Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

$950,000 dedicated to the long-term sustainability of community organisations

Three Victorian not-for-profit organisations (NFPs), working in places impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires, have been awarded grants in the closing round of FRRR’s Bushfire Recovery Fund. These grants will enable multi-year projects to be undertaken by key community groups, providing sustainable support for the long-term recovery of fire-affected communities.

Bushfire Recovery Fund grant recipient, Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre Inc, runs an annual resilience and preparedness picnic, coordinated by their Keep Calm Committee

The Bushfire Recovery Fund was established in 2021, in partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and the Sidney Myer Fund, seeking to reduce the stress and burnout of NFPs playing a central role in the recovery of fire-impacted communities in North East Victoria (Alpine and Towong) and East Gippsland (including Far East Gippsland).

 The Bushfire Recovery Fund grants awarded in this final round are:

  • Yoowinna Wurnalung Indigenous Healing Service Ltd – Lakes Entrance/Bairnsdale/Far East Gippsland –Healing our Heart, Healing Our Mind – Building the capacity of Yoowinna Wurnalung to continue delivering services, programming and partnering that has demonstrated value for the recovery of Indigenous people in East Gippsland impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires. $100,000/2 years
  • Cann Valley Bush Nursing Centre Incorporated – Cann River and surrounding communities – Governance, Capacity Building and Sustainability Program – Enhancing the delivery of the bush nursing services in the community through training and strategic development consultancy for the Bush Nursing Manager and Committee of Management. $92,076/2 years
  • Sarsfield Community Association – Sarsfield – Sarsfield Volunteer Support Worker – Burn Out Circuit Breaker ­- Providing staff to enable the execution of both large and small recovery projects that contribute to the development of essential infrastructure, foster community engagement, and deliver positive environmental outcomes. $105,122/2 years

In 2021, Corryong Neighbourhood House (CNH) was awarded a two-year grant of $103,340 to improve organisational efficiency and capacity. To continue to meet the needs of their community, grow youth programs and build on social enterprise development, CNH has been awarded an additional $16,232.

In total, the Bushfire Recovery Fund has supported nine NFPs, with a total of $950,000 awarded via multi-year grants. The funds will go towards projects that address organisational needs, identified by each group, so that they can provide the services or programs that support their communities’ recovery from the Black Summer bushfires.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, FRRR, said that despite the challenges of COVID restrictions, compounded by impacts of additional natural disasters, local groups have shown true determination to sustain operations in order to support community recovery.

“With the first round of grants awarded in 2021, we have already begun to see how these NFPs are building their resilience and capacity so that they can do what they do best, and help their community to heal, for the long-term.

“Having worked with each organisation over multiple years, FRRR is inspired by their ability to leverage the strengths of local knowledge, experience and care for the community and Country, which are critical for the future of these human and environmental landscapes,” Ms O’Brien said.

Like FRRR, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and the Sidney Myer Fund are dedicated to ensuring that the impact of these grants is lasting and transformative, aiding the sustainability of the organisations to better support long-term recovery and resilience of the communities in North East Victoria and East Gippsland.

Leonard Vary, CEO, Sidney Myer Fund, said awarding core support grants over longer periods to organisations was vital to strengthening the process of community-led recovery.

“The Bushfire Recovery Fund recognises the criticality of communities having a sense of control over and a direct say in their recovery and rebuilding. The Fund offered grantees both certainty of funding and time to identify their needs, plan strategically and implement effectively.”

Debra Morgan, CEO of Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, said the resilience and tenacity of the supported communities is evident in the projects we are seeing delivered with support of the Bushfire Recovery Fund.

“The grant funding, together with the embedded support and guidance from FRRR, is resulting in positive outcomes for the bushfire affected communities, and we hope will set them on a path to a strong future.”

