The East Gippsland Community Foundation (EGCF) was set up by the Victorian Government and the Community Enterprise Foundation to distribute $8.8M of Australian Disaster Relief Funds donated by the public to help people affected by the Black Summer Fires in 2019-2020.
In just under two years, EGCF successfully disbursed 40% of the funds through open grant rounds, scholarships and project partnerships.
Three years on, we know East Gippsland communities impacted by fire are grant weary. They struggle to get together documentation for the many funding opportunities on offer. After submitting applications, they experience the highs or lows of acceptance or rejection. Successful applications entail more work to finalise contracts, implement projects in a difficult environment and acquit them on time.
Recently, EGCF has done away with the formal grant process for the ten Community Recovery Committees (CRC’s) across East Gippsland. and, where possible, it has funded or contributed financially to their Top 5 identified projects and priorities, working directly with them to address their outstanding needs.
A ‘grant application’ to a community that is going through the mental health after–effects of bushfire recovery means many more hours of volunteer labour for no guarantee of success in funding.
Why make it harder for these communities to achieve their recovery milestones?
If the community has already done the hard work of engagement on their priorities, shouldn’t it be a case of understanding their needs and providing funding to make their community led initiatives come to life?
The work of EGCF highlights how keeping the best interests of the community as a priority has led to $4.2M of funding allocated (to date) and 173 (to date) projects being supported in East Gippsland communities.
$500,000 has been allocated for local project partnerships this year. If successful, the approach will be extended.
a sELECTION oF GRANT AWARDED PROJECTS - 2021/22
BEYOND THE FIRES
Chair Barry Henwood and Executive Officer Michelle Dowsett were interviewed as part of the Beyond The Fires series, created by Cheeky Mac Productions, discussing the importance of relevant and concise funding to assist in the rebuilding efforts of bushfire affected communities.
COMMUNITY BUSHFIRE RECOVERY SCHOLARSHIPS - 2022
Our East Gippsland scholarship program which proved so successful in 2022 has been rolled into 2023.
Post secondary students from East Gippsland Black Summer Fire impacted communities were invited to apply, with 15 new scholarship recipients in 2023. The East Gippsland Community Foundation Board also allowed 11 2022 scholarship recipients to roll into 2023 with further funding on the basis of an acquittal, completion of 2022 study and evidence of continued enrolment.