Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Last month, FRRR had the great pleasure of hosting a number of our Corporate Partners at ANZ’s offices in Sydney for a discussion about How corporate philanthropy can foster strong vibrant rural communities. With representation from multiple industries, the conversation was far-reaching – covering everything from telecommunications challenges to housing affordability.

Jenefer Stewart, ANZ General Manager, Business Banking, opened the roundtable and talked about the wonderful 20-year partnership that FRRR & ANZ have shared, including the extremely successful Seeds of Renewal Program. It has provided more than $5 million in grants to over 800 community groups during the lifetime of the partnership.

Jenefer highlighted the importance of supporting regional and rural communities, and also discussed the enormous benefits to ANZ employees involved in the Program.

“Our 20-year partnership with FRRR aligns strongly with ANZ’s purpose and our ongoing commitment to support vibrant and sustainable rural communities to ensure the ongoing prosperity of regional Australia.

“In addition to the benefits to regional Australia, the Program provides a great opportunity for our employees to be more involved with the Program by volunteering their time on the Assessment Committee. Under the guidance of FRRR, the Assessment Committee undertakes the thorough and methodical process of evaluating applications based on our four key themes covering Environmental Sustainability; Financial Wellbeing; Access to Housing; and Community Projects that assist communities to thrive. The overwhelming feedback from our ANZ volunteers is that they find the opportunity to be involved with the Program extremely rewarding and highly recommend the experience to others.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, gave an overview of the state of remote, rural and regional communities, sharing some alarming statistics about volunteer fatigue, youth engagement in volunteerism, disaster resilience and the digital divide from FRRR’s Heartbeat of Rural Australia study. Some of those key facts included:

  • More than 50% of the community groups surveyed still rely on traditional communication techniques such as telephone, mail and face-to-face;
  • 1/3 volunteers are elderly;
  • Fewer than 30% rated their internet access as extremely reliable;
  • 87% of community organisations play an economic role in their community; and
  • 99% of community organisations play a social or cultural role in their community.

It was wonderful to hear the shared passion around the room for remote and rural Australia, and to learn of the incredible programs that so many of the organisations in attendance are currently undertaking to support these areas.

For example, we heard from Sasha Deshon, Community Engagement Manager for Transgrid, about their $1.5 million to a partnership with Regional Development Authority (RDA) Riverina to deliver a major jobs and skills boost to the region. Vicky Power, Head of Community for Suncorp spoke of their $1millon pledge last year to FRRR for a dedicated program to support rural communities impacted by significant natural disasters.

One of the most promising aspects of the roundtable was the clear commitment from the organisations present (including others such as Pepper Money, Stockland, Raine & Horne, Pinnacle Charitable Foundation & NRMA) for future collaboration to tackle some of the many challenges facing remote, rural and regional communities.

We look forward to continuing our role as the conduit and connector for the corporate community to collaborate for the ongoing sustainability and vitality of remote, rural and regional Australia. To find out more about the corporate partnership options or attend one of our roundtables in the future, contact the partnerships team via

Located on the Eyre Peninsula is the town of Port Lincoln in South Australia. This is the home of essential organisations like Yarredi Services, whose purpose is to create a space where those who need assistance can receive it.

HEADING: Technology for Women's Wellbeing Hub. IMAGE: Yarredi Services

Yarredi Services works hard to support local women and children who are victims of domestic and family violence (DFV). Working in collaboration with the South Australian Police, local health services, Aboriginal health services and other not-for-profit agencies, Yarredi focuses on a diverse range of ways to address the needs of the people affected by DFV.

Founded in 1979, Yarredi Services currently works out of a centre that provides resources for their clients to take control of their own lives; the “Women’s Wellbeing and Safety Hub”. In partnership with ANZ, FRRR awarded Yarredi Services $5,184 through the Seeds of Renewal program, to fund the purchase of a range of laptops and office equipment to be used by clients.

The laptops at the centre will be in a safe environment where women and children can study, work, find housing and any other services they may need to access online. The benefit of using the laptops at the facility ensures a level of safety and privacy. According to Executive Officer Sharyn Potts, while access to technology can be empowering, it can also come with risks.“

Technology can be used to abuse or track individuals. It’s important our clients have access to computers and technology in an environment that’s supportive and informative. We want them to be able to put resumes together and manage their banking while learning information about how to avoid being tracked.”

Adapted from an article published by ANZ.

FRRR and ANZ have awarded $250,000 in grants to 22 regional community groups and not-for-profit organisations through the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program.

ANZ Seeds of Renewal gives rural and regional communities a $250,000 boost

The 2021 program supported remote, rural and regional communities across Australia to: improve their town’s environmental sustainability; increase financial wellbeing in communities, particularly those with disadvantaged or minority groups; or improve housing access for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness or for people living with a disability.

Jenefer Stewart, ANZ General Manager Business Banking said: “Every year, we are impressed by the innovation and desire that these local groups have for the long-term stability and sustainability of their communities.

“Over the past 20 years ANZ Seeds of Renewal has helped more than 800 community groups bring local projects to life and it’s a program we are really proud of,” Ms Stewart said.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that these grants will give communities a much-needed boost by funding initiatives that will help to build vibrant and sustainable rural and regional communities.

