Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
A rural NSW grantseeker is proving that philanthropic investment in people and skills can produce a huge return on investment – bringing in more than $2.4million in grants for his community.
While many Government and philanthropic funders won’t give grants for funding people or capacity building, Junee Business and Trades Community Liaison Officer Nicholas Pyers is showing such investments can pay large dividends.
Nicholas’s role has been funded since 2019 by The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)’s Investing in Rural Community Futures program. He has been successful in helping win and advise on grants totalling $2,483,226 – and is awaiting news on a further $1million of grants that are in progress for Junee, which is located 440km south-west of Sydney in the Riverina region.
FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton said that since late 2018, regional NSW communities have faced a series of unrelenting disruptions, with drought, bushfire, flood and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing into 2022.
“The impact on these NFP organisations has been significant. It has taken its toll on the people that lead and run these organisations and has increased their load and affected their wellbeing. The sector has been dealing with extreme fatigue, burnout, limited fundraising options, access to volunteers, disconnection and, in some instances wholesale organisational change.
“The funding of Nicholas and the grant support role is a great example of how investing in local jobs and paying someone who has skills can result in high-yielding results and impact for organisations and communities,” she said. “This gives weight to our practise of employing local people and leveraging their position to help build the capacity of the entire town or community,” Ms Egleton said.
The impressive tally has been reached by a combination of activities. The grants have been won either by Nicholas directly developing a project concept and budget, then writing and submitting the grant application, or him reviewing other grant applications that have been submitted, as well as him identifying grant opportunities for other groups so they are able to apply. Nicholas also provides support to individuals in organisations, building their capacity and knowledge of grant writing, which allows them to prepare and submit grants, and secure funding for their own organisations.
FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) model was developed in partnership with Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and aims to strengthen local not-for-profit (NFP) organisations and, ultimately, enable them to thrive. It is a grassroots approach designed to build and support the capacity of individual and collective NFPs, over a sustained period of time.
This program now operates in seven communities in NSW, delivering a blend of grants and capacity building activities supported by local facilitators. Junee, Leeton and the Nambucca Valley were the initial cohort of communities supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. Supported by The Snow Foundation Nowra, Ulladulla & Batemans Bay started an IRCF program in 2020 and further investment by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation saw Bay & Basin communities join in 2021.
Successful grants for the Junee community range from upgrades to sporting facilities and meeting rooms through to projects supporting the likes of a museum.
Nearly $700,000 in funding awarded to local community groups
Funding announced by FRRR today, is helping local community groups in Junee and Nambucca Valley to carry on their operations, despite multiple disruptions, by funding staff, developing efficient processes and boosting their capabilities through collaboration and technology.
Fourteen local not-for-profits (NFPs) are sharing $695,166 in grants, which will strengthen how their organisations function, and bolster the ways in which these groups can support their communities.
Funded by FRRR, in partnership with Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF), Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) is a five-year program designed to provide local NFPs with the tools and support they need to make lasting impacts in their areas of focus for the community. As part of the program, FRRR worked with the groups to create a tailored NFP sector roadmap, reflecting their shared goals. This funding and other ongoing support, including local facilitators on the ground, is helping bring these plans to life.
Nancy Sposato, FRRR Program Manager, said that the IRCF program, now in its third year, gives participating not-for-profits the opportunity to identify common issues and develop local strategies that will support their long-term sustainability.
“Through these grants, we have supported six organisations we’ve previously funded, alongside eight new organisations. This package really shows a deeper understanding and sophistication in how organisations are approaching capacity building,” Ms Sposato explained.
“At this point in the program, it is fantastic to see collaborations and sector alliances building within each community. A great example of this is support for Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council in the Nambucca Valley, who will deepen First Nations NFP sector collaboration and support key leaders to develop a cultural-competency induction package.
“Local employment continues to be a key capacity building measure in supporting stability and sustainability, particularly considering COVID related disruptions. For example, Junee Business and Trades will be able to employ a part-time grants officer, which will make it easier for local NFPs to apply for funding to support local projects. These grants also respond to the need for technology system and small-scale infrastructure upgrades, further enhancing organisational efficiency.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Junee and Nambucca Valley NFPs, and continuing to support them as they implement their unique roadmaps,” Ms Sposato, said.
In addition to Junee and Nambucca Valley, the rural community of Leeton is taking part in the VFFF-funded IRCF program. FRRR has also partnered with The Snow Foundation to expand the program into the Shoalhaven communities of Batemans Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla. In June, FRRR partnered with Bendigo Bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation to further expand the IRCF program into the Bay and Basin region.
