Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Yackandandah is a small town with a well-preserved history from the gold-mining boom. But it’s also forward-thinking and there was a push to be more sustainable in terms of power generation.

Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) is the town’s driving force behind the push for renewables and increasing local ownership. Every year, millions of dollars leaves the town’s economy each year. TRY received $4,878 from the Australian Communities Foundation’s (ACF), through their FRRR Community Foundation Fundraising Account, to invest in community engagement and education around renewable energy hubs. 

Totally Renewable Yackandandah and its partner Indigo Power, initially planned to bring locals together in a series of ‘town hall’ style events to discuss the benefits of a community solar energy hub, as well as the practical side of establishing and maintaining such a facility. While the first of these meetings went ahead, the last two events were converted to online forums due to COVID-19. Turnout was still high, with more than 500 people in total attending the events.

Cambell Klose, who has driven the community project, said the community response was phenomenal. “Every year more than $160 million leaves our region because of people paying their electricity bills; people were really excited to be part of a movement that is changing that.

“Local residents learned what a community energy hub is and how they can use solar to power our region with clean energy, and reduce their power costs. We also covered how to support and undertake community projects, like solar on town halls, to promote renewable energy hubs.”

Cambell also said that the community was very motivated by the sessions.

“Residents wanted to go away and power their local town hall with renewable energy or work to put solar on government housing. It was incredible to see so many local people come together for climate solutions.”

ACF partnered with FRRR to establish a Community Foundation Fundraising Account to streamline the process of making grants to community organisations that don’t hold DGR1 status in remote, rural or regional areas which are conducting charitable activities in line with FRRR’s purposes.

If you’d like to explore having a Fundraising Account for your community project, contact Jo Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager.

The Friends of St Brigid’s (FoSB) Association Inc is a community organisation formed in 2006 after the closure of the local Church and Hall in Crossley, Victoria. The group purchased the buildings and are now caretakers of the five-acre community-owned and operated precinct which celebrates 150 years of unique Australian Irish history in south-west Victoria. The facilities include a 1914 Romanesque Church and community hall, home to the St Brigid’s Australian Irish Cultural, Heritage and Community Centre, and have evolved to include the Crossley Men’s Shed and peace and healing gardens.

FoSB has a long partnership with FRRR, opening a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account in 2011, which was subsequently renewed in regularly in the intervening years, and again this year. The Fundraising Account assists them to raise much needed funds to contribute to ongoing facilities upgrades that allow people of all abilities to access and participate in activities at the precinct. 

FoSB’s typically holds many events during the year through which much of their income is generated. However, like many community organisations, the onset of COVID-19 brought a halt to their regular events such as concerts and hiring out facilities for public and private events. 

The year had started out well, with a Blues & Roots Festival in early January, two private family functions in February, and then two events in March. However, they were left with a COVID-quandary – how to find alternative ways to raise funds and / or reduce their overheads.

FoSB Treasurer Sue Elms said their first action was to request relief from paying their monthly mortgage instalments and insurance premiums. While that granted them a brief reprieve, the stark reality remained that they still had to find the funds for future payments.

This led to the organising committee donning their thinking caps, with considerable success thanks to the enthusiasm of their Committee Members and many volunteers, which highlighted the tenacity and commitment of FoSB’s.

They came up with a list of alternate fundraisers, which included the Men’s Shedders cleaning and reselling 600+ old bricks; a bus outing with appropriate social distancing measures in place; a walk and talk event, which was a great financial and social success; a letter of appeal was sent out to members and past supporters; and a 50:50 raffle raised more than $2,500.

FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager, Jo Kemp, says that it is innovative responses like these that will help community groups overcome the challenges that the pandemic has presented.

“I’m so impressed with FoSB’s response to the unexpected situation we all find ourselves in. They have successfully come together and adjusted their plans to find other ways to meet their financial obligations, and continue to serve their community. However, it is an ongoing challenge and they continue to seek donations to support their operations,” she said.

FoSB would appreciate your support for this initiative. If you’d like to explore having a fundraising account for your community project, contact Jo Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager.

If you’re looking for advice on how your community group can respond to the COVID crisis, there are lots of resources available such as those listed on the OurCommunity website. 

FRRR’s Not-for-Profit Fundraising Accounts help make FRRR’s unique tax status available to community organisations to assist with fundraising.

