Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

34 recovery projects funded across Australia

Thirty-four projects set to seed and strengthen the recovery of communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires are sharing in $589,945 in grants, thanks to the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

The 34 grants are supported through a special stream of bushfire recovery funding via the SRC program. In total, more than 100 projects in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia were awarded $1,112,492 in grants through this round of the program. A full list of all SRC grants can be found here.

The bushfire recovery projects will support impacted communities across Australia from Stanthorpe in Queensland, to Eden in New South Wales, Bairnsdale in Victoria, Cudlee Creek in South Australia, and Ngadju country in Western Australia.

The grants of up to $25,000 will be used for a broad range of inspiring recovery projects, led by local people, such as supporting Shoalhaven’s vulnerable community members by running support groups facilitated by the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, or preparing the community of South Arm for future disaster events by purchasing amenities and safety equipment for the local hall.

Sarah Matthee, FRRR’s Acting CEO, said that communities have found diverse ways to build up their resilience and support one another.

“This round we have seen communities drawing on their strong community partnerships to find ways of helping to make their community a more resilient and connected place,” Ms Matthee said.

“Communities have also shown us how much they value the vital contributions made by volunteers. We have funded several projects that support and recognise these people, and help tackle the fatigue they feel, especially in light of this year’s challenges.

“For bushfire-affected communities, COVID-19 has not lessened their determination to keep on recovering, despite the pandemic resulting in gatherings and events, which would have helped people connect and rebuild, being postponed or cancelled. Local leaders have put forward great ideas that are sure to help lift community spirits.

“Regardless of where these communities are at, the SRC program is flexible enough to fund projects that will help communities to seed and strengthen, adapt and evolve, and innovate and renew,” Ms Matthee explained.

Some of the 34 projects awarded via the bushfire recovery stream include:

  • Pambula Business Chamber Incorporated, NSW – Pambula Art Project – $25,000 – Increase visitation to the region and highlight local history and culture, through development and installation of a series of artworks across the Pambula township.
  • Pomona & District Community House Inc, QLD – Pomona Youth Resilience and Well-being Project – $18,891 – Increase access, support and resources for local youth in Pomona by delivering a facilitated, structured community-based youth program.
  • Kingscote Farmers & Artisan Market Inc, SA – Kingscote Farmers and Artisans Market – The Backyard – $24,640 – Increase access to local produce and the social and economic recovery of Kangaroo Island by employing a part-time project manager to help reopen the Kingscote Farmers & Artisan Market and develop a pop-up activity space.
  • Koala Island Foundation Inc, VIC – A Sustainable Future Together – $3,400 – Conserve native habitat and increase volunteer support, through the development of a tourist attraction.
  • Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation, WA – Rebuilding Community Through Clearing Tracks for Management of Fire (Kala) in Ngadju Country $25,000 – Increase fire preparedness in the Great Western Woodlands and maintain cultural sites of significance by clearing tracks to make access easier for cultural mosaic burns.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors, which are listed on the Strengthening Rural Communities program page.

The next round of SRC grants will be announced March 2021. The current round is accepting applications until 23 February 2021.

