Featured Grant: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal: Small Grants for Small Communities Program
This program offers not-for-profit community groups in regional and remote Australia the opportunity to access up to $5,000 in grants. In 2013–14 the Ross Trust committed another three years of funding to the program – taking the total funded since 2002 to $1,422,000.
This program recognises that small rural, remote and regional communities have a low capacity to raise funds due to their small population size and reduced opportunities for business sponsorship. They also often find it hard to access philanthropy and pro bono support.
The grants support projects delivering positive local education, environment, social welfare and community wellbeing, health, arts and culture outcomes in such communities. In doing so, they contribute to stronger, more resilient and more sustainable regions.
In 2014–15, the Program distributed its 25th and 26th bi-annual funding rounds. It received more than 300 applications from Victorian community groups. The Trust was able to support 37 projects, investing a total of $112,000. This was a significant contribution toward the total value of the projects supported, which was $608,567.
FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton, says that the Small Grants for Rural Communities program provides support that helps to create the change that communities aspire to achieve. “Small rural communities often find it very challenging to raise funds locally, but they have great ideas. They find all sorts of innovative ways to make their projects happen and this year, for every dollar contributed by the Trust, groups were able to leverage another five dollars towards their projects. We consistently see locally-developed projects achieve lasting outcomes, and each grant enables another community to achieve a solution to a pressing issue,” says Ms Egleton. “The collaboration within communities is particularly inspiring. It’s wonderful to see community groups coming together to support a project. Outcomes from the two most recent rounds have included increased social and economic capital, increased organisational capacity, increased community infrastructure, amenity and connectedness, as well as enhanced networks and community participation – helping to develop vibrant and adaptive communities.”
Featured Grant: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre: Building organisational sustainability
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) was established to provide relevant and appropriate support, skills, knowledge and resources to asylum seekers to support them to be independent engaged, proud and resilient future Australian citizens.
Since 2001, ASRC has operated as an independent not-for-profit organisation that protects and upholds the human rights, wellbeing and dignity of asylum seekers. Today, it addresses asylum seekers’ needs beyond the direct provision of aid and includes services such as education, training and employment support.
The Trust has approved grants to the ASRC totalling $1,320,000 since 2003 and in 2012, the Ross Trust continued its Collaboration with the ASRC for another three years to support it reach its organisational goals of:
- Increasing financial sustainability
- building organisational capacity,
- creating efficiencies in delivery by building and sector partnerships; and
- shifting the public conversation about asylum seekers to be based in facts and less in fear and xenophobia
The funding is being used to support key positions within the organisation including the employment of a volunteer manager, financial operations coordinator and financial administration positions. Funding also supports emergency material aid for asylum seekers.
An important development for the ASRC was the relocation of the organisation to new premises at 214-218 Nicholson Street Footscray. This new facility offers the capacity for higher quality service provision and potential for new developments to support their members.
Featured Grant: Bendigo Family & Financial Services Financial Management Program
In an effort to raise the levels of financial resilience and wellbeing among those most at risk of financial exclusion and disadvantage, Bendigo Family & Financial Services developed a Financial Management Program. This Program addressed the immediate needs of clients in times of financial crisis by educating participants on the improved use and management of money and debt consolidation and offered a no-interest loan scheme to assist participants get on top of their debts.
Twenty two people participated in the Financial Management Program, approximately eighty percent of the participants were on a Disability Support Pension or had complex issues including mental health issues. Participants attended meetings with a case manager once a fortnight for the first six months and then once a month thereafter and also attended a four week financial group education program. During the program, participants were also able to access support with food through the Bendigo Family and Financial Services Foodbank.
Participants reported that having their debts under control and managing day to day expenses had a profound impact on their quality of life and many reported that having their debts under control allowed them to actively participate in social and community activities and events.