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation helps to build strong, vibrant and resilient rural communities through education and skills development. The Foundation operates the RAS Rural Fund, a charitable organisation that is currently fundraising via a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account to help community organisations across rural and regional NSW refurbish and restore rural showground kitchens.

Not only is the kitchen the heart of the home, but it is also often the heart and soul of rural communities, serving as a meeting place and hub for activities. Many showground kitchens across NSW require an upgrade to provide more functional facilities to benefit their communities and better support a broad range of events and activities. The RAS NSW Showground Kitchen Upgrade Grant project will provide critical funds to improve kitchens to serve their communities better, enabling them to come together to support one another, through fundraising events and other activities.

If you want to support this initiative and make a tax-deductible donation, you can do so via FRRR’s secure website.

If you’d like to explore having a fundraising account for your community project, contact Jo Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager.

The annual Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival has been running since 2014, and is widely considered a staple on the town’s arts calendar. It’s an exciting event that fosters cultural vibrancy in this small, regional town. 

C-Doc established a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account with FRRR in May 2019, with the intention of raising funds to help them deliver a festival that creates a shared sense of belonging and connectedness among diverse community members and people who are inspired and engaged to build a better world. 

Like many communities, never has this been so important than this year. The unprecedented circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the festival planning, and C-Doc had to rethink the logistics behind the popular event. 

What started out as a postponement was soon reinvented as an online-only ‘Mini Festival’ instead, to cater for any further disruption and potential increases in social-distancing restrictions. The new, reimagined festival was introduced to the community as C-Doc In The Clouds 2020. 

Supported by the funds raised through their FRRR account, C-Doc adapted effectively to these new circumstances, and produced an ‘On-live’ (live-to-air) festival which aired last weekend. Despite the technical challenges, the festival featured a curated selection of enriching and thought-provoking documentaries, complete with live discussion panels following each screening. Forty lucky people were fortunate to attend each of the screenings held at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine, with appropriate social-distancing measures in place.

C-Doc’s ability to adapt and reinvent the event in such a short amount of time was inspirational, and high hopes are held for the festival’s return again next year – online or otherwise. 

If you’d like to explore having a Fundraising Account for your community project, contact Jo Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager.

The Next Economy (TNE) was established in March 2018 to support communities struggling with change to build regional economies that are good for both people and planet. 

Since then, TNE has worked with government, industry and community groups in key regional areas to identify opportunities to explore the emerging economic opportunities in acting on climate change by reducing and absorbing carbon emissions across all sectors, and in regenerating land and water resources. 

One of the charitable purposes under TNE’s ACNC registration is the advancement of education. They work in the areas of environmental sustainability and economic development, with a strong focus on rural and regional communities.

In August 2018, TNE partnered with FRRR to establish a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account to specifically support the educational component of TNE’s activities and their capacity to enable the educational programs to be delivered for the benefit of regional Australians. 

The Fundraising Account considerably enhanced their ability to receive donations from DGR-2 endorsed entities, bequests, and corporate philanthropy. This has enabled TNE to put in place strong systems, policies and procedures to support its ongoing development and delivery of workshops to strengthen the capacity of people working in regional communities across Australia to manage economic change and support the transition to a fairer, zero emissions economy. Funding received through the FRRR donations account has also enabled the delivery of 15 workshops and forums in communities across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.  

TNE offers two main educational training programs: 

  1. A year-long incubator program called Building the Next Economy: Thriving in a Changing World (BNE). The BNE program aims to support people working for regional councils and economic development agencies to identify, research, and implement new economic initiatives. By the end of the year-long program, each region will have developed comprehensive plans for how they will transition to a stronger, fairer and more resilient economy, as well as investment-ready business cases for key initiatives. 
  2. The Transitioning Australia Program. The Transitioning Australia Program is a short course on managing economic change aimed at local councils and others which raises awareness of the range of economic opportunities that are available to communities willing to reduce their carbon emissions. This program will be delivered across eight regional communities in year one and grow as capacity increases – it operates as a fee for service to councils, but fees are able to be varied for other not-for-profit groups. 

The materials generated through both programs will be used to deliver other activities, such as short courses, presentations, workshops and online learning (webinars and podcasts, for example).

The outcome of the education programs includes a stronger partnership and collaboration network locally, which aid in building sustainability.

The Next Economy programs give participants adaptive skills, critical thinking and produce tangible projects that achieve on ground impact. TNE is filling a niche need for accessible education on community-based economic models and clean energy systems, and purposefully aiming to cross cultural and socio-economic boundaries.