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

Jump to: NSW | QLD | SA | VIC | WA

Organisation Project Location Grant
Utungun Community Hall Section 355 Committee of Management
Nambucca Valley Council
Utungun Hall – Sitting Pretty and Moving Safely
Support Volunteer capacity through the purchase of chairs and equipment for Utungun Community Hall.
Utungun $4,020
Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network
Hawkesbury River County Council
Regenerating our Bushland after Fire, Hawkesbury
Increase local capacity to manage environmental recovery, through delivery of a series of workshops and events on topics such as weed management and erosion.
Bilpin $16,000
Community Foundation for Albury Wodonga Region Ltd Digital Storytelling
Celebrate and encourage local giving post-bushfire via a digital storytelling project.
Albury $10,000
Glenrac Incorporated Emergency Preparedness for Future Challenges – Glen Innes NSW
Increase support for recovering community, through delivery of wellbeing events and mental health first aid training.
Glen Innes $17,150
Marine Rescue Kioloa
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW
Marine Rescue Base Facilities Upgrade
Increase local capacity to maintain volunteer marine rescue service base facility, though replacement of carpet.
Kioloa – Bawley Point $5,000
Eden Tourism Inc Relocation of Eden Visitor Information Centre
Increase amenity and function of new Eden Visitor Information Centre, through professional design and development of internal areas.
Eden $20,000
Hartley Vale Mount Blaxland Reserve Land Manager Ground Penetrating Radar Survey
Heal the community through the establishment of all burial sites located at the Hartley Vale Cemetery.
Hartley $16,016
Merimbula Big Game and Lakes Angling Club Inc. Replacement of Community Infrastructure – The Boating and Fishing Jetty at Spencer Park Merimbula Lake
Increase capacity to fundraise for replacement of local jetty, though support to complete development application and design planning.
Merimbula $14,850
South Arm Hall Committee of Management
Nambucca Valley Council
Making South Arm Hall Resilient, Welcoming and Aiding Recovery
Strengthen South Arm Hall’s resilience and preparedness for future disaster events through the purchase of safety and amenity items.
South Arm $25,000
Nimbin Community Centre Incorporated Walkways Together – from Jarjums to Elders
Support community resilience through replacement of covered walkways at Nimbin Community Centre
Nimbin $9,700
The Southern Highlands Foundation FireAid Bushfire Appeal/Covid-19 Appeal
Strengthen capacity of the Foundation to support their community post bushfire through the employment of an Executive Officer.
Balmoral $25,000
Bombala Pre School Inc Urban & Indigenous Agriculture Project
Increase local resilience and intergenerational connections, through construction of codesigned community space and permaculture skills.
Bombala $15,000
Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre Inc Play in Nature
Support early childhood development through the construction of a Natural Playground at Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre.
Evans Head $9,575
Salt Care Limited Salt Life
Support vulnerable cohorts across Shoalhaven via support groups facilitated by the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.
Nowra/ Bomaderry $15,000
The Elands Community Health & First Aid Centre Incorporated Refurbishments for Community Centre
Increase comfort and capacity of Elands local meeting space, through installation of air conditioning and solar system with battery.
Elands $24,102
Ettrick Hall Committee Inc Ettrick Hall Bathroom Upgrade
Increase local capacity and disaster preparedness, through upgrading bathroom facilities at local hall to include a shower for emergency personal and displaced residents.
Ettrick $10,000
Do It For Batlow Weemala Hill Walking and Riding Trails – Batlow Lookout
Renew access to local walking trails that support health and wellbeing through employment of contractors to clear burnt trees and reinvigorate the area.
Batlow $25,000
Macdonald Valley Association Macdonald Valley Community – Book of Fires
Advance the recovery of the Macdonald Valley through the creation of a book which documents and celebrates community resilience.
St Albans $22,870
Pambula Business Chamber Incorporated Pambula Art Project
Increase visitation to the region and highlight local history and culture, through development and installation of a series of artworks across the Pambula township.
Pambula $25,000
Artworks Granite Belt Inc. ArtWorks Station Cafe Upgrade
Increase capacity and enhance facilities at volunteer run Artworks Station Cafe, through upgrade of kitchen and outdoor eating area.
Stanthorpe $9,066
Pomona & District Community House Inc Pomona Youth Resilience and Well-being Project
Increase access to support and resources for local youth in Pomona, through delivery of a facilitated, structured community based youth program.
Pomona $18,891
Parndana Progress Association – Walking Trail Sub-Committee
Parndana Progress Association
Parndana Fitness Trail – Outdoor Gym Station
Increase access to equipment that supports health and wellbeing, through installation of outdoor fitness equipment at Kangaroo Island West Lions Park.
Parndana $16,838
Kangaroo Island Yacht Club Inc Community Hub Upgrade to Support Community Resilience
Enhance community activities that support connectedness at the Kangaroo Island Yacht Club, through upgrade of aged kitchen facilities.
Kingscote $25,000
Kingscote Farmers & Artisan Market Inc Kingscote Farmers and Artisans Market – The Backyard
Increase support for reopening of community market and development of pop up activity space in Kingscote, through employment of a part time project manager.
Kingscote $24,640
The Cudlee Creek Tennis & Basket Ball Club Inc A Community Led Project: Our Community Hub and Tennis Courts
Increase preparedness for disaster and enhanced community facilities for a community recovering from bushfire, through upgrade of fencing, drainage, water storage and landscaping at local hub.
Cudlee Creek $25,000
Omeo Shire Community Access Radio Inc Replacing the Computer
Increase capacity of community radio station to communicate local news and information, though purchase of computer, software and printer.
Omeo $1,932
Sarsfield Recreation reserve Committee of Management Inc Purchase of Lawn Mower
Increase capacity for volunteers that manage local community reserve and meeting area, through purchase of ride on mower.
Sarsfield $22,000
Everton Hall and Sports Complex Committee
Wangaratta Rural City Council
Everton Community Hub Precinct Revitalisation – BBQ Shelter Stage 2
Enhance local meeting space and recovery activities, through construction of BBQ area and pathways at Everton reserve.
Everton $11,276
Bruthen Mechanics Institute Bruthen Hall Ready for Community Disaster Response
Increase local resilience to support recovery efforts, and support social gatherings, through upgrade to Bruthen Mechanics Institute kitchen.
Bruthen $24,299
Ensay Mechanics Institute Reserve Inc Ensay Memorial Hall – Exterior Painting
Increase support for rural community to maintain local meeting area as a disaster assembly point, through painting the Ensay Hall.
Ensay $23,320
Mallacoota Inlet Bowling Club Inc Mallacoota Bowls Club as a Hub for Community Support
Resume community activities that support social connectedness, through repair and upgrade to the fire effected Mallacoota Inlet Bowling Club.
Mallacoota $25,000
Koala Island Foundation Inc A Sustainable Future Together
Conserve native habitat and increase volunteer support, through the development of a tourist attraction.
Raymond Island $3,400
East Gippsland Winter Festival Working Group
East Gippsland Marketing Inc
East Gippsland Winter Festival
Increase visitation and economy through employment of a Community Engagement Manager to support delivery of the East Gippsland Winter Festival.
Bairnsdale $25,000
Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation Rebuilding Community Through Clearing Tracks for Management of Fire (Kala) in Ngadju Country
Increase fire preparedness in the Great Western Woodlands and maintain cultural sites of significance, by clearing tracks that enable access for cultural mosaic burns.
Norseman Indigenous Location $25,000

Over $1 million in News Corp Bushfire Fund grants awarded to date

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with News Corp, has awarded 18 communities impacted by the Black Summer bushfires a total of $341,280 in grants for 20 projects that will support the recovery of their communities.

The News Corp Bushfire Fund has had an impressive impact in bushfire-affected regions this year, having awarded $1,119,825 in grants to date to support 61 recovery-focused initiatives across affected communities, as they continue to rebuild and recover. The next round of grants will be the final round for the News Corp Bushfire Fund and will bring the distributed funds to a total of $1.5 million.