As at 13 October 2023, FRRR has awarded $14.6 million in grants to support 757 response, recovery and preparedness projects in remote, rural and regional communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Round 1, 2021
Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund IncorporatedMallacoota Bushfire, Health, Recovery and Resilience Project
Boost the organisation's capability to support the community through bushfire recovery by funding additional skilled resourcing for the Mallacoota region.
Mallacoota$113,230 (2021-2023)
Corryong Neighbourhood Centre IncBuilding for the Future
Boost the organisation's capacity to support the community through recovery from natural disaster by providing additional staffing resources at the Corryong Neighbourhood Centre.
Corryong$103,340 (2021-2024)
Alpine Valleys Community Leadership ProgramBuilding Recovery Capacity Through Community Leadership Development in NE VIC
Boost skills and knowledge of local community leaders in activities to support recovery from natural disasters.
Corryong$90,000 (2021-2024)
Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre IncBuilding a Prepared and Resilient Community
Bolster the organisations ability to support the community through Bushfire recovery by providing additional staff to assist in the development of community centric recovery activities and events.
Mount Beauty$100,000 (2021-2024)
Round 2, 2022
Jaithmathang Traditional Ancestral Bloodline Original Owners First Nation Aboriginal CorporationBeginning the Journey to Cultural Healing on Jaithmathang Country
Building capacity of Jaithmathang Traditional Aboriginal Bloodline Owners Organisation (TABOO) to practice cultural healing, fire preparedness and care of country in Falls Creek.
Falls Creek$120,000 (2022-2025)
Round 3, 2022
Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre IncSustainable Remote Community Health Services
Build the capacity of Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre to implement a roadmap to secure future sustainability of health care delivery and support of local community needs.
Swifts Creek$110,000 (2022-2024)
Round 4, 2023
Yoowinna Wurnalung Aboriginal Healing Service LimitedHealing Our Heart, Healing Our Mind
Build the capacity of Yoowinna Wurnalung to continue delivering services, programming and partnering that has demonstrated value for the recovery of indigenous people in East Gippsland impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.
Bairnsdale$100,000 (2023-2025)
Round 5, 2023
Cann Valley Bush Nursing Centre IncorporatedGovernance, Capacity Building and Sustainability Program
Build the capacity of the Bush Nursing practice’s staff and committee of management with governance training and the consultant support to develop a sustainable strategic plan to benefit the Cann River community.
Cann River$92,076 (2023-2025)
Sarsfield Community Association IncSarsfield Volunteer Support Worker – Burn Out Circuit Breaker
Build community capacity by employing a project officer to support the volunteer-run Sarsfield Community Association in community development and recovery activities.
Sarsfield$105,122 (2023-2025)
Corryong Neighbourhood Centre IncBuilding for the Future - Year 3
A supplementary grant to
continue funding staff resources at the Corryong Neighbourhood Centre to boost organisational capacity for supporting long term community recovery.
Corryong$16,232 (2023-2024)

The Bushfire Recovery Fund grant program, funded by HMSTrust and the Sidney Myer Fund, has recently awarded a grant of $120,000 to be paid over three years to Indigenous organisation Jaithmathang TABOO, who are working on Country in North East Victoria to support regeneration in the landscape’s recovery from the 2019/20 bushfires, and support cultural healing.  

The project, titled “Beginning the journey to cultural healing on Jaithmathang country’, will operate a program of annual cool burns and work with key environment and government stakeholders, including Parks Victoria and DELWP, to share learnings.  

Specifically, the grant aims to build the capacity of the organisation by contributing to the cost of employing a Jaithmathang descendant to lead the project over the next three years for the purposes of realising Jaithmathang goals in establishing ongoing partnerships that can support Jaithmathang operating sustainably into the future as custodians on Country.

Capacity building grants support long-term recovery initiatives of local not-for-profits and community organisations

FRRR has awarded grants to four Victorian community groups playing a central role in the long-term recovery of communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.

Local groups playing a critical role in Victoria’s bushfire recovery to receive $400,000 in funding

The grants are the first to be awarded through the Bushfire Recovery Fund established thanks to a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund. The program is designed to strengthen the capacity of local not-for-profit organisations and community groups operating in fire-affected areas to support the ongoing recovery of communities.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that having access to longer-term, multi-year support is vital when it comes to creating effective solutions on the ground to allow these communities to recover and thrive.