For more information about the Investing in Rural Community Futures program visit – https://frrr.org.au/ircf-program/.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|Junee Business & Trades Incorporation||Appoint a Grants Officer|
Enable local Junee NFPs to access funding to support local projects through the employment of a part-time grants officer position.
|Junee Community Centre Inc||Subsidy for Centre Manager|
Sustain the Junee Community Centre by subsidising the centre manager role to support organisational governance, partnerships, and strategy development.
|Junee Community Power Inc||Junee Community Circular Fund (JCCF)|
Alleviate energy poverty by providing additional support to the Junee Circular Fund to facilitate completion of the installation of solar power to the Junee Senior Citizens Hall.
|Junee Hostel for the Aged Inc|
Modernise Aged Care for Junee
|Regional Heritage Transport Assoc - Junee Inc||Moving the Junee Roundhouse Museum into the 21st Century|
Strengthen the capacity of the museum to operate more effectively with the installation of electronic software and appropriate hardware.
|Riverina Working Equitation Incorporated||Illabo Showground Combined User Group Strategic Planning|
Enable the Illabo Showground's combined user group to develop a strategy for the future sustainability of the grounds.
|Bowraville Community Development Association Incorporated||Surveying the Bowraville NFP Community About the Future Use of the Pioneer Community Centre|
Strengthen the use of the Bowraville Pioneer Community Centre by surveying the Bowraville community organisations to determine future use.
|MiiMi Aboriginal Corporation|
|Mujaay Ganma Foundation Aboriginal Corporation||Yuraal Guunumba Ngurraay: Gumbaynggirr Native Foods Community Garden Project STAGE 2|
Continue to foster community engagement, organisational capacity, and share cultural knowledge by engaging trainee coordinators and mentors to sustain the Mujaay Ganma's Yuraal Garden Project.
|Nambucca Heads Mens Shed Inc||Exploring Energy Options|
Increase organisational capacity and save operational costs for community organisations by exploring the viability of using renewable energy to help sustain not-for-profit organisations in the Nambucca Valley.
|Nambucca Valley Council||Local News Shared|
Strengthen the collaboration of the local community newsletter committees of the Nambucca Valley to build capability, share content and amplify the voice of young people across the Valley.
|Nambucca Valley Phoenix Limited||Investing in Strategy - Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise|
Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise. Strengthen the capacity of the organisation to deliver on their new Strategy and aspiration to become a sustainable social enterprise by strengthening their brand and supporting staff.
|ShoreTrack Ltd||ShoreTrack MOS (Management Operational System)|
Enable ShoreTrack Ltd to develop an internal operational management system to maximise the organisation’s capacity and operationalise their strategy.
|Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council||Jinda biin duguula (Sisters Together)|
To deepen First Nations NFP sector collaboration and to support key leaders to develop a cultural competency induction package.
Investing in the long-term future of rural NSW communities
The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $1,047,716 in grants to support 37 projects led by not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) across six rural communities in New South Wales, through the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program.
The more than $1 million in grants is funded through FRRR’s partnerships with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and The Snow Foundation, which are both committed in helping develop communities in rural and regional NSW.
IRCF is a place-based program that provides local NFPs and community sector organisations with practical support and funding so they can be stronger, more resilient, and fulfill their purpose with greater impact. The program encourages collaboration and community-led solutions that will seed the long-term self-sufficiency of these organisations.
In partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, FRRR launched the IRCF program in the regional NSW communities of Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley. Now in their second year of the five-year program, these communities are sharing a further $557,698 in Ongoing Partnership Grants.
Alli Mudford, IRCF Program Manager, said that these grants mark the start of the second phase of the IRCF program.
“The first phase was about bringing community-based organisations together to explore common needs and identify areas where they could collaborate, as well as identify what support they required as individual organisations. The kind of issues that emerged included the need for staff, organisational training and skills development, and investment in community and organisational infrastructure.
“This second phase of the program is about helping the organisations take action on these common areas of need with the support of these grants.
“For example, in Nambucca Valley, a key challenge is broad community engagement. We are supporting Nambucca Valley Youth Services and Mujaay Ganma Foundation to develop projects to help them engage more deeply with locals, particularly the young people of Nambucca Valley, by providing training and mentoring opportunities.
“In Junee and Leeton, for example, Junee Rhythm and Rail, Junee Senior Citizens and Leeton Show Society will use their funding to purchase equipment and refurbish community infrastructure that is used by a number of local not-for-profits,” said Ms Mudford.
Some of the other projects funded through these IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants include:
- Junee Community Power received $15,000 to alleviate energy poverty for the community by installing solar power to the Junee Senior Citizens Hall. This will be the start a bigger initiative for Junee not-for-profits and community power.
- Leeton Connect received $90,000 to support Leeton not-for-profits by employing a coordinator to deliver training and development.
- Jaanymili Bawrungga in Nambucca Valley received $30,290 to develop a strategic plan to assist with operational objectives and create cultural economic sustainability with the support of a consultant.
A full list of IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants recipients and their projects are below.