The News Corp Bushfire Fund grants, of up to $25,000, are awarded to community groups in regions impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires for projects that address a range of needs and priorities for each community. This round saw 20 community groups from bushfire-affected regions across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria awarded grants for initiatives that build community resilience and preparedness for future disasters, help people connect and support their wellbeing as well as practical upgrades to emergency infrastructure and equipment.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the demand for a wide range of community resilience projects demonstrates how important it is to let local people decide what the need and priorities are for their community’s recovery.

“We know that local leaders are best placed to know what their community needs, especially as recovery happens at different rates for each impacted place. While projects may vary from place to place, building community resilience and making sure the community is prepared for future emergencies is a common goal for regions that have already been impacted by disaster.

“For some communities, building community resilience means repairing infrastructure damaged by the fire or purchasing emergency equipment such as generators and solar battery systems for use in future emergency situations. For other places building resilience means improving amenities or increasing the capacity of community infrastructure where people connect, engage and support one another.

“It’s great to be able to partner with News Corp to support these communities and their inspiring ideas, which will help bring people together and make recovery meaningful to them,” Ms Egleton explained.

News Corp Australia’s community ambassador Penny Fowler said these grants were especially significant considering the timing.

“Almost a year on, we know some of these communities are feeling like they lived through a ‘forgotten crisis’. But there is still so much work to be done, now and in the long-term.

“This third round of grants builds on the ongoing needs of each community to recover at their own pace – whether that be upgrading essential town halls, providing mental health programs for firefighters, or bringing people together through drive-in movie sessions.”

“Recovery takes years, not months and we are committed to standing by these communities, remembering their loss, their stories, their pain and their bravery.”

Some of the 20 projects awarded include:

  • Mann River Men’s Shed – Diehard, NSW – Empowering Community Resilience and Recovery – $25,000 – Support community preparedness and build resilience by installing a solar system to generate power.
  • 4 Aussie Heroes Foundation – Boonah, QLD – “Triumph over Trauma” – $23,000 – Support individual wellbeing of first responders with programs to address trauma from bushfire fighting experience.
  • Stokes Bay Community Hall – Strokes Bay, SA – Stokes Bay Community Hall Volunteer Hub – $23,279 – Provide a welcoming and functional space by upgrading volunteer facilities.
  • Buchan Mechanics Institute and Free Library Reserve – Buchan, VIC – Hall Re-Stumping and Upgrade Kitchen Facilities – $22,042 – Build community resilience with infrastructure improvements to enable group gatherings.

The final round of the News Corp Bushfire Fund grants will open 12 January 2021 and closes 11 February 2021. In total, there is a further $380,175 available. Applications are invited from community groups in Local Government Areas with a bushfire disaster declaration from September 2019 to February 2020. FRRR encourages all grant seekers to subscribe to our eNews and social media channels to be alerted when other funding opportunities are announced, and to be inspired to develop their own community-led projects.

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

Jump to : NSW | QLD | SA | VIC

Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism IncPower to the People … of Bermagui
Build community resilience with the purchase of portable generators publicly available for use in emergency situations.
Love Long Beach IncorporatedSummer Sundays @ Long Beach
Support community connectedness and wellbeing through COVID Safe drive-in events.
Long Beach$5,682
Mann River Men’s ShedEmpowering Community Resilience and Recovery
Support community preparedness and build resilience by installing a solar system to generate power.
Moruya Antique Tractor & Machinery Association IncRebuild & Restoration of MATAMA
Build community resilience and pride through the rebuild of a museum of community significance for local residents. 
Utungun Community Hall Section 355 Committee of Management
Nambucca Valley Council
Room to Move at the Utungun Community Hall
Build community facility capacity with a storage shed to keep social areas clear of equipment.
Southcoast Health and Sustainability AllianceRebuilding Community Resilience Through the Establishment of a Eurobodalla Repair Cafe in Moruya
Connect and support community wellbeing by establishing a volunteer social enterprise.  
Tomakin Sports & Social ClubSolar Battery System
Build community resilience with the supply and installation of a solar battery system to guarantee power in emergencies.
4 Aussie Heroes Foundation Limited“Triumph Over Trauma”
Support individual wellbeing of first responders with programs to address trauma from bushfire fighting experience.
Stokes Bay Community Hall IncStokes Bay Community Hall – Volunteer Hub
Upgrade volunteer facilities to provide a welcoming and functional space.
Stokes Bay$23,279
The Cudlee Creek Soldiers Memorial Ground IncorporatedCudlee Creek Soldiers’ Memorial Hall – Roof Replacement
Upgrade community facilities with a new roof to mitigate risk and maintain a functional space. 
Cudlee Creek$25,000
Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House IncMobile Catering Support for East Gippsland Communities Following Natural Disasters
Build organisational capacity by fitting out a mobile van to cater for communities in times of crisis. 
Benambra Dinner Plain Omeo Landcare GroupBDPO Landcare Equipment Improvements
Sustain community facilities for everyday use and preparedness by purchasing safety equipment and repairing aging equipment. 
Buchan Mechanics Institute and Free Library ReserveHall Re-Stumping and Upgrade Kitchen Facilities
Build community resilience with infrastructure improvements to enable group gatherings.
Buchan Recreation ReserveFire Pumps for Community Safety
Build community resilience with new equipment to increase safety and disaster preparedness.
Cassilis Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementFire Ready Project
Improve community infrastructure for disaster preparedness with a large tank to improve access to water.
Koala Island Foundation IncA Stronger Community and Sustainable Future for Raymond Island
Support economic recovery by upgrading park entrances for local and tourist patronage.
Raymond Island$17,718
Lucyvale Tennis Club IncMaking Lucyvale Hall a Safe Place for our Community in Times of Risk & Need
Build community resilience with air condition and quick water access to aid in disasters.
Nowa Nowa Pony Club IncorporatedFriendships Beyond Fire
Maintain community infrastructure with new equipment to allow social gatherings and events. 
Nowa Nowa$11,500
The Man from Snowy River Tourist Association IncTake a Seat and Savour the Serenity
Upgrade community infrastructure to enhance local and visitor experience at a historic site.
W Tree Promotion and Progress Association IncW Tree Food Cooperative Improvements
Build volunteer capacity with facilities equipment to reduce community food insecurity. 
W Tree$15,493

