Community stories Disaster recovery stories eNews: 27 July 2023
“The NRCF Board and staff certainly value the long-term relationship with FRRR, which is so important to us as a rural and regional Foundation. The support for NRCF’s community impact and grants team has been essential to achieve impact in the community.” Sam Henderson, CEO, NRCF
Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) was established in 2004 to connect people who care with local causes that matter, to improve community wellbeing for the Northern Rivers region of NSW. They have one of the largest footprints of any community foundation in Australia, covering from Tweed to Grafton, from the ocean all the way up past Kyogle, Woodenbong and Casino. NRCF is dedicated to improving the lives of those less fortunate in their community, either from economic circumstances, mental illness, disability, learning difficulties or drug / alcohol addiction. More recently their focus has been to support their community to navigate their disaster recovery journey following bushfires and then widespread flooding events across the region in early 2022.
NRCF has held a Fundraising Account partnership with FRRR since 2017 to attract tax-deductible donations, enabling them to help community organisations meet increasing demands on their services and work together to build resilience across the community.
Initially they raised funds through a general Community Fund, and in 2020 established the Resilience & Regeneration Fund to raise funds specifically to support disaster recovery and preparedness in their region. The Fund responds to the increasingly frequent natural disasters affecting the region and the global pandemic. Recognising that these are not isolated events, and that resilience and regeneration are integral to a sustainable and prosperous region, they wanted to attract as much money as possible.
As at 30 June 2023, NRCF has raised $1,171,600 via these two Funds. In 2022, they announced a record distribution of $327,177 to 49 recipients across the seven LGA’s of the Northern Rivers. This was supported by distributions totalling more than $162,000 from their FRRR Fundraising Account in FY22. Projects span across disadvantage, housing and homelessness, recovery and resilience, and the environment.
NRCF will also be looking to use the funds raised through the Resilience & Regeneration Fund to respond in a meaningful and impactful way to the devastation brought about by the two 2022 flooding events that occurred in quick succession through their Annual Community Grants program. Informing their response is their ongoing research project to understand the issues and conditions impacting community recovery with a view to better support local not-for-profits and their activities into the future. In May 2023 they released their second flood impact report ‘Research, Respond, Recover: A year on from disaster’ which offers valuable insights across a range of indicators about how the community is recovering. It highlights gaps in funding for medium to longer term recovery, and ongoing key issues of concern around health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness.
With this increase in support comes a need for increased resourcing. Fortunately, NRCF has also received donations via their Fundraising Account specifically to support their operational and staffing costs through their General Fund. As a result, the role of Grants and Community Impact Manager has been introduced, which will boost their capacity, enabling them to expand their community grant programs and supporting them to broaden their reach.
Sam Henderson, NRCF’s CEO, said ‘The NRCF Board and staff certainly value the long-term relationship with FRRR, which is so important to them as a rural and regional Foundation. The support for NRCF’s community impact and grants team has been essential to achieve impact in the community.’ The need to respond to disasters has now increased so much that they’ve also recruited a part-time Grants Administration Officer to support the Community Impact Manager.