Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Thankful4Farmers in one of FRRR’s newest donor partners who are generously supporting our latest program Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, which seeks to help agriculture-dependent communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of drought become more prepared for and resilient to these impacts.

We spoke to Kim McDonnell CEO and Founder of Thankful4Farmers to further understand the challenges that our farmers face, how drought not only affects yield and the supply chain but also causes social and health challenges. Kim shares how the organisation works collaboratively across a diverse range of stakeholders and influencers to address the systematic challenges faced by remote and rural communities recognizing the valuable contribution that farming and agriculture play in our lives, every single day.

Kim McDonnell photographed by Kristoffer Paulsen.
  1. What was it that drew the Foundation to partner with FRRR?

Thankful4Farmers is committed to supporting and helping regional and rural communities to thrive by helping fund initiatives that address the systematic challenges faced by these communities. We were impressed that FRRR shared similar values and vision through their commitment to “ensure the long-term vitality of rural and remote Australia”. 

  1. You are supporting the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, which seeks to help agriculture-dependent communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of drought become more prepared for and resilient to these impacts. What is it about this program that resonates with the work you do? 

Thankful4Farmers promotes and recognizes the valuable contribution that farming and agriculture play in our lives, every single day, three times a day and COVID has certainly highlighted farmers as being on the front line of our food security. Drought and unprecedented climatic conditions, not only potentially impacts our food supply and affordability, but causes economic, social and health challenges to agriculture-dependent communities. We are passionate about helping these communities become more resilient through initiatives that create sustainable solutions.

  1. We understand that this is the first time you have partnered with FRRR. How have you found working with FRRR to date?

It has been a delight working with the FRRR team who listened, understood and helped identify how best our grant could be applied. The FRRR team have kept us informed of the process and will provide regular updates of the impact of the program.  

4. Thankful4Farmers is an initiative which brings together industries, brands, influencers and consumers in a united effort to raise awareness and generate revenue to support sustainable agriculture and regional communities across Australia. Can you share some insights into the ways you collaborate with these diverse groups?

Thankful4Farmers partners with brands and organisations to raise both awareness and money to support agriculture and regional communities. We partner with brands to co-brand products or services and through a product for purpose model, Thankful4Farmers receives a percentage of revenue generated through sales. Our goal is to have multiple products co-branded across multiple categories. When it is not possible to co-brand there are also sponsorship opportunities for brands and organisations to be involved.

Our model is collaborative and we firmly believe that through unity and partnerships our impact will be far greater. We welcome the opportunity to work with organisations who share the commitment to supporting agriculture and regional and rural communities to amplify awareness and impact. 

  1. FRRR is very focused on creating resilience and adaptability within remote and rural communities. Given your support of the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, we can see you share our belief in the need for this kind of focus. What does your organisation see as the particular challenges / opportunities for our remote and rural communities over the next decade, and how can organisations like ours help?  

Unprecedented climatic conditions, trade wars and tariffs resulting in economic fluctuations, increased mental health and wellness challenges, COVID and the impact of boarder closures on labour supply and changing consumer expectations are just a few of the challenges facing agriculture and regional and rural communities. To help these communities become more resilient they need infrastructure and services to thrive, industry diversification, access to the latest technology and information to promote climate smart agricultural practices and recognition of the value and contribution they make to the Australian community and economy.

  1. And finally, do you have any advice to other philanthropic organisations / individuals when choosing a not-for-profit to partner with?

When choosing a not-for-profit partner it is important that you take the time to ensure you share the same values and vision. For Thankful4Farmers it was also an imperative that we had clear objectives and transparency to measure and understand both the short and long term impact our donation was going to make.