Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) is encouraging community groups in regions affected by the 2019-20 bushfires to apply for recovery funding, with more than $380,000 in grants available thanks to News Corp’s generous support.

The News Corp Bushfire Fund supports a wide range of recovery projects in impacted areas across New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland and the ACT. Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) and community groups are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $25,000 for projects designed to seed recovery.

Since April 2020, the Fund has awarded more than $1.1 million in grants to regions working hard to recover from the Black Summer bushfires. This final round of grants will see News Corp’s contribution total $1.5 million. So far the Fund has supported 61 recovery projects that have helped to address a spectrum of needs as affected communities work to unite, rebuild and recover.

Sarah Matthee, FRRR’s Acting CEO, said that recovery looks different for every community that experienced the Black Summer bushfires.

“Rural communities are incredibly resilient. Each place has unique needs and priorities when it comes to recovery. Working with partners like News Corp, who understand that supporting recovery is not a one-size-fits-all solution, means that we can get funds out for projects that respond to the needs identified by each community – projects that are important for them, as and when they are ready.

“For example, Buxton Primary School students returned to school to find the play equipment had been destroyed. But with a $25,000 News Corp Bushfire Fund grant the school was able to install an eco-friendly playground that has been a hit with the kids. The playground gives them and their families a fun-filled place to play and a safe space to talk about their experiences of the fires and their own recovery,” Ms Matthee explained.

News Corp Australia’s community ambassador Penny Fowler said it has been a humbling experience to be a part of the recovery process for these communities.

“The program objectives are far reaching, meaning the grants can go towards a wide range of recovery activities. We are proud to have already funded so many initiatives that are now actively helping those working in recovery to deliver outcomes today and in years to come. We look forward to the next round of projects,” Mrs Fowler said. Applications for the News Corp Bushfire Fund grants are now open and community groups in Local Government Areas with a bushfire disaster declaration from September 2019 to April 2020 are invited to apply. The round will close 17 February, with funds expected to be awarded in March.

Funding for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday fires

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded nearly $725,000 in grants to support 31 projects that will help communities impacted by the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires continue to rebuild, reconnect and recover.

Supported by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), these grants are funded through three grant programs – Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W), GR&W Kinglake Ranges and the final round of Community Group Futures (CGF).

The VBAF funding comes from the generous contributions by the general public following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. More than a decade on from Black Saturday, FRRR has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to local groups through these programs.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness

The GR&W program is tailored to support community-led projects that focus on strengthening and building the resilience of those places impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Now in its nineth year, this round of GR&W sees $233,089 in grants awarded to 15 community groups. The funded projects will support and improve the wellbeing, resilience and mental health of community members, help people keep coming together, and help build community capacity and preparedness for future disasters.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that this round, there were many communities wanting funding for projects that help people connect and also retain their sense of place and community identity.

“Many communities reach a stage in their long-term recovery where reconnecting with place, the environment, and community becomes an important part of the healing process,” explained Ms O’Brien.

“Rediscovering and rebuilding these connections can happen in many different and meaningful ways, and this round of GR&W is a perfect example of that. For some communities, it involves improving community meeting places and venues for activities. Others are using arts and cultural projects to both increase community connectedness and grow community identity and awareness of local history. Other places are helping their community to connect through events and activities like concerts and walking trails.

“Recovery takes time and the process is different for every place, so it’s important that we listen to communities and their local leaders and let them decide what priorities need to be addressed, as things evolve,” Ms O’Brien said.

Some of the projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:

  • Buxton Primary School, Buxton – Buxton Bush Tucker Trail – $15,000 – Enhance curriculum through delivery of an innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
  • Yarra Valley ECOSS, Wesburn – Crops for Community to Market – $20,000 – Build a vibrant resilient local food economy through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges

The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program gives community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges the opportunity to work together and increase local capacity to get initiatives off the ground. This round, $461,993 has been awarded to 14 projects in the region.

A great example of the collaborative and innovative local thinking is Bees for the House, which will increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.

Among the other GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:

  • Flowerdale Community House, Flowerdale – Flowerdale Playgroup Program – $26,250 – Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
  • Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre, Kinglake – Indigenous Sensory Bush Tucker Garden with Community Mural – $17,530 – Increase cultural and environmental learning through establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural at a newly developed bush tucker garden.

The next rounds of GR&W and GR&W Kinglake Ranges open early March 2021 and close April 2021. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are now invited from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

Community Group Futures

The CGF program focuses on not-for-profit groups in communities impacted by Black Saturday. It was designed to provide them with the tools to create strong and lasting improvements within their organisation. This is the final round of the CGF program, with $898,237 granted across ten rounds.

Some $29,483 has been awarded to two projects to support the Yackandandah Fire Station and the Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room. The funds will increase their capacity through the purchase of equipment and by funding professional administrative support.

