New partnership to help strengthen communities in rural, regional and remote NSW

Media releases: 29 November 2018

The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) have announced a $5 million, five-year partnership to strengthen a small number of rural, regional and remote communities in New South Wales.

The program, Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF), is designed to strengthen the capacity and capability of grassroots not-for-profit organisations, and to trial the effectiveness of investing deeply in a community, over a five-year period.

The program will provide a mix of grants, skills, knowledge and resources to strengthen the viability and capability of these local organisations. This will help their communities make a shift from surviving to thriving.

FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton explains that both VFFF and FRRR recognise the fundamental role that not-for-profit organisations play in building and sustaining the social and economic fabric of their communities. However, both organisations know that many groups would welcome additional support.

“Investing in Rural Community Futures responds to the challenges local organisations experience in managing their sustainability and viability, which in turn affects the contribution they make to addressing local challenges and opportunities.

“Through this program, FRRR will act as facilitators, supporters and conduits to enhance the communities’ abilities to deliver the change they wish to see for themselves,” she said.

Jenny Wheatley, CEO of VFFF, says that FRRR and VFFF share the belief that local leaders are best placed to know what is going to make the biggest difference in their community.

“By supporting local not-for-profit organisations, this program will help to address local challenges and opportunities. As the communities hear about and see the local progress, we believe momentum will grow and they will build resilient and vibrant communities with sustainable futures.

“Another important part of this program is that it will be formally evaluated, and lessons shared with philanthropic, government and not-for-profit audiences to support leading practice and thought leadership,” Ms Wheatley said.

FRRR has employed Alli Mudford as the ICRF Program Manager. She started this week and will begin working on the program roll out. Alli lives near Mudgee and has spent her career working with Government and not-for-profits in roles that have included managing large grant programs, community engagement and capacity building, and project management.

The first task will be to identify the criteria for the communities that FRRR will partner with. Once a shortlist has been developed, FRRR will invite expressions of interest in being involved in early 2019.

Community groups interested in being involved should sign up for FRRR’s monthly newsletter, as details will be shared there about the program.