CIRCLE grants help build leadership capacity

SUCCESSFUL applicants from the 2015 Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) grants program were announced today.

The program, developed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and made possible with a $500,000 grant from the Australian Government, fosters community leadership development in regional and remote areas. In addition to the $350,000 grants program, this funding also enabled development of training and development materials and resources to increase confidence and skills to take on leadership roles and respond to future change.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, said the leadership investment under the CIRCLE program is vital for realising the prospects of regional communities.

“Investing in rural leadership is critical if we are to realise the vision of vibrant rural communities and industries in Australia,” Mr Truss said.

“Capable local leaders will ensure that local communities have the skills to tackle relevant issues effectively, with good planning and execution.

“I congratulate all the successful applicants on their high quality proposals that will make a positive difference to their communities.

“I am delighted to be supporting this program because it directly improves the reach and accessibility of leadership development programs across the country, including through more online and virtual training.

“Travel costs are often a barrier to participation and this online approach helps to overcome the tyranny of distance that many rural communities face.”

Chief Executive Officer of FRRR, Alexandra Gartmann, said this practical support would make a lasting impact in these communities.

“With strong leadership and well-functioning local community organisations, including philanthropic Community Foundations, communities have greater capacity to turn challenges into opportunities,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Additional training opportunities and alumni programs, as well as investment in IT equipment, governance training and strategic planning support for community organisations will help create capacity and build stronger, more vibrant communities.

The 20 successful grant recipients include funding for:

  • The South West Women’s Health and Information Centre in Bunbury, WA which will use the funds to give women in bushfire prone areas new skills in leadership, decision making, technology and natural disaster preparedness and recovery. Development training sessions will be held with local community groups in Nannup, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Donnybrook, Manjimup and Pemberton. Follow-up individual coaching will consolidate group learning.
  • The National Rural Women’s Coalition Limited which will trial existing technology to overcome the barrier of distance to leadership training and development. This project will work with the Office of Women’s Policy (Darwin), to target and train potential leaders in the Northern Territory.
  • The Tasmanian Leaders Inc which will support participants of previous leadership programs with a series of webinars and residential programs. These will enable the graduates to have direct input into Government policy and planning and to support a 10th anniversary celebration of alumni from previous programs.
  • The Ag Excellence Alliance Inc in South Australia seeks to reduce barriers to participation in leadership training for emerging community leaders, particularly regional South Australian women in agriculture. This project will involve building a sustainable network of peer-to-peer support for female rural leaders through an online mentoring / leadership model and interactive learning activities.

The full list of grant recipients is below:


Red Earth Community Foundation South Burnett Ltd

Sowing Seeds for the Future
Enhanced operational capacity and effectiveness, and strengthened leadership networks, through development of program database, Alumni program and impact evaluation

South Burnett, QLD


Vision 21 - Advancing Rural Initiatives Association Inc

Leadership Development for Western Queensland
Strengthened leadership skills and networks through delivery of community leadership taster program and Alumni networking workshop

Western QLD


Committee for Wagga Inc

Wagga Wagga School Leaders Program
Increased youth leadership capacity via delivery of a School Leaders Program

Wagga Wagga, NSW


Kyogle Council

Building Leadership Kyogle
Increased leadership capacity through development and delivery of community leadership program, incorporating local project leadership work

Kyogle, NSW


Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc - Loganholme Office

Elevate Her - Supporting Women in the Mid-Murray Region
Increased women’s participation in community leadership activity via delivery of a grassroots leadership program, including webinars and mentoring circles

Swan Hill Region, VIC


Goulburn Murray Community Leadership Program Inc

Target 500; Engaging the Goulburn Murray's Community Leadership Graduates into the Future
Increased Alumni engagement through creation of Alumni database and program evaluation

Goulburn Murray Region, VIC


Regional Arts Victoria

The Creative Leadership Alumni Program
Strengthened youth arts leadership through intensive leadership development and mentoring program that also connects participants with Victorian Community Leadership Programs

Rural, regional and remote VIC


Tasmanian Leaders Inc

Tasmanian Leaders Alumin Thinkband Investments
Strengthened Alumni program through the development of webinars, facilitated discussion delivery, leadership forum and ten year anniversary celebration

Rural, regional and remote TAS


Ag Excellence Alliance Inc

On line Mentoring Program for Regional, Rural and Remote Women in Agriculture
Increased support for emerging local leaders through web based leadership and mentoring training program

Rural, regional and remote SA


Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Inc

Limestone Coast Economic Diversification Regional Leadership Development Project
Development of effective regional leadership program model through feasibility study delivery

Limestone Coast Region, SA


South West Women’s Health & Information Centre

Leadership skills for women - for natural disasters and in the general community
 Increased self-esteem, leadership skills and resilience for women in six small communities via leadership workshops and mentoring

Nannup, Donnybrook, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Manjimup, Capel


National Rural Women's Coalition Ltd

Growing Northern Women Leaders (NT) E-Leaders Program
Reduced barriers to participation for rural, regional and remote Northern Territory women via delivery of a tailored, eight week trial E-leadership webinar program

Rural, regional and remote NT


Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Ltd

Leader Finder - Interactive Map and Database
Increased Alumni capacity to connect, collaborate and share information due to development of Alumni engagement strategy and interactive database

Rural, regional and remote Australia


Heywire (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Heywire return on investment study
Increased effectiveness of the Heywire Youth Leadership Program through evaluation of program impact

Rural, regional and remote Australia



Community Foundation for Albury Wodonga Region Ltd

Community Funds, Community Benefits
Increased local donor engagement through promotion of regional community fund program

Albury Wodonga region,


Northern Rivers Community Foundation

360° Good Governance Review and Renewal
Increased governance capacity through participation in governance policies and procedure review training workshops

Far Nth Coast, NSW


Bass Coast Community Foundation Limited

BCCF - Strengthening  Our Core
Enhanced strategy development and succession planning skills via delivery of professional development workshops

Bass Coast, VIC


Stand Like Stone Foundation Ltd

Operation Effectiveness for Beyond 2015
Increased service delivery efficiency and capacity through upgrade of technology and software

Limestone Coast, SA


Albany Community Foundation

Website upgrade and necessitous circumstances fund
Improved efficiency and capacity through website and data base management system upgrade

Albany, WA


Denmark Community Foundation (WA) Inc

Firming the Foundation
Increased delivery capacity via strategic, marketing and promotion planning investment and upgrade to technology, software and website

Denmark, WA



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