Ms O’Brien said that more than a decade on, these community organisations continue to experience operational and service delivery challenges due to the 2009 bushfires.

“For these community groups, they have had to face the challenge of managing their own recovery while also continuing to provide support and services the people in their communities. The CGF program has supported these organisations to look ahead to the future and implement longer term climate resilience initiatives that will help them achieve their aspirations,” said Ms O’Brien.

“For some community groups, these goals have included greater organisational capabilities, for others it’s been about long-term viability and sustainability, while others looked for ways to improve cost efficiencies for community infrastructure.

“The CGF grants have helped strengthen and sustain these community groups so that they can continue to do what they do best and support their community,” Ms O’Brien explained.

The final projects funded through the CGF program are:

  • Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Yackandandah – Yackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply – $9,983 – Increase the capacity of the organisation to reduce costs and remain available during emergencies through the purchase of a generator that will enhance the Fire Station’s new battery and solar system’s capacity.
  • Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room Indigo Shire Council, Stanley – Prepare and Protect – $19,500 –Increase organisational capacity by employing professional support to catalogue and preserve Stanley Historical Space’s significant local collection. The project will include training that will leave a legacy in the organisation.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationAwarded
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE AND WELLNESS
Alexandra Football & Netball Club IncReserve Development
Enhance facilities that support community connectedness and fitness, via upgrade of power supply for new community hub at Alexandra Football & Netball Club
Alexandra$15,000
Art Resource Collective IncPottery and Print Equipment Fund
Increase access to the arts, and local connectedness through, upgrade of ceramics equipment and infrastructure for community arts group
Yinnar$18,997
Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade
Country Fire Authority – Head office
Spreading the Knowledge-Bushfire Education Program 2020
Build community resilience, through development of resources to deliver local CFA bushfire awareness program across five schools impacted by the 2009 bushfires.
Strathewen$20,000
Bruarong Community CentreProtecting and Sharing – Developing the Bruarong Collection Research Resource
Preserve and protect the community’s heritage, through uploading and cataloguing images, objects, and documents.
Bruarong$18,500
Buxton Primary SchoolBuxton Bush Tucker Trail
Enhanced curriculum through, delivery of innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
Buxton$15,000
‘Honour the Taungurung’ Community Project Group
Yea Community Service Group Inc
Honour the Taungurung
Work towards reconciliation and acknowledgement of traditional owners through creation of a community meeting place featuring Taungurung designed artwork celebrating local Indigenous culture.
Yea$28,734
Kilmore District Men’s Shed IncSolar Power
Enhance sustainability of local Men’s Shed, through the installation of solar panels.
Kilmore$8,960
Kilmore District Men’s Shed Inc  Plastering
Enhance sustainability of local group, through the completion to construction of a local Men’s Shed
Kilmore$6,054
Marysville Community Action Team
Murrindindi Cycle Club
Feasibility Study for more cycling options in the Marysville Area to increase tourism
Explore potential for ecotourism development and rejuvenation of community’s economy by extending visitor season with feasibility study into Cycle Trails
Marysville$14,000
More Murals
Rubicon Forest Protection Group Inc
Life of a Leaf: Notes from the Forest
Enhance creative development and recovery, through creation of a 16-track compilation CD reflecting on the Black Saturday fires
Marysville Buxton Taggerty$15,200
Rotary Club of AlexandraMusic in the Park Increase local connection and enhance culture, through supporting the delivery of community music event.Alexandra$5,450
St Matthew’s Church
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc
Hope…It Grows! Renewal
Increase community access and renew facilities, through upgrade to community garden and space.
Long Gully$15,300
Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group IncProvide Seating along the Say G’Day trail at Wandong
Enhance local walking trail and increase accessibility for residents with different abilities, through installation of seating areas.
Wandong$6,695
Whittlesea Men’s Shed IncDust Extraction and Air Filtration System
Improve the health and well-being of community participants, by upgrading the air filtration system in the wood working workshop.
Whittlesea$20,000
Yarra Valley Ecoss IncCrops for Community to Market
Build vibrant resilient local food economy, through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Wesburn$20,000
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE AND WELLNESS – KINGLAKE RANGES
Flowerdale Community House IncFlowerdale Playgroup Program
Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
Flowerdale$26,250
Kinglake Football Netball ClubCommunity coming together with healthy mind and body
Increase local connectedness and reduce social isolation, through delivery of a family focused event at local Sports ground.
Kinglake$3,530
Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre IncIndigenous Sensory Bush tucker Garden with Community Mural
Increase cultural and environmental learning through, establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural, at a newly developed bush tucker garden.
Kinglake$17,530
Buzz of the Bees
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc  
Bees for the House
Increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.
Kinglake$7,508
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncDindi Collective: Supporting Organisational Capacity of Neighbourhood & Community Houses across Murrindindi
Increase capacity and collaboration between seven Community Houses in Murrindindi Shire, though establishment of a supportive Network and delivery of professional development.
Kinglake$64,173
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncKinglake Ranges Fund – Community Grant Development Officer
Increase local capacity to develop community projects and apply for grant funds, through employment of a Community Grants Officer.
Kinglake$41,941
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncMakerspace Mates
Increase opportunities to support connection, reduce isolation, and learn about new interests, through the delivery of free, no skill needed, creative workshops.
Kinglake$19,763
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncThe Matanya Effect – Healing with Horses – Skills for a Calmer Life
Increase access to locally based support for mental health, through the delivery of equine assisted learning to residents of the Kinglake Ranges.
Kinglake$17,700
Kinglake Trust Reserve IncEllimatta Centre Periodic Maintenance Project
Increase access to spaces where the community connect, through preservation and maintenance of community hub at Kinglake Trust Reserve.
Kinglake$25,850
Kinglake Historical Society
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute Hall and Reserves Committee Inc
Strengthening Community Understanding of Kinglake’s Heritage
Increase space and resources for Historical displays and research, through expansion to Kinglake Historical Society and purchase of additional equipment.
Kinglake$162,334
Middle Kinglake Primary SchoolProviding Opportunities for Positive Social Interaction
Increase use of outdoor areas at Middle Kinglake Primary School for learning and socialising, through purchase of outdoor cushions and beanbags.
Kinglake Central$1,000
Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges IncRotary and Lions Storage Facility
Reduce volunteer fatigue and increase local capacity, through the installation of a centrally located storage shed for community equipment.
Kinglake$39,910
Toolangi-Castella Local History Action Plan Working Group
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi-Castella Local history Action Plan
Increase local connectedness to culture and heritage, through development of an oral history and photographic display, and website for Toolangi-Castella.
Toolangi$14,742
Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi Tennis Court and Surrounds Re-development
Enhance local meeting space and increase safety, through upgrade of pathways, retaining walls, and landscaping at Toolangi Tennis Court reserve
Toolangi$19,762
COMMUNITY GROUP FUTURES
Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room
Indigo Shire Council
Prepare and Protect
Increase awareness of local historical collections significance, and protect it from future disasters, through engaging a Collection Management Consultant.
Stanley$19,500
Totally Renewable Yackandandah IncYackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply
Increase local resilience and preparedness through installation of a generator at the Yackandandah Fire Station.
Yackandandah$9,983