$250,000 donation to fund bushfire recovery initiatives

16 November 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Black Summer bushfire recovery funding has been bolstered thanks to a $250,000 donation from the Waislitz Foundation, in partnership with Australian Community Media (ACM). These funds will go towards supporting projects that focus on the recovery of the people and places impacted by the 2019/20 summer bushfires.

bushfire recovery

Distribution of this donation will be via the bushfire recovery stream of FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program. This dedicated stream of funding offers grants of up to $25,000 for a broad range of projects that seek to support the recovery of affected communities. These community-led projects can include the repair and replacement of infrastructure damaged during the fires, support for the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by the bushfires, alleviation of volunteer burnout, initiatives to build economic development, and events that bring affected communities together.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said thanks to generous support of partners, like the Waislitz Foundation and ACM, the Foundation is able to fund a wide range of projects that support the different recovery journey of each fire-affected community.

“Recovery from of the 2019/20 summer bushfires is a process that has no end date and that is different for every affected place and person. We know that local leaders are therefore best placed to understand the priorities and recovery needs of their community.

“Having previously partnered with ACM through their South Coast is Calling Initiative, we are fortunate to be working with them again to support these bushfire-affected communities, as we know ACM shares our passion for supporting locally-led solutions. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Waislitz Foundation, who also understands the value of philanthropic partnerships when it comes to helping these communities to renew and rebuild,” Ms Egleton said.

Mr Waislitz said he felt privileged to be able to help people in fire-affected communities rebuild their lives and the local connections that gave them strength.

“Every Australian couldn’t help but be touched and inspired by the stories of loss and courage we saw last summer, and I’m keen to contribute to the healing,” he said.

“Through my involvement as a co-owner of ACM, which serves local audiences and advertisers in many regions affected by the bushfires, I have developed a keen awareness of the challenges those communities face and a deep admiration for their resilience.”

“The foundation’s hope is that by supporting a range of different grassroots, community-led initiatives through the FRRR, we can help these local communities renew and strengthen for the future.”

Read Australian Community Media’s full announcement here.

Each quarter, we ask FRRR’s staff to share some of their observations from speaking with community leaders across the country, and reviewing grant applications. Below are a few comments from looking back on the first quarter of FY21.

It’s a universal truth that communities that have strong local leadership are best placed to thrive. However, offering support for particular elements or activities perceived to be needed can create a deficit inference and shame. A recent comment caused the team to pause and reflect: “Conversations about capacity are complex because people can feel shame about not having capacity.”

It’s a good reminder, as often offering funding for a particular activity can infer a judgement. It can imply that ‘it’ is absent or ‘not up to scratch’ in that community or not-for-profit organisation. At FRRR, we take a strengths based approach to granting. Language and wording matters and we are grateful to have such honest conversations with our community partners.

ANOTHER strong theme that continues to come through is the extent of the impacts of the summer bushfires, and the impact of COVID-19 on recovery. For example, in a recent application one community leader wrote: “The conversations revolved around the effect of running on adrenalin for the months before and after Christmas and the feeling of emptiness that followed. There was no time to come together before the community was once again under threat. The fires had denuded the landscape and when the rains came, many roads and properties were further affected by mudslides. The cleaning up started again. The normal community celebrations were delayed or cancelled as COVID-19 forced individual distancing. Somehow there needs to be a way of marking closure for this community, most of whom were volunteers in one capacity or another.” 

COVID-19 and the ongoing drought are also affecting community groups’ fundraising capacity. For example, the Texas Kindergarten told us, “Annually we raise approximately $25,000 a year to help keep the Kindergarten open, pay staff, pay day to day expenses and purchase resources. Due to the ongoing effects of the drought individuals and businesses in our region are still really battling. It has become more and more difficult for our strong and resilient little community to help the Kindergarten financially. Now with COVID-19 we are unable to do any fundraising at all which will reduce our income this year dramatically. ” 

Volunteer fatigue and decline is also becoming more apparent in various communities. For example, as Dirranbandi Arts Council, in Queensland’s far south west, explained “Our precinct has three separate buildings, which we wish to have open on a more regular basis for our whole community and travellers to access. But this is impossible as we just do not have the numbers. We have tried in the past to open just one of the buildings with the help of volunteers but this has become increasingly difficult as our volunteer base diminishes and those available age.”  This presents new challenges and communities need to find new ways to engage volunteers, or source funds to pay for this service.

In other communities though, young people are stepping up and taking the reins. FRRR recently helped facilitate this blog from young community leader, Sam Kane, in which he tells the story about how he and some colleagues stepped up to get a pool in their community, and what they’ve gone on to do. 

However, in the medium to longer-term, it’s likely that COVID-19 will have benefits for remote, rural and regional Australia. There are strong signs of population movement toward regional centres, as reflected by the Regional Australia Institute’s recent work on regionalisation. International travel restrictions too mean that more Australians will holiday at home. This is good news for regional communities, but it will also be critical for rural areas to be ready to take advantage of both relocation to the regions and tourism. Regional tourist attractions, remote working opportunities, community connectedness, and cultural vibrancy are competitive advantages that smaller rural areas can harness, however, foundational infrastructure and services are needed to retain and build momentum. Unfortunately, there is significant long-term underinvestment in community assets and local services which improve liveability and quality of life, increase attractiveness and competitiveness, and foster innovation and revitalisation. This is why areas such as community halls, childcare services, aged care services and youth engagement activities are just some areas that FRRR seeks to fund across many programs and regions. We need more funds that are broad and will have multiple flow-on effects in communities. 

