Reflecting on 2013/14, I am very proud of the difference that FRRR has made in rural, regional and remote Australian communities, even when assessed against international benchmarks.
This year, with the support of the FRRR Board, Perpetual and the Pratt Foundation, I was fortunate to travel to the United States and Israel on a study tour, focused on philanthropy in rural communities. While there are clearly some areas where the US is doing it better than us, Australia has much to be proud of. We generally do rural development, disaster recovery and partnerships between philanthropy, business, government and community well.
While we often lament the fact that fewer urban Australian’s are connected to rural places via family relationships or friends, our society retains a strong emotional connection with ‘the bush’. This is an asset that we are fortunate to help nurture through our partnerships with the various donors and partners who have made a conscious decision to remain engaged and to support rural and regional communities and organisations, recognising they don’t have an alternative strong, local funding base. We appreciate your support.
At FRRR, our fundamental belief is that local people are best placed to determine what is needed in their communities, and to decide how those solutions are implemented. Our role is to support them - financially and by sharing our expertise and networks.
This year, we have continued to play a catalytic role, responding to community needs and donor interests. We can be nimble and respond quickly to emerging or evolving needs - something that we will continue to do, as we implement our new three year strategy.
I am very fortunate to lead a team with such a varied skillset and I thank them all for their dedication, enthusiasm, compassion and energy during the past year.
I acknowledge the support and guidance of our Board. They serve voluntarily, both in their roles as directors and as members of the assessment committees. I also acknowledge the other people who similarly give their time freely to share their expertise on our various programs. This advice is invaluable and ensures that we conduct a robust and fair assessment process.
FRRR is in many ways rural Australia’s best kept secret.
Every community I visit highlights a need, and we continue to receive more applications that we can fund. Internationally our model is envied. As a Foundation created on the principle of partnership, drawing on a unique tax status and leveraging specialised knowledge, we can only have an impact in rural, regional and remote communities with the help of our partners.
We strive to tell more philanthropists, corporates and governments our story - about the opportunities of partnering with FRRR to achieve positive impact and change. To increase the magnitude of our impact we are exploring new fundraising approaches, but I also ask you, as a community member, current partner, potential donor or rural advocate – please share our story, and help us support rural, regional and remote communities to prosper across Australia.
Chief Executive Officer