Support the work of TNE by donating here.

Child Writes Fund is a charity that ’empowers children to navigate their future through story’. The Child Writes program gives primary school-aged children a voice by offering them the opportunity to write and illustrate their own children’s picture books.

The Fund partnered with FRRR in March 2019 to create a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account to support its endeavours, and the funds raised contributing to delivering more programs in rural and regional areas where children are in crisis and making the library of books widely available via an app.

A group of approximately 15 children develop the picture books through a five-day workshop during which they collaborate on a single picture book (from initial idea through writing, illustration, publishing, launch and distribution) and address a specific issue relevant to their day-to-day life. The books present a range of messages, including addressing issues across health, environment, relationships, bullying, racism and exclusion. Through storytelling, the children are empowered to navigate these issues and create a product that can be shared by others. The books are distributed for use to locations where children are in crisis, such as local hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, The Pyjama Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. Copies of the published book are also provided to the group to sell and generate a profit.

Copies are donated to places (such as hospitals) where children are in crisis, allowing the child authors and their readers to be encouraged by the achievement and generosity of their peers.

Every book is also made available for purchase online in electronic form, which means that groups can receive royalties from the sales of their books.

Child Writes Fund also supports International Read to Me Day, held annually on March 19th, reminding children to be part of the conversation and remind their family they would like to be read to often. It is a social awareness campaign, reiterating the importance of reading to children, and children sharing this skill with their peers.

Child Writes Fund has worked with communities in crisis, like Eidsvold in Queensland’s North Burnett Region, which, when they took the program there, had the unenviable tag of being the location for one of the highest suicide rates amongst its young adult males in the country. They’ve also worked with the Queensland Children’s Hospital School, working with children who were patients, or a parent or their sibling may have been a patient.

Founder of the Fund, Emma Mactaggart, explained the significance of the hospital school project.

“It is a small school determined to give the children as much encouragement as possible, but the children inevitably feel as though they are ‘alien’ as they are not at their normal school. It was the week of the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, so it didn’t take too much of a leap for the children to connect their sense of isolation to that of deep space; hence Luke goes to space, to discover things are not as amazing as he would have liked. He does dig deep though, and simply because he is determined, he manages to come back to his home.”

Learn more about FRRR’s Not-for-Profit Fundraising Accounts, or for more information on the Child Writes Fund, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website.

Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) was established in 2004 with the purpose to connect people who care with local causes that matter, to improve community well-being for the Northern Rivers region of NSW. They provide annual grants to a wide range of community groups for projects ranging from mental health, to growing fresh food to ensure children are well nourished and can learn, to distributing Back to School vouchers. NRCF is particularly focused on supporting grand-carers, supporting riding for the disabled and palliative care.

FRRR’s NRCF Community Foundation Account helps facilitate donations for a number of their partners and enables them to leverage FRRR’s tax deductible status to maximise their donations. In 2019 they distributed some $114,000 in grants including to the Bangalow Koalas to set up a wildlife corridor; provided medical equipment to Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice; enabled the Bunjum Aboriginal Corporation to refresh their unit used as a transition house for women fleeing violence; provided professional development for tutors and support workers at Sprung Integrated Dance Theatre; and supported a youth program for first offenders with NSW Police participation.

The Lockhart & District Historical Society operates the Greens Gunyah Museum, the Doris Golder Gallery and the local Visitor Information Centre in the NSW Riverina. They saw a wonderful opportunity for expansion when the building and land next to the museum was listed for sale, under the guise of the Double the Space Double the History Project. 

A fundraising campaign, using a FRRR fundraising account and a $15,000 grant from the Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) grants program allowed the Historical Society to purchase the adjoining property and expand their offerings to include hosting events. New displays could also be developed and storyboards showcasing historical and contemporary stories of agriculture within the region. The Greens Gunyah Museum is participating in a project with ten other museums within the Riverina region to collect video footage of rare and iconic agricultural machines found within the participating museums, and interviews with past operators. Importantly, the collection could be displayed above the flood line and provide an all-weather area in which the collection can be interpreted through a new electronic display, photographs and associated items. Floodwaters up to a metre high had previously come through the museum in 2010 and 2012.

After four long years, and a fundraising campaign which delivered the just under $100,000 required for the project and the revived Greens Gunyah Museum was completed in May 2019. The public is now visiting and able to enjoy exhibitions that have been developed so far.