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

OrganisationProjectLocationAwarded
NEW SOUTH WALES
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.
Bermagui$10,235
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.
Diehard$25,000
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. 
Moruya$25,000
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.
Utungun$8,500
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.  
Moruya$6,394
Tomakin Sports & Social ClubSolar Battery System
Build community resilience with the supply and installation of a solar battery system to guarantee power in emergencies.
Tomakin$16,000
QUEENSLAND
4 Aussie Heroes Foundation Limited“Triumph Over Trauma”
Support individual wellbeing of first responders with programs to address trauma from bushfire fighting experience.
Boonah$23,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
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
VICTORIA
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. 
Bairnsdale$25,000
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. 
Benambra$7,787
Buchan Mechanics Institute and Free Library ReserveHall Re-Stumping and Upgrade Kitchen Facilities
Build community resilience with infrastructure improvements to enable group gatherings.
Buchan$22,042
Buchan Recreation ReserveFire Pumps for Community Safety
Build community resilience with new equipment to increase safety and disaster preparedness.
Buchan$22,220
Cassilis Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementFire Ready Project
Improve community infrastructure for disaster preparedness with a large tank to improve access to water.
Cassilis$5,830
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.
Lucyvale$20,600
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.
Corryong$25,000
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.

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.

schoolbag

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

Organisation

Project & Summary

Location

Grant

NEW SOUTH WALES

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.

Merimbula

$20,683

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.  

Wonboyn

$23,680

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.

Kandos

$14,145

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

$25,000

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. 

Glenreagh

$3,390

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.

Bermagui

$25,000

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.

Tomerong

$25,000

VICTORIA

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.

Wodonga

$17,148

Buxton Volunteer Fire Brigade

RFS Memorial – Telopea Park – Buxton

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

Buxton

$16,600

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.

Biggara

$24,240

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. 

Corryong

$25,000

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.

Bairnsdale

$22,000

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

$22,004

QUEENSLAND

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.  

Beechmont

$25,000

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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. 

Kingscote

$25,000

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

$25,000

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.

Parndana

$15,000

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)

$25,000

SAVEM Inc

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.

Onkaparinga

$21,050

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

$10,219

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.”

  • Celebrating 20 years at FRRR
  • An update from the CEO, including the approval of over 300 grants valued at $6M
  • Bushfire donations making a difference
  • Insights from the bush
  • Donor Spotlight: R.M.Williams
  • Partnering opportunities
    • Strengthening Rural Communities program
    • Picture You in Agriculture

$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.