Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

15 April 2020: Westpac Foundation today announced a new $500,000 partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), expanding its Community Grant program in rural, regional, and remote areas across Australia.

Westpac Foundation’s Community Grant program, established in 2012, provides $10,000 grants to local organisations creating opportunities through education, training and employment across Australia. Not-for-profit organisations providing support to communities outside a major city are now invited to apply.  

“We believe education, training and job opportunities are a powerful pathway out of disadvantage,” said Westpac Foundation CEO Susan Bannigan. “By partnering with the FRRR, we hope to provide more support for local organisations creating opportunities for people who need it most in rural Australian communities.”

Established in 2000, FRRR has distributed nearly $100 million to more than 10,000 projects across rural, regional and remote Australian communities.

“Proportionally, there are higher rates of socioeconomic disadvantage in rural and remote Australia compared to capital cities and metropolitan areas. That’s exacerbated when there’s drought and fires – and now COVID-19 is making life even more challenging,” said FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton. 

“The Westpac Foundation Rural Community Grants program in partnership with the FRRR is intended to help not-for-profits creating pathways to employment to respond to these challenges. When people are upskilled or have access to further education and training, they are more likely to have better health outcomes and be more connected socially, which goes a long way to developing vibrant, sustainable communities,” Ms Egleton continued.

Western Australian not-for-profit Camera Story, a previous Westpac Foundation Community Grant recipient, provides photography workshops to Indigenous Australian women living in the Kimberley region of WA.

“We facilitate vocational training in Derby, Mowanjum and Pandanus Park communities, which is over 2,000km north of Perth and two hours from the nearest regional centre of Broome,” said Camera Story Co-Founder Jacqueline Warrick.

“The physical remoteness of communities we work with means that access to basic services is limited, and opportunities for training and employment are few. Our Community Grant funding enabled Camera Story to work with women in Derby and surrounding communities to upskill them in creative and commercial photography and open up a potential future revenue stream for them and their family.” 

In addition to the funding, Community Grant recipients will have access to pro bono support via the Westpac Changemaker program, which includes access to leadership development programs, legal support and financial capability training.

“We have learned that we have much greater impact when we connect our community partners to passionate Westpac employee volunteers. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to support our partners beyond our funding and we’re delighted to further extend our pro bono offering to all corners of the country,” Ms Bannigan said.   

Applications for Westpac Foundation’s Rural Community Grants in partnership with the FRRR are open Wednesday 15 April 2020 – Wednesday 13 May 2020. Not-for-profit organisations can apply via the FRRR application gateway.