As the population in regional areas grows, there is more focus on issues relating to public transport. For example, Carroll is a small village within the Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Area. There is no bus service in the area and the residents are 20 km from services in the next town of Gunnedah. A local committee raised money to buy the bus, purely from local community fundraising and very generous support of many local businesses in Gunnedah and Tamworth. However, not all communities are able to do this, and we are seeing more and more requests to support this kind of service. 

If you would like to know more, contact FRRR.

Community Foundations and local organisations encouraged to apply

6 October 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) is seeking local partners in bushfire-affected communities to assist with the distribution of a special bushfire recovery stream of its long-running Back to School program.


Thanks to generous support from donors, FRRR has more than $767,000 in $50 vouchers to distribute in areas affected by the Black Summer bushfires. These vouchers can be redeemed for school essentials, such as school uniforms, shoes, school bags and stationery, which may have been lost during the bushfires. The aim is to help students start the 2021 school year with the key items they need to be ready to learn.

To ensure support reaches people truly in need, FRRR partners with Community Foundations and locally-based community organisations that can distribute the vouchers discretely, without parents having to apply for them.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that one of the key reasons the program has been a success over the past 15 years has been the involvement of local organisations to help coordinate voucher distribution.

“Having run this program since 2005, we know that it’s critical for us to have local partners, on the ground in communities, who can coordinate the distribution of these vouchers through schools, welfare organisations and community support networks, so the funds really get to those in need,” Ms Egleton said.

“We already have many long-standing partnerships, but we are seeking to expand them so that we have a partner in each of the LGA’s impacted by the Black Summer bushfires to help coordinate voucher distribution on behalf of their Shire. We are encouraging Community Foundations and backbone community organisations in these bushfire-affected communities to apply.

“This year has been full of extreme disruptions for these students and families impacted by last summer’s bushfires. As they slowly go back to face-to-face schooling, these children will not only be re-engaging in their education, but also re-establishing social connections with friends, both of which are very important steps in the recovery process,” Ms Egleton explained.

While $50 dollars may not seem much, in FRRR’s experience, it makes a practical difference. For families in need, it can mean that they can buy the books, shoes, uniform items, and even equipment like steel-capped boots or sleeping bags, so students can participate fully in things like work experience or school camps. For students and families doing it tough, it means they can focus on their recovery, education and on building a strong support network, rather than on the stress of not having basic school items or missing out on extracurricular activities.

FRRR’s Back to School Bushfire Response stream is possible thanks to the support of a number of donors, including News Corp Australia, Australia Post, Fire Fight Australia Fund, Portland House Foundation, UNICEF Australia and Origin Energy Foundation.

Community Foundations and local not-for-profit community organisations can apply for vouchers via the FRRR website. Applications close Friday, 30 October 2020. Grants will be announced at the end of November 2020 and vouchers will be distributed in January 2021, ahead of Term 1. 

FRRR’s focus is on medium to long-term recovery of disaster-affected communities. FRRR has already awarded more than $2 million in support for Black Summer bushfire recovery, with further grants to be announced in early 2021.

Since 2005, FRRR’s Back to School program has helped nearly 170,000 disadvantaged students by giving them a $50 gift voucher that can be redeemed for school necessities, such as uniforms, shoes, school bags and stationery. FRRR waives its administration fee on the Back to School program, so that every dollar donated to the program goes directly to the vouchers. The Back to School Bushfire Response stream ran earlier this year, providing nearly 4,000 students impacted by the Black Summer bushfires with a $50 voucher to help with replacing school necessities

20 community-led projects support Black Summer recovery efforts

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with News Corp, has awarded a further $410,159 in grants to 20 community-led projects that will support the recovery of rural communities impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.

With the incredible impact the News Corp Bushfire Fund is making on local recovery, News Corp will be adding a further donation of $500,000 to top up the Fund to $1.5 million. There have been over $750,000 in grants awarded to date.

The News Corp Bushfire Fund grants, of up to $25,000, help bring to life a range of recovery-focused initiatives that are designed to encourage people to connect, improve community spirit and increase community preparedness in the event of future bushfires.

In Round 2 of this program, grants have been awarded to local organisations in bushfire-affected communities from across Australia, including Glenreagh and Bermagui in New South Wales, Gipsy Point and Biggara in Victoria, Kingscote and Mount Torrens in South Australia and Beechmont in Queensland.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the resilience and determination of these communities to recover from the Black Summer bushfires, and thrive, is evident by the number of inspiring project ideas and applications that the Foundation has so far received.

“Recovery happens at different rates and there are different needs in each impacted community. So, it’s great to see communities like Onkaparinga, Cudlee Creek and Parndana, in South Australia, seeking out support as they move into their next phase of recovery.

“For some places, recovery means building community resilience with projects that will strengthen local identity and create tourist attractions for economic recovery. While another local collaboration will activate an environmental sustainability project and bring many people together, with a particular focus on supporting vulnerable members of the community, by offering support from mental health professionals.

“For the Biggara community in Victoria, upgrading their community hall was a recovery priority. The facility is central to the lives of residents and the upgrade includes expanding it to accommodate everyone in the community in one sitting. This will ensure that there is capacity for the community to come together and connect in times of celebration and in times of crisis.

