The Fund is calling for applications for support ranging from $500 to $5,000 from groups operating near any of Fonterra Australia’s milk collection and seven manufacturing sites at Darnum (Gippsland), Stanhope (Northern Victoria), Dennington and Cobden (South West Victoria), Bayswater (Eastern Melbourne), Wynyard (North West Coast Tasmania) and Spreyton (North Coast Tasmania).
Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker says the Fund is about giving a helping hand to groups who keep local communities in good shape through a wide range of initiatives.
“The dairy industry is built from the ground up. The Fund supports farming families and local communities. We’re lucky to have local communities with supporters who are prepared to organise events, dig gardens, volunteer for emergency services and coach kids’ sport. All these activities keep communities strong and the people in them healthy. By providing funds we’re supporting their work and giving back to the communities where we operate,” says René.
The Fonterra Grass Roots Fund has supported over 340 initiatives since 2011, including the Friends of Mount Worth State Park in Gippsland, who work with Park Rangers and hold regular working bees to keep walking tracks clear through the giant forest and fern gullies for nature lovers to enjoy. Grass Roots funding helped them secure mowing and trailer equipment to keep the longer tracks open for bushwalkers and trail runners.
Paul Strickland from Allambee, who was behind the “Friends” submission says Fonterra’s Grass Roots Fund support really helped to kick-start their fundraising efforts to secure the equipment.
“Without the voluntary efforts of the Friends, many of the trails couldn’t be kept open for people to enjoy this unique area of bushland. Our new equipment helps us to maintain the tracks more easily and deal with fallen brush and path repairs. We hope to encourage a wide range of people to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of being outdoors in nature,” says Paul.
Who gets supported is decided by a committee based at the local Fonterra site, working to three criteria. These initiatives must bring communities together, for rural activities and events, support healthy lifestyles such as sporting equipment for clubs and care for the environment, such as recycling or gardens initiatives.
“We invite applications for grants once a year and the funds we allocate are our way of saying thanks to people in the communities where we operate. Their initiatives make for a happier and safer area and that’s good for our people, our farmers and their families, and our communities, so it’s a win all round,” says René.
Applications for funding remain open until 15th December 2017. Applications can be submitted online, and grant guidelines and additional information is available at www.fonterra.com.au