An exhibition for the politician, diplomat and proud Lockhart local Tim Fischer opened on 2 May 2019 in one of the rooms with an outstanding response from the community. Over 200 people celebrated with Tim, who was able to enjoy his exhibition before he became too ill to attend.

When Steven Noble lost his life in a road crash at Mt Gambier on Easter Sunday in 2013, aged 27, it devastated the Limestone Coast community and stripped his wife, Courtney of their future together. In the lead up to the fifth anniversary of his passing, Courtney and a team of passionate mates have brought a vision to reality, with the delivery of a community bus in honour of Steven and all that he stood for.

Steven was a well-respected member of the Port MacDonnell and Allendale East community, growing up on a family Dairy Farm in Allendale East and attending Allendale East Area School during his schooling years. Small communities create close relationships, and Steven is remembered in the Port MacDonnell and Allendale East community as a friendly, outgoing, loyal and caring person who always put others before himself and had a smile that would light up the room. A talented sportsman, Steven was a successful senior footballer with the Port MacDonnell Football club. Sadly missing out on his 150th game by only two games, Steven played football for the Port MacDonnell Football Club from junior level right through to being the Premiership Captain of the PMFC team in 2012. Steven’s father Chris was well also respected in the Kongorong community, playing for the Kongorong Football Club for many years.

The Steven Noble Memorial Sub Fund was established in Steven’s memory by a group of three friends who participated in Swinging with the Stars in 2013 and wanted to do something in his honour. With Courtney’s consent and support, Simon Livingston, Tahlia Gabrielli and Amy Trevilyn established a Sub Fund to honour Steven’s memory, with the aim of supporting the local communities of Port MacDonnell, Allendale East and Kongorong. The Sub Fund represented what Steven was as a person, someone who was always willing to give everything he had to assist and support other people.

“When Steve passed, I thought we had to do something that not only remembered him but also helped those who were struggling with his loss.  I was really drawn to how Stand Like Stone had set up their trust funds and realised that we didn’t have one for our area.  Courtney was behind Tahlia, Amy and myself from day one, which really got us going with our fundraising.  To actually see Courtney’s vision come to fruition is amazing,” said Simon Livingstone, who initiated the Steven Noble Memorial Sub Fund.

The vision became a reality in 2018, with the delivery of a community bus to service the extended communities of Port MacDonnell, Allendale and Kongorong, for the charitable purposes of education, awareness and accessibility for rural and regional communities. Although outside of Stand Like Stone’s normal operations, the Board agreed to this unique outcome and supported the wishes of those involved to enable the capital raised to be applied for this purpose. The project was supported through the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal who allowed the funds to be flowed out of the Stand Like Stone Public Fund to assist with the purchase of the community bus.

The community bus will be housed at the Allendale East Area School and will be available for community use for charitable purposes as identified. The bus will be managed under the governance of the School Governing Council and a community bus management committee. The community bus is dedicated to the memory of Steven John Noble (8/12/1985 – 1/4/2013). The purchase of the bus was enabled by Courtney Fox, Simon Livingston, Tahlia Gabrielli, Amy Trevilyan, Alisha Stephens, David Fox and Grant Fensom and supported by Noel Barr Toyota.

For the residents of Mission Beach in Queensland, there was a lack of safe water play facilities in the area, due to no community swimming pool and the presence of deadly marine stinging jellyfish in the local beach during the summer months.

The Rotary Water Park/Splash Pad project was developed to provide a special place for the children of Mission Beach to play with their families and friends. It would also offer an opportunity for visitors to experience the Water Park/Spray Pad facilities at the Mission Beach beachfront, bringing much-needed tourism to the area.

The project also was also a part of the Cyclone Yasi recovery initiative for Mission Beach. Yasi caused major destruction in the community in 2011. The Rotary Club of Mission Beach opened a Fundraising Account with FRRR in 2014 to enable keen sponsors to receive a tax deduction for any donations.

In December 2018, the Club reached their fundraising target and began construction early the following year. A project five years in the making has become a reality and been a huge success for the Mission beach community. You will now find the Water Park filled with families, with children enjoying the new water-play facilities.

One of the project managers who helped deliver the water park advises other community groups to “never give up”, as persistence was integral to their success.

The Mission Beach community await to see the impact of the Water Park on local tourism for the Summer holiday season but expect to see the same great outcome it has had for locals.