FRRR urges Australians to help change the equation for country communities this EOFY

Bendigo 13 May 2019: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is asking everyday philanthropists to help change the equation for country communities when they are making tax-deductible donations before June 30.

FRRR's End of Financial Year campaign

According to the Giving Australia Report in 2016, around 80% of Australian adults donate to charities and not-for-profits. However, 94% of donations go to the top 10% of charities in Australia, most of whom are larger organisations based in metro areas.

This means that 90% of charities share just 6% of all donations, with rural and regional communities often missing out.

"It’s important to remember that as individuals, the choices we make can help change the equation for country communities," explains FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.

"There are hundreds of small not-for-profit groups in rural and regional communities that would benefit enormously, even from a small donation, but often they aren't able to offer donors a tax deduction. However, FRRR's special tax status means that FRRR can provide a tax receipt for donations above $2, and we can then grant funds to those community groups.

"So, it's a great way to change the equation for everyone - you’ll pay less tax and FRRR will be able to support more Australian rural, regional and remote communities, which in turn will create a stronger, more resilient Australia."

Each year, FRRR receives more than 2,000 funding requests from not-for-profit groups in rural, regional and remote Australia, but can usually only meet about half of them. Grants support a wide variety of projects, from education to culture and the arts, to the environment and community infrastructure. But it is currently fundraising for three programs that need additional support – the Back to School program; Strengthening Rural Communities; natural disaster recovery and resilience.

"Based on recent demand, at least 15,000 rural, regional and remote children will need support to go back to school at the start of next school year, and it's likely to be more, given the ongoing impacts of drought, cyclones and floods. Even though families are doing it tough, kids just want to fit in at school, and FRRR's $50 Back to School vouchers can be redeemed for school supplies; uniforms, underwear, shoes, bags and stationery – things many of us take for granted," Ms Egleton explained.

"The Strengthening Rural Communities program provides flexible funding so community leaders can address whatever issues they face. This could range from enhancing local community meeting places to providing resources for a kinder, or even transport for the elderly. While small grants make a big difference, we've recently introduced grants up to $25,000, as the extra money allows community groups to think bigger and leverage the ideas, creativity and resources of communities for more significant impacts and stronger, more connected communities.

"The other area where we see ongoing demand is around natural disasters. Their frequency and impact are on the rise, with significant consequences," said Ms Egleton. "It’s hard to miss the scars left by drought, floods and fire, but they also created mental health issues, affect health and wellbeing, and increase disadvantage, in addition to damaging to community infrastructure."

FRRR has been making a difference to Australian regional, remote and rural communities since its establishment in 2000, distributing more than $85 million to around 9,500 projects. Research shows that, on average, community groups leverage FRRR's grant around three times – meaning that FRRR has helped catalyse about $340M of investment across rural, regional and remote Australia.

Donations can be made via the FRRR website.

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