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Call for Collaboration in Disaster Relief

22 October 2013 at 3:37 pm
Staff Reporter
The Australian philanthropic sector has been urged to collaborate in providing natural disaster support and to consider the longer-term recovery of affected communities.

Staff Reporter | 22 October 2013 at 3:37 pm


Call for Collaboration in Disaster Relief
22 October 2013 at 3:37 pm

The Australian philanthropic sector has been urged to collaborate in providing natural disaster support and to consider the longer-term recovery of affected communities.

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) says the philanthropic sector needs to collaborate to ensure a coordinated response to the unfolding NSW bushfire emergency.

FRRR’s CEO Alexandra Gartmann is also asking the sector to consider supporting both the immediate need and medium to long-term recovery.

Gartmann said the Foundation focuses specifically on the medium to long-term recovery of these rural and regional communities because it is a known gap.

“Right now, groups like the Salvation Army and Red Cross are working closely with the State and Federal Government to support the people in the affected areas as the disaster unfolds. They are doing an amazing job and they will remain involved for many months to come, providing critical post-event support,” Gartmann said.

As well, the national service organisation Rotary has established an alliance with the Salvation Army to collect donations to be used for the relief effort through their NSW Bushfire Appeal.

“A time will come however when they have to help another disaster-affected community. The previously affected communities will still need assistance.

“Our aim is to ensure those communities get the support they need, with as little red tape as possible,” she said.

Gartmann is inviting philanthropic organisations to work together and reduce the complexity for communities seeking support.

“FRRR is inviting collaborations to work under a single philanthropic banner to support the medium to long-term recovery of the Blue Mountains, and other areas that may be affected as the disaster unfolds.

“By working together, we can avoid duplication of philanthropic effort and resources and reduce stress for impacted communities," Gartmann said.

FRRR has set up the 2013 NSW Fires Repair-Restore-Renew (RRR) Fund.

“This is a multi-donor, collaborative program that provides grants to communities. This proven program delivers the support that communities need for medium term recovery, when they need it.

“Grants will start being distributed this time next year, once communities have had time to take stock of the situation and have dealt with more immediate individual challenges. The program will support a diverse range of projects including minor infrastructure, arts programs, mental health, volunteer fatigue, training, leadership, resilience, communication and mitigation.

“From FRRR’s experience in other disaster affected areas, gaps emerge 12-18 months after the initial event and that’s when additional support is needed,” Gartmann said.

The Foundation is also hosting a number of Donation Accounts that people can contribute to, such as Blaze Aid’s account to support fencing repairs and an account established by Rotary International District 9800.

“These accounts allow philanthropic bodies, corporates, organisations or communities to give to a specific community or region or for a specific purpose. They attract FRRR’s DGR status, meaning that donations to these accounts are tax deductible.

“Communities that receive offers of support can also create a Donation Account to help manage contributions, and use the funds when timing is appropriate. Accounts can also be set up to support specific geographies, if Foundations, Trusts or Corporations want to direct funds to support particular areas.”

For organisations keen to have a more immediate impact, FRRR is also accepting contributions to three grant programs:

1. Back To School: This program provides $50 vouchers, which are redeemable at Target Country or selected local retailers, specifically for clothes, books and other equipment necessary to start school. With so many people losing their homes, this will be a particularly relevant program. Vouchers will be distributed at the start of the 2014 school year.

2. REAPing Rewards: This program funds locally-driven projects and programs that directly benefit early childhood, primary or secondary children, and their educators, in rural communities. Funds could be contributed for distribution early next year, as this program runs twice a year.

3. Small Grants for Rural Communities, which opens 30 January, 2014: This is FRRR’s broadest program, as it funds everything from building repairs, to communications equipment, arts programs and community events. Again, funds can be set aside for use in particular areas or types of projects.

FRRR may also provide a clearing-house service, working with other donors to leverage investment, and ensure support goes to the areas of greatest need.

Together with John T Reid Charitbale Trusts, FRRR is co-hosting an event in Melbourne this week to explore the creation of a permanent natural disaster fund, so that in the future Australians are better prepared to support natural-disaster affected communities.

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) was established in 2000 to support the renewal of rural and regional communities in Australia through partnerships with the private sector, philanthropy and governments. Since its inception, FRRR has managed the distribution of more than $35 million in grants and provided substantial capacity building support to community organisations across the nation.


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