“Getting funds out to all these bushfire-affected communities is crucial, especially now with the added challenges that COVID-19 has presented in small local economies,” Ms Egleton explained.

News Corp Australia’s Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said seeing the impact that this funding has on these communities makes partnerships like the one with FRRR so rewarding.

“Through the News Corp Bushfire Recovery program we get the opportunity to see the wonderful difference that funding local groups to champion the recovery of their own community has on these towns.

“We continue to be inspired by their passion and their determination to not let the recovery process, which has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, get the better of their community,” Ms Fowler said.

Some of the 20 projects awarded include:

  • Merrimans Local Aboriginal Lands Council – Bermagui, NSW – The ‘Moodji’ Regional Drought, Bushfire & Mental Health Recovery Project – $25,000 – Improve community wellbeing by enabling Grub Club and various gardening activities and events for a wide local audience to participate in and be supported by mental health professionals.    
  • Buxton Volunteer Fire Brigade – Buxton, VIC – RFS Memorial – Telopea Park – Buxton – $16,600 – Support community resilience with a memorial playground that will honour the brave lives lost in the fires.
  • The Little Pocket Association – Beechmont, QLD – Scenic Rim – Memorial and Mural Project – $25,000 – Build community resilience with a Mural project that will engage visitors and locals in the town’s story of the bushfire.  
  • Royal South Australian Deaf Society – State-wide – Talking Hands for Frontline Responders – $25,000 – Build organisational capacity and deaf community resilience with skill development of frontline responders in basic Auslan.

The News Corp Bushfire Recovery Program will provide further funds to Round 2 applicants before the end of the year. FRRR encourages all grant seekers to subscribe to our eNews and social media channels to be alerted when other funding opportunities are announced, and to be inspired to develop their own community-led projects.

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

Jump to : NSW | VIC | QLD | SA


Project & Summary




Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council

Essential Fire Equipment and Safety Gear for Bega’s Local Aboriginal Cultural Burning Team

Building organisational capacity with equipment for the Cultural Burning Team will increase individual safety and local preparedness.



Connecting Communities Australia Ltd

Bega Valley Bushfire Recovery Program – Restore Jewfish Beach Walkway

Building community resilience, the restoration of the walkway will improve local infrastructure and enable community connection.  



Country Women’s Association of NSW

A Mobile Big Screen Theatre for Community, Cultural and Educational Events

Building community connectivity and capacity the mobile big screen will enable community social activity and cultural vibrancy.



Four Wheel Drive NSW & ACT Incorporated

Recreational Road to Recovery

Improving community infrastructure and nature areas with trailers & chainsaws for dedicated working bees to clear and repair fire damage sites.

Batemans Bay


Glenreagh HeartStart Inc

Emergency Management and Training Room Equipment

Building organisational capacity to deliver enhanced community volunteer training with new equipment to enable effective facilitation and presentation. 



Merrimans Local Aboriginal Lands Council

The ‘Moodji’ Regional Drought, Bushfire & Mental Health Recovery Project

Improve community wellbeing by enabling Grub Club and various gardening activities and events for a wide local audience to participate in and be supported by mental health professionals.



Tomerong School of Arts

Making the Tomerong School of Arts Accessible to all in our Community

Building resilience by upgrading infrastructure for improved community with accessible toilets to support all community members use of the facilities.




Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare

2nd Freezer for FoodShare

Building organisational capacity the purchase of a second freezer will improve operations for meeting the increased demand for FoodShare’ services.



Buxton Volunteer Fire Brigade

RFS Memorial – Telopea Park – Buxton

Supporting community resilience, the memorial playground will honour the brave lives lost in the fires.  



Biggara Recreation Reserve Committee of Management

Biggara Valley Community Recovery Project

Building community capacity with an upgrade of Biggara Hall to increase the space twofold for community use.



Corryong Historic Machinery Club

Development of the Corryong Historic Machinery Club Museum

Strengthening economic recovery by developing local heritage infrastructure will support tourism and build local pride. 



Gippsland Disability Advocacy Inc

East Gippsland Bushfire Recovery for Persons with Disabilities

Building organisational capacity to facilitate volunteering, mental health and well-being supports for people with a disability in fire affected communities.



Gipsy Point Cemetery Trust Inc

Replacing Burnt and Damaged Boundary Fences and Upgrading Entrance Points at Gipsy Point Cemetery Trust

Building community resilience, the upgrade of Gipsy Point Cemetery will ensure the space is maintained for the local community.   

Gipsy Point



The Little Pocket Association

Scenic Rim – Memorial and Mural Project

Building community resilience, the Mural project will engage visitors and locals in the town’s story of the bushfire.  




Advance Kingscote Progress Association

Kangaroo Island Silo Art Project

Driving tourism and fostering a sense of community pride the silo art project will welcome locals and visitors. 



Disaster Relief Australia

Resilience and Capacity Building for South Australian Communities

Building organisational capacity the new equipment will expand the numbers of volunteers able to be deployed during emergencies. 

Cudlee Creek


Parndana Agricultural Horticultural and Floricultural Society Inc

Parndana Show 2020

Enabling community social connection and access by making the Parndana Show a free event for the community.



Royal South Australian Deaf Society Inc

Talking Hands for Frontline Responders

Building organisational capacity and deaf community resilience with skill development of frontline responders in basic Auslan.

South Australia (statewide)



SAVEM Field Hospital Essential Equipment Project

Building organisational capacity by preparing the mobile Field Hospital with equipment to treat animals of all species affected during bushfires.



Spring Head Trinity Lutheran Church Inc

Spring Head Fire Prevention

Improving community preparedness by removing debris and building fences for stock that will reduce the fuel load and protect this emergency shelter site.

