The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program is now open.

The program offers grants of up to $5,000 to not-for-profit community groups to go toward projects that improve infrastructure and address local issues to strengthen the small rural communities that underpin Victoria’s dairy industry.

This is the fifteenth year of the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program, which is funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation and administered by FRRR. A total of $100,000 is available to be shared across all three Victorian Dairy Regions: Gippsland, Northern Victoria and South West Victoria.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and FRRR share a belief that a healthy industry is only possible if the rural communities underpinning dairy production are also strong. The small grants program aims to fund grass-roots community projects that strengthen small dairy communities, build their capacity to deal with local issues and enhance community infrastructure.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Mary Harney, said the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program helps to positively impact the people and businesses in the communities surrounding successful applicants.

“We are committed to supporting dairy communities to bolster a strong, vibrant future for the industry. We are proud that the program has contributed $1.5 million towards nearly 400 projects across the Victorian dairy community over the past 15 years.

“Last year, the grant recipients raised 2.6 times the funding they received from Gardiner as additional cash and in-kind support for their projects. This reaffirms the value of these small grants and it shows that with just a small amount of seed funding, communities are able to achieve amazing things,” said Ms Harney.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the program is very broad, which provides a rare opportunity for local communities to focus on the issues most important to them.

“The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program recognises that it’s the little things that promote a sense of community; from projects that encourage wellbeing and interaction, to improved education resources such as new books for the local kindergarten. We know that these small cash injections can be the catalyst that enables community groups to achieve projects of impressive scope, often well beyond the original expectation,” said Ms Egleton.

Not-for-profit community groups with an ABN or Incorporation Certificate that operate in dairy regions are strongly encouraged to apply, and should consider using the Strengthening Small Dairy Communities Toolkit developed by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. This useful resource is full of practical tips, techniques, templates and further sources of information and is available on the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s website.

Groups are also encouraged to attend one of three free grant-seeking workshops that will be run in dairy communities:

  • Tatura –  Monday 6 February, from 12.30pm-3pm, in the Ballantyne Centre, 9 Hastie St, Tatura.
  • Camperdown – Wednesday 8 February, from 10am-1pm, at the Camperdown Football and Netball Club,
    Leura Oval, Adeney St, Camperdown.
  • Wonthaggi – Thursday 16 February, from 12.30- 2.30, at Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre,
    96 Graham Street, Wonthaggi.

To book a place at one of these workshops, email

Applicants should visit or contact FRRR on 1800 170 020 for more information and to apply. Applications close 5pm, Friday 17 March 2017.