Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

With more than two metres of rain falling across Far North Queensland in the last few days, communities are now facing an unimaginable clean up and recovery journey ahead.

Stop sign in flooded waters

After working alongside disaster-affected communities for more than 20 years, we know that the small, remote communities in this region will need support in their recovery over the medium to long-term. That’s why FRRR is launching a Flood Recovery Appeal.

While the extent of the impact is still unfolding and immediate response needs are being coordinated, once that support has ceased, in about 12-18 months, there will still be significant community-level needs still to be addressed. Those will evolve over the coming years too – moving from a focus on physical things that enhance safety in the event of a ‘next time’, to helping address volunteer fatigue and eventually supporting general community wellbeing, economic recovery and organisational capacity building.

Our role – with the support of our partners – is to be there as they move through this journey, offering patience, continuity, flexibility and agility to move how and when the community is ready – with fit-for-purpose funding and resourcing support.

That’s why FRRR established the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund (DRRF) in 2019 – to ensure that we can support grassroots community organisations across remote, rural and regional Australia that often miss out on receiving funds donated for disaster recovery.

This Fund ensures that FRRR can support recovery when the community is ready, usually long after the headlines have faded. It also funds preparedness initiatives so that communities are in a better position to recover from a disaster event. Funds are invested with the returns used to fund grassroots groups to implement the recovery initiatives that they prioritise, long after immediate response and relief funding has ceased.

Alternatively, donations can be made directly to the Prepare & Recover stream of FRRR’s small grants program, SRC, which provides grants of up to $25,000 to communities impacted by disasters. Our supporters are able to nominate that they would like their funding to be directed to supporting communities impacted by a particular disaster, such as TC Jasper.. We report regularly to our supporters and, for significant donations, can trace contributions through to the specific projects that funding has made possible.

Taking a holistic approach

At FRRR, we view disasters as environmental shocks that remote, rural, regional communities regularly experience. We know they are increasing in frequency and severity; what makes them complex is not knowing when they will occur, where, or the severity and nature of their impact.

In operational terms, FRRR has a standing disaster philanthropy model that we scale when a major disaster occurs. Each year, with support from hundreds of donor partners, we provide grants and capacity support to around 600 remote, rural and regional places across the country via almost 1,200 grants. This reach gives us a good footprint and connection points that we can naturally tap into when disasters occur – and it means we are building on the resilience and capability that has been built up in between disaster events.

Recovery and preparedness efforts depend on the social ties, quality of community infrastructure, depth and breadth of skills and networks, cultural knowledge, and the health of local service systems, not-for-profits and community groups. FRRR’s approach is to balance funding for recovery and preparedness to support people and community-led processes as well as infrastructure and equipment. This approach enables improved outcomes as communities move through their recovery and aims to support needs now and as they evolve.

If you’d like to know more either about our approach or how you can help, please get in touch with us via or

The provision of a fundraising account was just the boost the Atherton Rotary Club needed to give a historic military igloo built in the 1940s as part of the war in the Pacific.

The town of Atherton in the Tablelands Region, Far North Queensland and its surrounds were key in Australia’s World War II effort, the location of a major war cemetery, general hospitals, military camps and ordinance depots. Around 100,000 military personnel were stationed in the region at the height of the war in the Pacific between 1943 and 1945 as the Japanese threatened to invade Australia.

The igloo, built in 1943, provided an essential space for social activities hosting entertainment events for thousands of patients and staff from the neighbouring Rocky Creek Hospital. Six of the structures were built originally with the one in Atherton the last still standing.

Falling into disrepair, the Atherton Rotary Club drove a fundraising campaign, using the FRRR fundraising account and a $20,000 grant from the Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage(CATCH) grants program to restore the facility and create a military museum.

Getting the igloo to lock-up has been a major undertaking, with the funds contributing to dressing rooms for the theatre stage, lighting, emergency exits, major floor repairs including restumping, and a stainless-steel kitchen for the use of hirers in the future.

Jo Barnes from the Atherton Rotary Club said that the igloo’s revitalisation was a “great relief to Rotarians involved in what at first appeared to be a huge, maybe impossible, undertaking,” she said.

“The builders are proud of their achievement in bringing it together and having the opportunity to work on a building with so much local and Australian significance.”   “Visitors are intrigued, excited and challenged to remember what their past relatives have said to them about being at Rocky Creek during the war.”