Foundation seeks growth to help more country folk

Posted on 06 Mar 2024

By Matthew Schulz, journalist, SmartyGrants

Farm Tech
FRRR had more applications in the past year than any in its 23-year history.

Australia’s only foundation aimed at building the resilience of rural and regional communities has distributed a record $22.5 million in grants in the past financial year, but says it needs more donations to fully realise its mission.

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) – which concentrates its spending on smaller grants – distributed 1,158 grants to 972 organisations in 550 communities in the past year, according to its latest annual review.

Natalie Egleton
FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton

CEO Natalie Egleton said it had assessed more applications in 2023 than in any other year in its 23-year history, with 2,639 applicants seeking assistance, up 25% on the previous year.

More than a third of those grants (and half the spending at $11.1 million) went to communities directly affected by or vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

“What this signals is that life is getting back to 'normal' following covid, but it also highlights the ongoing challenges remote, rural and regional communities are facing when it comes to securing funding for local projects,” Ms Egleton said.

The foundation’s funds were largely fuelled by more than 1300 donations worth $25.4 million in 2023. Ms Egleton said FRRR would seek new partnerships with government, philanthropy, business and individuals to fund more grants in the coming year.

She said every grant dollar spent generated an additional $1.76 in value, “opening the door to further funding opportunities”.

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