Mount Torrens


28 August 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has received support from the US-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to assist in addressing the medium to long-term recovery needs of bushfire affected communities across rural, regional and remote Australia.

bushfire recovery

CDP’s mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur.

The US$500,000 grant will be distributed over the next three years through a stream of FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program dedicated to bushfire recovery.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that like FRRR, CDP knows just how important it is for funding and support to be available in the years following a disaster, not just in the immediate aftermath.

“CDP is a thought-leader when it comes to the role that philanthropy can play in disaster preparedness and recovery. Their experiences and insights following catastrophic events in the US, including Cyclone Katrina, have helped inform and validate FRRR’s approach to disaster recovery.

“Their experience confirms that every place’s needs are different, communities recover at different speeds and recovery needs evolve over time. We know this too from our experience in supporting the Victorian communities affected by the 2009 bushfires. Given the extent of the impacts of last summer’s bushfires, recovery will take a decade, if not more.

“This generous donation from CDP will ensure that we can provide the critical support needed, when it’s needed in the years to come to ensure these communities have what they need for their recovery,” said Ms Egleton.

Brennan Banks, director of Disaster Recovery Funds at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, says that typically almost two-thirds of philanthropic disaster donations are directed towards the immediate disaster response and relief.

“From our extensive experience over the last 10 years, we know that funding for long-term recovery and disaster preparedness is frequently scarce.

“We are therefore pleased to provide FRRR with flexible support to serve affected communities over the medium to long term. It is important for these communities to have resources to rebuild and recover from bushfires,” said Banks. “The funding can also be used to enhance preparedness efforts, which are just as important.”

$970,136 in grants awarded

12 August 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with the Pratt Foundation, has granted a further $241,386 to support 13 community-led projects in the Snowy Valleys region.

The Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund was established in February 2020 to support community-led projects designed to address a diverse range of bushfire recovery needs and community priorities in the Snowy Valleys. A total of $970,386 in funding has been granted to 36 projects over the last seven months, and the program is now closed.

Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman of Visy, said the organisation has been so pleased to have been able to support the Snowy Valleys region.

“It is wonderful to have seen how these grants have been put into action by community groups to make a real difference to the region’s recovery,” said Mr Pratt.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that there have been many great projects funded through the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund.

“Thanks to the early response and support of the Pratt Foundation, many recovery projects in the Snowy Valleys region have already been able to get underway, such as the RegenerART project. With funds received in a previous grant round, the Tumut Art Society is running workshops in Talbingo, Adelong, Batlow and Tumbarumba to ensure that there are local opportunities to come together and enjoy learning diverse art practices.

“I’m just as confident that the local organisations that have been awarded grants for projects this final round will play a critical role in the ongoing recovery of these communities. Projects like Eastern Riverina Arts’ Woodlands Film Festival and the Sounds of Summer Camerata String Orchestra Snowy Valleys Council Tour will help to build community spirit and strengthen social connections.

“Other local organisations have been awarded grants for projects that support the recovery of their community by updating, rebuilding or developing community infrastructure, including the Ournie Fire Brigade’s shed, the Adelong Men’s Shed entrance and the Batlow Sound Shell, memorialising the Batlow Cannery lost in the Dunn’s Rd Fire. These are all great examples of local community groups playing a vital role in disaster recovery because they are on the ground and best placed to know what is needed,” said Ms Egleton.

The grant recipients are below:

OrganisationProject SummaryGrantLocation
Adelong Men’s Shed IncConcrete Driveway Build organisational capacity of Adelong Men’s Shed with the construction of a concrete driveway to improve member access. Adelong$19,223
Adelong Swimming Club IncAdelong Community Aquatic Centre Shade and Solar Improve community infrastructure and capacity, upgrading the Adelong Community Pool with adequate shading and a structure to support solar heating for increased winter patronage.Adelong$35,000
Adelong Tennis Club IncAdelong Tennis Clubhouse Roof Replacement Improving community infrastructure by replacing the Adelong Tennis Clubhouse roof to support community group meetings.Adelong$10,000
Batlow Apple Tree Learning Centre Co-operative LtdOutdoor Play Space Upgrade Build community capacity and resilience, upgrading the outdoor play space at Batlow Apple Tree Learning Centre to support early years learning.Batlow$15,000
Batlow Development LeagueSounds and History of Batlow Increase community capacity and support economic recovery in Batlow by constructing a sound shell to memorialise the Batlow Cannery and support local events. Batlow$30,000
Cycle Tumbarumba IncLink to Mason’s Hill Trails Improving community infrastructure for local and tourist use through extending the trail bike link with a safe off-road bike path for children and adults.Tumbarumba$10,000
Eastern Riverina ArtsThe Woodlands Film Festival Build community spirit through reviving the Woodland Film Festival and presenting local stories at a landmark site for all the community to enjoy.Pilot Hill Arboretum$19,390
Montreal Community Theatre IncMontreal Community Theatre Shop (Cafe/Bar) Build organisational capacity developing a café shop front at the Montreal Theatre Space to provide a retail and cultural hub for community development. Tumut$30,000
Ournie Rural Fire BrigadeOurnie Community Recovery Project Build community resilience and connectedness by improving the Ournie Fire Brigade shed facilities to create a community meeting space and better local RFS facility.  Ournie$10,000
Snowy Valleys CouncilTooma Hall Transfer Pump and Water Storage Build community resilience by upgrading community infrastructure at the Tooma Hall with water storage for evacuation and everyday community use.Tooma$32,000
Talbingo MTB Club IncTalbingo Mountain Bike Park Shelters Enhance community facilities through the installation of bike shelters to support local and tourist patronage.Talbingo$11,373
Tumbarumba Artists on Parade Co-Operative LimitedSounds of Summer Camerata String Orchestra Tour Enhance the cultural vibrancy of the Snowy Valleys with performances by classical musicians at local venues in Tumut, Tumbarumba and Khancoban.Khancoban$13,400
Upper Murray Community Radio Inc.Training of Additional Volunteers for Operation of Community Radio -3 RUM (Tumbarumba site) Build community capacity training volunteers as operators at Tumbarumba Community Radio and increasing skills for local content broadcasting.Tumbarumba$6,000