“Thanks to our long-standing partnership with ANZ, we are able to fund projects that we know will make a big difference to small communities. Over the last 18 months the impacts of drought, fires, floods and COVID-19 have challenged the capacity of communities and the not-for-profit organisations that support them to thrive. 

“Gaining access to this funding will make a huge difference for these local organisations and their communities. The grants will allow them to implement initiatives that will address pressing issues and support their communities to experience better environmental, financial wellbeing and social outcomes in a time when they need it the most,” Ms Egleton said.

Since being established in 2003, ANZ Seeds of Renewal has awarded $5.25 million to more than 800 projects.

Some examples of the 22 projects funded this year include:

  • Agrifood Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd – Coffs Harbour, NSW – Bee Futures Environmental and Food Security Showcase – $12,100 Educating students on career opportunities in bee propagation and environmental sustainability through two hands-on showcases.
  • Yarredi Services Incorporated – Port Lincoln, SA – Women’s Wellbeing and Safety Hub Study Centre – $5,184Improve financial outcomes for indigenous women and girls by upgrading a facility to deliver programs.
  • Anam Cara House Colac Inc – Colac, VIC – Supporting South West Victoria’s Most Vulnerable – $15,000Improving quality of life and increasing access to care for elderly people and those who are vulnerable to homelessness by extending available respite support.

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

Agrifood Industry Training Advisory Body LtdBee Futures Environmental and Food Security Showcase
Educating students on career opportunities in bee propagation and environmental sustainability through two hands on showcases.
Coffs Harbour$12,100
Baradine Preschool IncorporatedBaradine Preschool - Daycare Provision
Enable community financial wellbeing through access to local childcare facilities to support working parents.
PlantingSeeds ProjectsThe Bathurst B&B Highway
Foster environmental sustainability in communities by delivering biodiversity education and planting projects in the Bathurst region.
RED (Realising Every Dream) IncMoney Mates
Boost job readiness of people living with a disability in the Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle regions by providing professional upskilling and mentoring programs over a 12 months period.
The Shift Project Byron IncorporatedNgali Design Initiative
Create employment opportunities for women vulnerable to homelessness through supporting a social enterprise producing indigenous designed furnishing.
Byron Bay$9,544
UCA - Life Line MacarthurFinancial Counselling
Improve access to financial counselling through additional hours and promotion of services in small communities.
The Trustee for Karrkad-Kanjdji TrustMayh Recovery Project - Protecting Culturally Important Species in West Arnhem Land
Protect and preserve culturally important species through supporting land management in Arnhem Land.
Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group Inc“Seeding” a Community Landcare Nursery
Boost environmental sustainability by developing environmental standards to develop a native plant nursery for the Condamine Headwaters region.
Tableland Community Link Asssociation IncorporatedTableland Community Link Associated Incorporated - "The Grove" - Extension
Improve facilities to provide an inspired community meeting space for people with a disability.
The South Burnett Pantry IncFood Hampers for 250
Help alleviate poverty through the provision of food hampers.
Yarredi Services IncorporatedWomen's Wellbeing and Safety Hub Study Centre
Create a safe environment where Indigenous women and girls can access a range of services to improve financial outcomes at Yarredi Services' "Women's Wellbeing and Safety Hub".
Port Lincoln$5,184
Anam Cara House Colac IncSupporting South West Victoria's Most Vulnerable - Those with Chronic Illness and Housing Vulnerability to Live Their Lives in Safety and with Dignity
Improving quality of life and increasing access to care for elderly people vulnerable to homelessness through extending available respite support.
Health Futures Australia LtdSHIFT Young Growers for our Future
Build capability to enable agriculture employment for young people.
Progressing Cobden IncSustainable Economic Recovery and Growth for Cobden - Stage 2
Supporting economic recovery through implementing strategies to develop tourism and support business in Cobden.
Terang RSL Sub BranchInstallation of 13.32kWp Solar Panels
Increase cost efficiency to support community facility with installation of solar panels.
The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation IncThe Post COVID19 Western Victorian Aboriginal Tutorial Program
Improve educational outcomes for indigenous children impacted by Covid-19 through literacy support.
The Old Colonists Association of VictoriaNet Zero Carbon Retirement Community
Improve environmental sustainability by supporting a retirement community to achieve net zero emissions.
Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club IncProtection of Native Flora and Fauna through Installation of Waste Management Measures
Improve environmental standards within the community by protecting native flora and fauna through installation of waste management measures.
Cape Woolamai$11,364
Woorndoo Land Protection GroupSurveying and Diversifying Significant and Restored Native Vegetation in the Woorndoo District, South West Victoria
Improve environmental standards with drone survey and community revegetation planting project.
Yarra Valley Ecoss IncCrops for Community to Market
Supporting local programs and initiatives that improve financial wellbeing through training all abilities volunteers for community market operations.
Zoe Support AustraliaLittle Sprouts Op Shop & Café
Support volunteer run social enterprise operations to improve women and children's life outcomes by funding the retail shop space.
York Branch Wildflower Society of WA Wildflower Society of Western Australia IncEnvironmental Discovery Centre Equipment
Boost organisational capacity through the provision of information technology equipment and software.