Inspiring Rural Communities—new grants announced

Media Release


24 June 2015

Joint release with:

Alexandra Gartmann

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
Chief Executive Officer

Successful applicants from the 2015 Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) grants programme were announced today.

The programme, developed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and made possible with a $500,000 grant from the Australian Government, fosters community leadership development in regional and remote areas.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the leadership investment under the CIRCLE programme is vital for realising the prospects of regional communities.

“Investing in rural leadership is critical if we are to realise the vision of vibrant rural communities and industries in Australia,” Mr Truss said.

“Capable local leaders will ensure that local communities have the skills to tackle relevant issues effectively, with good planning and execution.

“I congratulate all the successful applicants on their high quality proposals that will make a positive difference to their communities.

“I am delighted to be supporting this programme because it directly improves the reach and accessibility of leadership development programs across the country, including through more online and virtual training.

“Travel costs are often a barrier to participation and this online approach helps to overcome the tyranny of distance that many rural communities face.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Alexandra Gartmann, said this practical support would make a lasting impact in these communities.

“With strong leadership and well-functioning local community organisations, including philanthropic Community Foundations, communities have greater capacity to turn challenges into opportunities,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Additional training opportunities and alumni programs, as well as investment in IT equipment, governance training and strategic planning support for community organisations will help create capacity and build stronger, more vibrant communities.

The 20 successful grant recipients include funding for:

  • The South West Women's Health and Information Centre in Bunbury, WA which will use the funds to give women in bushfire prone areas new skills in leadership, decision making, technology and natural disaster preparedness and recovery. Development training sessions will be held with local community groups in Nannup, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Donnybrook, Manjimup and Pemberton. Follow-up individual coaching will consolidate group learning.
  • The National Rural Women's Coalition Limited which will trial existing technology to overcome the barrier of distance to leadership training and development. This project will work with the Office of Women's Policy (Darwin), to target and train potential leaders in the Northern Territory.
  • The Tasmanian Leaders Inc which will support participants of previous leadership programs with a series of webinars and residential programmes. These will enable the graduates to have direct input into Government policy and planning and to support a 10th anniversary celebration of alumni from previous programs.
  • The Ag Excellence Alliance Inc in South Australia seeks to reduce barriers to participation in leadership training for emerging community leaders, particularly regional South Australian women in agriculture. This project will involve building a sustainable network of peer-to-peer support for female rural leaders through an online mentoring / leadership model and interactive learning activities.

A full list of the successful grant applicants can be found in Attachment A in the PDF attached or online at:  

For more information about the CIRCLE programme, visit:

Attachment A

Red Earth Community Foundation South Burnett Ltd Sowing Seeds for the Future
Enhanced operational capacity and effectiveness, and strengthened leadership networks, through development of program database, Alumni program and impact evaluation
South Burnett, QLD $16,200
Vision 21—Advancing Rural Initiatives Association Inc Leadership Development for Western Queensland
Strengthened leadership skills and networks through delivery of community leadership taster program and Alumni networking workshop
Western QLD $25,000
Committee for Wagga Inc Wagga Wagga School Leaders Program
Increased youth leadership capacity via delivery of a School Leaders Program
Wagga Wagga, NSW $15,200
Kyogle Council Building Leadership Kyogle
Increased leadership capacity through development and delivery of community leadership program, incorporating local project leadership work
Kyogle, NSW $18,657
Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc—Loganholme Office Elevate Her—Supporting Women in the Mid-Murray Region
Increased women's participation in community leadership activity via delivery of a grassroots leadership program, including webinars and mentoring circles
Swan Hill Region, VIC $24,840
Goulburn Murray Community Leadership Program Inc Target 500; Engaging the Goulburn Murray's Community Leadership Graduates into the Future
Increased Alumni engagement through creation of Alumni database and program evaluation
Goulburn Murray Region, VIC $15,000
Regional Arts Victoria The Creative Leadership Alumni Program
Strengthened youth arts leadership through intensive leadership development and mentoring program that also connects participants with Victorian Community Leadership Programs
Rural, regional and remote VIC $10,000
Tasmanian Leaders Inc Tasmanian Leaders Alumin Thinkband Investments
Strengthened Alumni program through the development of webinars, facilitated discussion delivery, leadership forum and ten year anniversary celebration
Rural, regional and remote TAS $23,858
Ag Excellence Alliance Inc On line Mentoring Program for Regional, Rural and Remote Women in Agriculture
Increased support for emerging local leaders through web based leadership and mentoring training program
Rural, regional and remote SA $25,000
Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Inc Limestone Coast Economic Diversification Regional Leadership Development Project
Development of effective regional leadership program model through feasibility study delivery
Limestone Coast Region, SA $15,000
South West Women's Health & Information Centre Leadership skills for women—for natural disasters and in the general community
Increased self-esteem, leadership skills and resilience for women in six small communities via leadership workshops and mentoring
Nannup, Donnybrook, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Manjimup, Capel
National Rural Women's Coalition Ltd Growing Northern Women Leaders (NT) E-Leaders Program
Reduced barriers to participation for rural, regional and remote Northern Territory women via delivery of a tailored, eight week trial E-leadership webinar program
Rural, regional and remote NT $18,795
Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Ltd Leader Finder—Interactive Map and Database
Increased Alumni capacity to connect, collaborate and share information due to development of Alumni engagement strategy and interactive database
Rural, regional and remote Australia $15,000
Heywire (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Heywire return on investment study
Increased effectiveness of the Heywire Youth Leadership Program through evaluation of program impact
Rural, regional and remote Australia $18,150
Community Foundation for Albury Wodonga Region Ltd Community Funds, Community Benefits
Increased local donor engagement through promotion of regional community fund program
Albury Wodonga region, NSW & VIC $22,000
Northern Rivers Community Foundation 360° Good Governance Review and Renewal
Increased governance capacity through participation in governance policies and procedure review training workshops
Far Nth Coast, NSW $6,850
Bass Coast Community Foundation Limited BCCF—Strengthening Our Core
Enhanced strategy development and succession planning skills via delivery of professional development workshops
Bass Coast, VIC $10,500
Stand Like Stone Foundation Ltd Operation Effectiveness for Beyond 2015
Increased service delivery efficiency and capacity through upgrade of technology and software
Limestone Coast, SA $18,950
Albany Community Foundation Website upgrade and necessitous circumstances fund
Improved efficiency and capacity through website and data base management system upgrade
Albany, WA $5,500
Denmark Community Foundation (WA) Inc Firming the Foundation
Increased delivery capacity via strategic, marketing and promotion planning investment and upgrade to technology, software and website
Denmark, WA $23,500