A Community Foundation is an independent philanthropic organisation that facilitates partnerships between groups, makes grants to charitable projects and involves local people to address a wide variety of needs in its geographic area.
They seek to create permanent community resources in a specific area by developing and delivering place-based philanthropy. There are 36 Community Foundations operating across Australia, with the majority in rural and regional areas. The mapping tool on the Australian Community Philanthropy website, a project FRRR helped fund, highlights the locations of Community Foundations around the country and gives a snapshot of what they do. These groups are ideally placed to support local activities, and facilitate grass-roots philanthropy because there are many people who choose to ‘give where they live'.
FRRR actively supports a number of Community Foundations, from funding initial feasibility studies; to providing support while they get up and running and become sustainable; providing travel and registration subsidies for the annual National Community Foundations Forum; and hosting donation accounts to help local fundraising efforts.
Investing in Community Foundation capacity and capability is a focus for FRRR. In fact, without our key partnership with Community Foundations, the successful delivery of our Back to School program would not be possible.
Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation
One group that FRRR has supported is the Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation (EPCF). It was created in 2004 to support proactive contributions for the long-term benefit of the Eyre Peninsula region in South Australia.
EPCF received community foundation funding grants from FRRR in their start-up phase, which helped them establish the foundation and put in place governance arrangements, before the board commenced in 2009.
EPCF are focused on supporting projects that will deliver long-term benefits for the Eyre Peninsula region, reaching as many demographics in the community as possible, and visitors too. The Foundation now runs its own grants program that has supported activities like promoting local careers to high school students and building permanent exercise equipment on the foreshore for everyone to enjoy.
They have undertaken a number of projects, which demonstrate the breadth of their activities and connections across the community:
- Charity House – in 2012, more than 40 local businesses, including materials suppliers, service providers and individual tradesmen donated their time, materials and money to build a house that was then auctioned. The money raised funded the Foundation’s corpus and enabled them to commence their grants program.
- Grant program – EPCF has established a grant program to support local charitable organisations, community groups and proactive and visionary individuals to make a real difference to the development of the community and to provide better services in the future.
- Home Hospice Fund – EPCF developed the Eyre Peninsula Home Hospice Association to raise funds and establish the first seven day a week, overnight home service for people approaching or reaching the end of life in the Eyre Peninsula region. In a joint venture with a local service provider, they are overseeing a 12 month trial of this much needed service in their community.
- Partnership with BP Australia – established a three year agreement with BP Australia to manage $15,000 in funding provided by BP each year, as part of their community investment program. This has been used to fund two community vehicle services; travel for the Far West Football League’s players and officials to participate in the Mortlock Shield Football Carnival; and community group volunteer reimbursement for use of their own vehicles.
- Back to School vouchers – the Foundation has worked with FRRR since 2010 to distribute Back to School vouchers to schools in the region. Students and families who need assistance are given vouchers to help them get ready for the new school year, allowing them to purchase school necessities like uniforms and stationery. In 2013/14, EPCF distributed 200 vouchers across 26 schools in their region.
- Book Bazaar – the second hand book shop has excelled since its six month trial in 2013. Gaining discounted rent for the shop and donated fittings, the shop was stocked with books from local charities who now funnel all their book donations through to the Book Bazaar. Turning over $60,000 in its first year and on track to do the same again, the funds raised are split equally between the Home Hospice Fund and EPCF. The shop’s success comes down to the passion and commitment of its 60 dedicated volunteers, creating a real sense of pride within the community and a place to visit for locals and visitors alike.