing the tangible and very personal difference a $50 voucher from this program makes to a young student.

2017 BTS Voucher

The number of vouchers we distribute is entirely dependent on the generous support of our donor partners. We are very grateful for their support, however we were still unable to meet requests for a further 6,000 vouchers. Some of the gap was met by local organisations who worked hard to raise funds to purchase vouchers in addition to the allocation they received via FRRR. However, there was still considerable unmet demand.

With the end of financial year coming up, you might like to consider contributing to the program. One hundred percent of all funds raised for this program go toward purchasing vouchers.

Programs update

We recently announced the recipients of the Social Innovation Fund's Eden Futures Program. Eight projects shared in $270,000 to support innovative and community-led responses to improve opportunities for Eden's young people and address some challenging issues. The funds come from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

As Natalie highlighted above, we currently have more than $1 million available in funding to support rural and regional communities across Australia:

Check out FRRR’s grant calendar or follow us on Twitter or Facebook so you know when grant programs open.

Donation Accounts - a tax-effective fundraising option for community projects

Rocky Creek WWII Igloo

In addition to offering grants, FRRR helps local community groups fundraise for approved causes by hosting a Donation Account on their behalf. This allows tax-deductible donations to be made to groups that may otherwise not receive the funding support, and for organisations that may only be able to make donations to certain types of organisations (e.g. those that have a DGR listing) to donate via FRRR and have the funds support the organisation or particular cause.

As at the end of December 2016, FRRR hosted 54 donation accounts on behalf of a wide range of community groups, for a wide range of causes. For example:

  • Atherton Rotary is fundraising to support the restoration and preservation of the heritage-listed Rocky Creek World War II Igloo (pictured above);
  • Border Trust Community Foundation for the Albury/Wodonga region has various accounts raising money for charitable initiatives in specific communities;
  • NSW Landcare, a grassroots movement that promotes and advocates for ecologically sustainable development in NSW, recently opened an account to help them attract funding to support their long-term sustainability so they can continue their work;
  • Farmers for Climate Action, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation is raising funds to tackle climate change; and
  • LightnUp Inc in Lismore has just expanded their donation account to help them raise the funds they need to repair their lovely lanterns and replace equipment destroyed by the recent floods.

Learn more about how a donation account might be able to help you, whether you’re a community group, a Community Foundation or a donor wanting to support a particular group or cause.

In the media

BTS vouchers bring relief to Eyre Peninsula families

BTS vouchers distributed by Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation

The Port Lincoln Times recently reported that the Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation was distributing Back to School vouchers around the Eyre Peninsula.

More than 900 $50 vouchers were provided to families in need to help them purchase items for their school-aged children to assist them starting the new school year. Vouchers are commonly used by families to buy clothing, footwear, school bags, stationery items and other equipment students use at school.

The Community Foundation noted that demand again outstripped supply, commenting that the need for this support across the Eyre Peninsula is strikingly high. Image courtesy of Port Lincoln Times.

Bingo! Donald's Golf Bowls Club a winner

New chairs for the Donald Golf Bowls Club

The often limited capacity of regional and rural communities to raise funds, either due to population, economic wealth, limited access to resources and /or a limited knowledge of, and access to, philanthropy, means that the support they do receive often has a big impact.

This was certainly the case for the Donald Golf Bowls Club in Victoria, where a $2,883 Small Grants for Rural Communities grant, funded by The RE Ross Trust, enabled them to purchase 100 chairs to create a comfortable meeting place for members and other users of the complex. As this photograph from the Buloke Times shows, the Bingo ladies are certainly happy. They were among the first to use the new chairs at their regular Thursday night Bingo session.

We’re currently assessing the latest round of grant applications for the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, and the next round opens in August.

Resilience in the OUTBACK

If you’re an avid reader of RM Williams OUTBACK magazine, you may well have spotted an advertisement for FRRR in the middle of the feature article on the subject of rural resilience. It featured interviews with several industry leaders and subject matter experts about resilience and how it can be cultivated in rural communities.

Natalie Egleton was interviewed for the article, and she followed this up with an in-depth piece on resilience on the Probono website. If you missed them, both articles are worth a read.

FRRR ad in the OUTBACK magazine

Handy tips for community groups

Community Heritage Grants

Community Heritage Awards

The 2017 grant round of the National Library of Australia's Community Heritage Grants program is now open. The Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups.

The grants can assist with the preservation of locally-owned but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible. This could include letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material. The funds can go toward significance assessments for collections; assessing preservation needs; conservation activities; collection management; and training workshops.

Visit their website for more information. Applications close 5pm, 8 May 2017.

