Bower Progress Association
Donation accounts are a service provided by FRRR to help community organisations fundraise more effectively.
In essence, FRRR lends its ability to receive tax deductible donations to community organisations that don't have the necessary tax status. DGR status, as it is known, is a great incentive to those willing to donate, and therefore it helps communities fundraise more quickly.
In 2012/13, just over $1.7 million was donated to groups holding Donation Accounts with FRRR from individuals and private trusts, foundations and corporations.
FRRR offers three types of donation accounts:
- Project Donation Account - to raise funds for a specific project. Over the years, Project Donation Accounts have helped many groups in rural and regional Australia complete large and daunting projects - such as the development of the Bower Hall, which is profiled below.
- Regional Donation Account - suitable for Community Foundations or community organisations without a tax deductible public ancillary fund, to raise funds for a particular region. Regional Donation accounts foster community investment in a host of different elements, as in the case of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, which is using the funds for flood-recovery.
- Small Grants Program Donation Account - to raise funds for small grants program. One of the most successful examples of this is the Lachlan Region Community grants program. FRRR hosts a Donation Account and is also involved in helping to assess the grants, lending our expertise in best practice.
Plans flourish for community facility
Bower is a small but energetic community of 150 residents between Eudunda and Morgan in South Australia. The Bower Progress Association boasts more than 60 members from all walks of life. There is equal representation of males and females on its Management Committee and strong grass roots support. They organise many highly valued events and activities for the community, including a music group for isolated and ‘at risk’ persons and Yack ’n’ Snack – connecting lonely, elderly and disabled people in the community.
However, these activities could not take place without a venue, and the Bower Hall (the only community centre for 28 km - in any direction!) is the focal point for the group’s major ongoing project.
The Progress Association is making great use of an FRRR Donation Account to enhance this vital community facility. They opened a Project Donation Account in 2008 to raise funds for a photovoltaic solar power system, which they now own. Since then, they have also painted the walls, replaced furniture, widened doorways for easier elderly and disabled access, installed an all-weather BBQ area, playground and storage shed. New rainwater tanks were also acquired – essential equipment in an area that has an average yearly rainfall of 200–250 mm/y.
A little infrastructure addressed another problem - the neighbouring property houses commercial dog breeding kennels, and a new fence has brought tranquility to both the neighbour and the users of the Hall and Reserve, and put volunteers and campers who use the site at ease.
In an effort to elevate the Association’s income and address a gap in services in the community, they acquired the Bower Postal Agency, which they began operating on 27 May, 2013. The Management Committee says it is providing a very popular, useful and extended service to the community. Volunteers operate the agency and moreover, the Association will receive a small but stable income of $2,500 from Australia Post for providing the service, funds that will be essential to the Association’s viability.
There is still plenty more to do, with plans to purchase a ride-on mower, develop shaded petanque areas and external lighting, install entrance gates, tile the toilet walls, erect a new flagpole and memorial and prepare sites with purpose-specific amenities for caravans, motor-homes and campers who stay on the reserve. However, this project appears to be full steam ahead, and shows what big change a small community can achieve with a little help.