Includes bushfire recovery funding

15 July 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) flagship grants program, Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC), is now inviting applications for grants of up to $10,000 through the Small & Vital stream, and up to $25,000 through the program’s new Bushfire Recovery stream.

Scenic Rim bushfires

Thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, the Small & Vital stream has $615,000 available this round to fund projects that support a broad range of initiatives that directly benefit rural, regional and remote communities across Australia.

A further $650,000 is available this round through the Bushfire Recovery stream to support the recovery of communities affected by last summer’s bushfires.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that rural, regional and remote communities play a vital role in Australia’s prosperity, and with the impacts and ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to keep funds flowing into regional areas.

“Strengthening Rural Communities Small & Vital grants offer flexible funding to any rural, regional or remote community across Australia to help them address local priorities. With COVID-19 affecting local businesses and local community fundraising, these grants are more important than ever to help communities seed and strengthen, adapt and evolve or innovate and renew.

“Having places and events where people can come together to improve community health and social wellbeing, or undertake activities that build community resilience and enhance the skills and capacity of the community, all helps to strengthen these communities – socially, mentally and economically,” Ms Egleton explained.

Funding to support medium to long-term bushfire recovery

The SRC program has been expanded to include a dedicated stream of funding to support medium to long-term recovery of bushfire-affected communities.

“We know from our experience supporting communities over the last 20 years that those affected by the bushfires have a long road ahead of them, and what is needed for their recovery will be different in every place. That’s why we have created the Bushfire Recovery stream within the SRC program,” said Ms Egleton.

“Local community groups in bushfire-affected areas can apply for the funding they need, whatever their priorities. It could be to help bring people together, even if that’s virtually in some cases, to share their experiences, reduce social isolation and increase community connectedness. Or the priority might be to boost the local economy through activities that increase cashflow in affected towns. In other places, the focus might be on repairing community infrastructure or ensuring communications equipment can cope if there’s a similar event in the future, so people feel safe and connected.”

Community not-for-profit groups and organisations that do not have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status are encouraged to apply for funding to help secure the future success of their community.

FRRR accepts SRC applications year-round, which are then reviewed at least three times per year. The next cut-off date for applications to be considered is 25 August 2020. Outcomes will be announced by late December 2020. Projects funded in this round must be undertaken between January 2021 and January 2022.

The SRC program and its Bushfire Recovery stream is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors. Please visit the SRC webpage to see the full list of donors.

9 July 2020: Sony Foundation Australia, together with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), have today announced two grants that will help young people affected by last summer’s bushfires.

The funding comes from the $200,000 donation that Sony Foundation Australia made to FRRR during the landmark Fire Fight Australia concert, held in Sydney in February.

The grants will support youth in Mallacoota, in Victoria’s Gippsland, and in Ulladulla, on the NSW South Coast, by helping them to establish a safe space where they can come together to share their experiences, support one another, and generally enhance their wellbeing and recovery from the bushfires.

Mallacoota Youth Group will use their $100,000 grant to fund the activities and operations of an emerging youth centre called The Sanctuary. This project will contribute to building the capacity, resilience, and wellbeing of the young people in Mallacoota. Led by the young people themselves, The Sanctuary will provide pathways for young people to access mentoring, social networks and resources in the community. The youth-led organisation has strong community support. It’s expected Mallacoota’s youth will use the space to study, play music, make art, play games, organise programs and events and run workshops.

The second project, which is led by the Ulladulla High School, will use a $80,000 grant to establish a Sanctuary of Wellbeing and Renewal, which will benefit the 1,200-strong student population, and their families. Sanctuary of Wellbeing and Renewal will provide a safe environment for positive initiatives that enhance student wellbeing to enable positive recovery and resilience.

Sophie Ryan, CEO of Sony Foundation Australia, said there are going to be many long-term effects caused by the bushfires that young Australians will be coping with for some time to come.

“About 1 in 4 young people can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder following a major crisis like the recent bushfires and sadly, in the midst of recovery, the specific needs of young people can be overlooked. At Sony Foundation, we are helping to fill this gap by funding programs which will improve the wellbeing of young people, helping them recover and heal.

“We are honoured to be able to partner with FRRR to support these two projects, both of which will create safe places where young people can engage in activities and encourage social networks to help heal and forge a positive path forward,” Ms Ryan said.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that there were many fabulous project ideas put forward, and reflects the devastating impact of the recent bushfires on young people, which has been exacerbated by the onset of COVID-19.

“It’s clear that young people are feeling the cumulative effects of disasters particularly deeply, as we had many really strong proposals to consider. These two grants will help put local youth in Mallacoota and Ulladulla more in control of their recovery and have access to the additional services they need. We are pleased to have been able to help Sony Foundation Australia get this funding to two communities where it will make a real difference,” Ms Egleton said.

Both FRRR and Sony Foundation Australia will continue to invest in the ongoing recovery of communities. To date, FRRR has distributed more than $1.5M in bushfire recovery, with applications currently open for further bushfire recovery grants.