Community Engagement Toolkit

As a community organisation, it is often hard to know how to best connect and engage with your key stakeholders and the audiences you are trying to reach. Where do you start and how can you make the most of the limited resources you have, to make the biggest impact possible?

The Collective Impact Forum has just launched a Community Engagement Toolkit, which includes tools for planning community engagement so they are more purposeful, equitable, transparent, and strategic, ensuring that community members are true partners for achieving impact.

The kit includes a range of tools and assessments designed to help you work through some of these questions and become more strategic in your thinking and engagement planning. The Community Engagement Toolkit is free to download from the Resources section of their website.



  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Big Issue: Cyclone Debbie  
  3. Back to School  
  4. Programs update  
  5. Tax-effective fundraising option  
  6. In the media:
- Eyre Peninsula, SA
- Donald, Vic
OUTBACK resilience
  7. Community tips  
  8. Grants in action:
- Dorrigo, NSW
- Blackall / Tambo, Qld
- Strathewen, Vic
- Jabiru, NT
- Earbus Fdtn WA

Grants in action

The revival of Dorrigo's moo-ral

Dorrigo moo-ral

In 2007. artist Peter Mulheron and children from the Dorrigo Public School created a community street mural.

Over the years, it had become badly damaged by the weather and mould. The artist, together with members of the Arts Council of the Dorrigo Visual Arts Group Sub-Committee (NSW) used a $900 grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the Bertalli Family Foundation, to restore the cow-themed mural.  

More than 60 members – some in their 80s, participated in the restoration of this community tourist attraction!


Blackall-Tambo get going online

Workshop in Blackhall-Tambo

Drought impacts everyone, not just farmers, with flow-on effects for small businesses in local communities. Blackall and Tambo are two such towns in western Queensland, with businesses reporting significant reductions in turnover. However, for many there are opportunities online, if they know how to capture them.

Through a $7,500 grant from the Tackling Tough Times Together program, thanks to support from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, local leaders were able to run marketing and digital training workshops. This enabled at least eight small businesses to strengthen their online presence and alleviate the impact of drought and the economic downturn.


Fire safety claymation teaches valuable lessons

Claymation characters

Strathewen was one of the communities severely affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. It took 20 months for the primary school to be rebuilt, but the recovery of the residents and students is ongoing. 

The Arthurs Creek & Strathewen CFA received a grant of $19,430 from FRRR's Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), for their members to work with grade 5 and 6 Strathewen primary school students to develop a claymation (clay animation) called 'Survive and Thrive - A bushfire message from Strathewen'.  

They also created a 'behind the scenes' video about the creation of this project - check them both out here

This project built the students' knowledge of fire danger ratings, and helped students become more resilient through education and understanding of the environment, and strengthened connections between the CFA and the school community.

With funding from VBAF, FRRR continues to provide grants to support the communities impacted by the fires. The GR&W and Community Group Futures programs are both currently open. Visit our website for more information.

Jabiru mini miners' new sandpit is a hit

Jabiru mini miners

The West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC)  assumed management of the Jabiru Childcare Centre after it experienced financial problems. They knew the difficulties of operating a childcare centre in a remote location but recognised the great benefits of a local centre.

Jabiru is a small town 255 km east of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Aside from the Ranger Uranium Mine, Jabiru's most notable industries are tourism (it is the commercial and accommodation hub of Kakadu National Park), and Aboriginal arts and culture. The availability of a childcare service means that people have the option to put their children into care while they are working.

To help them provide high quality education and care to the families of the Kakadu region, the West Arnhem Regional Council were awarded a $5,000 REAPing Rewards grant, funded by the Yulgilbar Foundation. It enabled them to refurbish the childcare centre’s sandpit.

The ‘Jabiru Mini Miners’ project involved the removal and replacement of the current sandpit with a larger one that has a wooden frame around it to offer a more natural play space for the children to explore, learn and develop in.

The new sandpit has enhanced the aesthetics of the outdoor area, and has encouraged the children to be adventurous during their play time, as well as providing increased opportunities for shared play experiences and building gross and fine motor skills.

Partnering to protect children's hearing

The Captain and the kids

WATCH:  Earbus Foundation of WA exists to prevent Aboriginal children from suffering hearing loss which in turns stops them from learning. Using a #CPPW grant, they produced a video to showcase their partnership with Starlight Children's Foundation. Captain Starlight makes the visit less traumatic for children, and ensures high levels of attendance. CPPW grant applications close May 12.

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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Tel: 03 5430 2399
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Fax: 03 5443 8900
Email: info@frrr.org.au