FRRR staff will continue to walk alongside these three communities, working with them to implement their community roadmap. Nambucca Valley has seen a strong demand for funding with the first tranche allocated to projects that will be managed in line with the region’s overall allocation for the life of the program. Further grants will be awarded in Leeton and Junee later in the year.
Program now rolling out on South Coast
In April 2020, FRRR and The Snow Foundation partnered with the commitment to increase their ongoing support of South Coast communities and to expand the IRCF program into Bateman’s Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla. As part of the program launch, these communities are sharing in $490,018 in Start-Up Grants.
Kate Dezarnaulds, IRCF Coordinator for Shoalhaven, said last summer’s bushfires and now COVID-19 have had a direct impact on the energy, capability, and resources of these largely volunteer-run NFPs.
“These Start-Up Grants will provide a range of dynamic grassroots organisations with funding for projects that will strengthen them and increase their capacity to support the recovery and renewal of their communities, which have been so clearly impacted by these disasters.
“For example, community organisations such as Shoalhaven Health & Arts and Milton Ulladulla Business Chamber are looking at ways to better connect with their community through improved digital infrastructure.
“Other groups, like Shoalhaven Community Preschool, Ulladulla and Districts Community Resources Centre, and the Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance, are using their grants to improve governance and provide tailored training and mentoring opportunities for staff and volunteers. These are the kind of projects that struggle to find funding outside of the Investing in Rural Community Futures program, but they make a real difference to the viability and resilience of the not-for-profit sector in the region,” said Ms Dezarnaulds.
Some of the other projects funded through these IRCF Start-Up Grants include:
- The Family Place in the Batemans Bay area received $40,785 to develop a 5-year strategic plan that supports the urgent need to adapt to Telehealth to continue to provide services during COVID-19.
- The Shoalhaven Women’s Resource Group in Nowra received $18,810 to work with a consultant to develop a new fundraising strategy that focuses on the launch of a social enterprise to provide a first employment opportunity for the women they support who are exiting prison.
- Treading Lightly in Ulladulla received $25,000 to establish a Community Hub to host their regular program of small-scale community building meetings, workshops and activities for the regions affiliated NFP’s – these workshops and meetings often have an environmental sustainability and youth outreach focus.
A full list of IRCF Start-Up Grants recipients and their projects are below.
Over the coming six months FRRR staff and facilitators on the ground will work closely with the three communities on the South Coast, supporting them to put their Start-Up Grants projects into action.
All 37 IRCF grantees will have until December 2021 to implement their projects.
Jump to IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants: JUNEE | LEETON | NAMBUCCA VALLEY
Jump to IRCF Start-Up Grants: NOWRA | ULLADULLA | BATEMANS BAY
Junee not-for-profits (NFPs) will now have a set of helping hands to assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of projects suggested as part of the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, with the appointment of a local facilitator.
Junee was chosen as one of three New South Wales communities to participate in the IRCF program, which was set up through a partnership between the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF).
FRRR’s IRCF Program Manager, Alli Mudford, says that the organisation knows from experience how important it is to have someone local on the ground to support organisations in their own community and help turn these ideas into sustainable solutions.
“One thing that we heard loud and clear from the Junee community was how important it is to have local people playing an integral part in this program,” said Ms Mudford. “That’s why we are delighted to have Cahli Wall joining the team as Junee’s community facilitator.”
Cahli Wall lives in Junee and is passionate about creating educational opportunities and an inclusive environment for the region’s youth, disadvantaged and other vulnerable community members. Cahli believes the new IRCF program will provide Junee community groups with the important resources and support they need to thrive.
Both FRRR and VFFF have been inspired by the ideas that community representatives have put forward. Local organisations have identified that organisational development, governance, skills development and revenue sustainability are priorities for the Junee community.
These suggestions have now been incorporated into a roadmap for the IRCF program moving forward. Individual organisations and collectives in Junee are now invited to apply for grants for projects that are reflected in this community roadmap.
Ms Mudford says that FRRR staff and the newly appointed local facilitator will work closely with local organisations to support them to apply for these, and future grants as part of the Junee’s IRCF journey.
“Each community we’re working with is very different, with its own challenges, unique personalities and the depth and breadth of not-for-profits that work within its boundaries. FRRR’s role in the IRCF journey is to act as facilitators and supporters, to enhance the ability of local leaders to deliver the change they wish to see.
“It is absolutely a privilege to be working with the local leaders we’ve met in Junee, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds and how they turn these ideas into reality.”
Applications for IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants based on the Junee community roadmap are now open and close at 5pm, Friday 12 June 2020. Grants will be awarded in August 2020.
To apply for an Ongoing Partnership Grant contact IRCF Program Manager Alli Mudford on 0448 992 820, or Junee’s IRCF facilitator Cahli Wall on 0434 934 626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.