“These grants recognise the vital role of these organisations and invest in the skills, tools and resources they need to support their community as they rebuild, and to sustain their work beyond the recovery. With the additional pressure of COVID-19, this multi-year support will mean they can confidently plan, invest and be there to support their community as needs change,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust CEO, Debra Morgan, said that the Trust believes local organisations are best placed to understand local needs, and that this is particularly the case in bushfire-affected areas, where it’s critical that organisations have the support they need to sustain their operations.

“The four organisations have identified the needs specific to their communities, and each has a unique approach to the road to recovery. The projects reflect the local context of each community and the interventions required for long-term recovery. We are pleased to support these strong organisations seeking to build organisational capacity and resilience, and we hope they will serve to strengthen the communities into the future,” Ms Morgan said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO, Leonard Vary, said that the Bushfire Recovery Fund aims to strengthen the operations of ‘backbone’ organisations and give each the means to implement effective and innovative approaches in supporting impacted communities over the longer term.

“Local organisations must be given the tools to develop and implement plans for sustainability and growth so as to support bushfire-affected communities into the future. These grants will help enhance organisational capability and improve the services offered to communities including future preparedness efforts,” said Mr Vary.

The four groups funded are:

  • Alpine Valley Community Leadership (AVCL) – $90,000 – Build AVCL’s capacity to strategically plan and deliver leadership training that can more effectively support and build community recovery capacity in north-east Victoria.
  • Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc – $103,340 – Increase operational capacity by providing an additional .8 FTE to the core staffing levels. The increased resource will enable Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc to continue to progress its strategic social enterprise and community development work including participation in bushfire recovery work.
  • Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund Inc (CHIRF) – $113,230 – Enable the employment of a skilled local project manager, who will progress the current aims for developing the local mental health services offering through strategic planning, fundraising and project design and development.
  • Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre (MBNC) – $100,000 – Increase operational capacity of the organisation, which will allow it to develop a prepared and resilient community. The driving force behind this application is the volunteer-run Keep Calm Committee, which works alongside MBNC.

More information about the Bushfire Recovery Fund is on this website.

Supporting capacity of organisations in Victoria’s bushfire-impacted communities

FRRR has announced a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund to build the capacity of local organisations playing a central, coordinating or networking role in the recovery of Victorian communities affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.

New partnership backs community-led recovery

The Bushfire Recovery Fund will award grants of up to $90,000 to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations working in Victorian fire-affected regions. The program will fund initiatives that enhance, improve or sustain operations of these keystone organisations for up to three years, and therefore strengthen community-led recovery over the medium and long-term.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the partnership is a result of a shared vision for aligning funding and support to community-led solutions that build resilience and continued viability and vitality.

“FRRR and our generous donor partners HMSTrust and the Sidney Myer Fund have come together to help local groups to be more viable, resilient, and sustainable. The program is designed to help address organisational needs, and strengthen capacity to adapt and respond to the changing or emerging needs of communities.

“FRRR’s role will be to act as a facilitator, to encourage and support these community groups so that they can continue to do the work that is so important to the ongoing recovery of their communities,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust Executive Officer Lin Bender said that the Trust believes the key program goal of building organisational capacity is critical to ensuring local groups can operate in what are challenging economic, emotional, and ecological conditions.

“By supporting applicants that are deeply engaged with their communities to sustain or adapt their model or way of working, we aim to ensure more viable, resilient and sustainable organisations that can support ongoing recovery efforts,” Lin said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO Leonard Vary said the broader intent of the program is to inform disaster recovery best practice by understanding and addressing the needs of critical community ‘backbone’ organisations.

“The capacity to manage normal day-to-day operations along with the demands of recovery has been identified as a challenge for many organisations in bushfire-affected communities,” Mr Vary said. “By engaging directly with these organisations, we can facilitate and fund not only the development of locally relevant, multi-year projects that build capacity and resilience but potentially identify new approaches to long-term community recovery.”

To reduce the burden on potential applicants, a shortlist of organisations from declared fire affected areas in Victoria, identified through broad stakeholder consultation, will be invited to apply for funding. The first successful grantees are expected to be announced in October 2021. Organisations who consider this opportunity to be aligned to their situation should contact FRRR to discuss their needs.

More information about the program can be found here.