The Sydney Myer Fund has partnered with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) to build the capacity of local organisations playing a central, coordinating or networking role in the recovery of Victorian communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.
The Bushfire Recovery Fund will award grants of up to $90,000 to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations working in Victorian fire-affected regions. The program will fund initiatives that enhance, improve or sustain operations of these keystone organisations for up to three years, and therefore strengthen community-led recovery over the medium and long-term.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the partnership is a result of a shared vision for aligning funding and support to community-led solutions that build resilience and continued viability and vitality.
“FRRR and our generous donor partners HMSTrust and the Sidney Myer Fund have come together to help local groups to be more viable, resilient, and sustainable. The program is designed to help address organisational needs, and strengthen capacity to adapt and respond to the changing or emerging needs of communities.
“FRRR’s role will be to act as a facilitator, to encourage and support these community groups so that they can continue to do the work that is so important to the ongoing recovery of their communities,” Ms Egleton said.
HMSTrust Executive Officer Lin Bender said that the Trust believes the key program goal of building organisational capacity is critical to ensuring local groups can operate in what are challenging economic, emotional, and ecological conditions.
“By supporting applicants that are deeply engaged with their communities to sustain or adapt their model or way of working, we aim to ensure more viable, resilient and sustainable organisations that can support ongoing recovery efforts,” Lin said.
Sidney Myer Fund CEO Leonard Vary said the broader intent of the program is to inform disaster recovery best practice by understanding and addressing the needs of critical community ‘backbone’ organisations.
“The capacity to manage normal day-to-day operations along with the demands of recovery has been identified as a challenge for many organisations in bushfire-affected communities,” Mr Vary said. “By engaging directly with these organisations, we can facilitate and fund not only the development of locally relevant, multi-year projects that build capacity and resilience but potentially identify new approaches to long-term community recovery.”
To reduce the burden on potential applicants, a shortlist of organisations from declared fire affected areas in Victoria, identified through broad stakeholder consultation, will be invited to apply for funding. The first successful grantees are expected to be announced in October 2021. Organisations who consider this opportunity to be aligned to their situation should contact FRRR to discuss their needs.
More information about the Bushfire Recovery Fund can be found here.