A focus on People
We believe in the power of people and the role of local not-for-profits, community groups and volunteer effort to drive prosperity, and to build and sustain vibrant remote, rural and regional communities.
Our grant programs and other outreach activities aim to strengthen the capacity, capability and influence of local groups to lead and achieve.
This year, particularly in disaster-affected communities, we saw more evidence of the impact of cumulative disaster events on local leaders, manifesting as fatigue. It was therefore not surprising that we saw more requests to support volunteers in their work, whether to attract more volunteers, fund operational or project-delivery resources to lighten the load, or to invest in equipment to make their work more effective and efficient. We were pleased to increase our support to ensure their vital work could continue.
Investing in Rural Community Futures
For the last two and a half years, FRRR has been piloting a new model to strengthen the capacity of local not-for-profit organisations, through the Investing in Rural Community Futures program. This program works at a community-level, bringing local not-for-profit organisations together to agree on priorities that will make the entire local NFP sector stronger. A local facilitator, engaged by FRRR, supports the groups, arranging training and access to resources to strengthen local capacity.
There are now seven sites across NSW, thanks to the support of founding partners Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, the Snow Foundation and Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation.
This model is already making a significant long-term impact, with funding committed to support each of the seven places involved for five years.
We have also seen participating communities secure additional funding and resources for community-identified priorities, often attributing their success to skills gained and connections made through the IRCF program.
For example, in the Nambucca Valley, FRRR provided initial funding to Mujaay Ganma Foundation to develop a garden concept that offers an employment pathway for three trainees to build the capacity of the organisation. This project has now secured nearly $300,000 to fund a further two years’ of operation and an additional five trainees.
In the same community, poor telecommunications was identified as a significant issue. The local IRCF Facilitator gathered NFP feedback and fed it into Council’s conversations with telco’s, leading to a $971,250 upgrade to infrastructure.