Community groups in small dairy communities across Gippsland, South-West and Northern Victoria can now apply for Gardiner Foundation Community Grants up to $5,000 to strengthen and build capacity in their dairying region.

Over the last 22 years, FRRR and Gardiner Foundation have granted more than $2.2 million to 560 projects that have helped these farming communities to be more connected, sustainable, and vibrant places to live and work.

This year, the Gardiner Foundation Community Grants Program is offering grants totalling $120,000 to not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) for a broad range of projects that help their dairying communities to thrive.

Allan Cameron, Gardiner Foundation CEO, said that the Foundation is committed to continuing to invest in the local groups that are working to enhance the liveability of small Victorian towns reliant on the dairy industry.

“We know that year in, year out, community volunteers are committed to the work of local community groups which meet local challenges and create opportunities to strengthen the fabric of their communities.” Mr Cameron said.

Historically, the community grants have funded a diverse range of projects, including initiatives that support education and training, health and social wellbeing or the amenity of a public setting.

Last year’s Community Grants Program provides some examples of the range of initiatives that are funded. In Leongatha, the local Men’s Shed, which hosts a range of community groups, including the local choir, received funds for an air conditioner. In Gellibrand, the local Hall Committee received a grant to buy new chairs to improve the amenity and safety of the community’s meeting space. Warrnambool College and Grasmere Primary School received a grant to establish an Indigenous sensory garden, which has provided students with hands on experience to enhance their educational outcomes.

“I look forward to seeing the impact that is delivered from this year’s grants,” Mr Cameron said.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said it’s wonderful to have partners, like Gardiner Foundation, that understand the impact that small grants can have on rural places.

“We know from past recipients that these grants have enabled communities to achieve more than they would otherwise. Groups also tell us how it can often be a catalyst for further funding. This reaffirms the importance of this program, and it shows that with just a small amount of seed funding, communities can build resilience and thrive.

“I encourage community groups to take advantage of these grants and consider how they can leverage the funds, so that they have the capacity to inspire, engage and strengthen their dairy communities,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications for the Gardiner Foundation Community Grants Program close 21 March 2024 at 5 pm AEDT.

An online grantseeker workshop will be held Monday, 19 February 2024 from 2-3pm AEDT.

More information about the grants or to register for the grantseeker workshop, visit the FRRR website.