They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it also takes a ‘village’ to keep a community strong – individuals and community groups all pulling together, working toward a common goal. This is equally as applicable in urban communities as in rural, regional and remote communities. In both cases, just a little bit of help from philanthropy goes a very long way.
Recognising this fact, the Commonwealth Department of Social Services created Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week (CPPW). The program is being managed by Philanthropy Australia in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, and is supported through the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.
CPPW is a week-long celebration (7-13 December) of what has been achieved around Australia thanks to strong partnerships between community groups and those that support and work with them, whether they are philanthropic trusts and foundations, government departments, businesses, or individuals.
It is a great opportunity to showcase and promote the work they are doing, to share knowledge and to strengthen or develop new relationships and partnerships.
SAGE Farmers Market
One group that is having a significant impact in their community is the Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla (SAGE) in Moruya, NSW. With lots of local support from business, and some help from the NSW government, the group has created a weekly farmers’ market to revive the local agricultural and horticultural heritage of the region. And all the hard work is paying off.
The market’s management committee recently undertook an economic impact study with the University of Canberra to quantify its impact on the local economy. After surveying customers over 12 months, it found that shoppers spend $1.8 million annually at the SAGE Farmers Market. It also found that 57 per cent of the income (some $1.5 million annually) that local businesses receive is from shoppers whose primary reason for visiting Moruya is to shop at the market.
Most recently the SAGE Farmers Market developed an online store where customers can pre-purchase produce and pick it up from a centralised point at the Market. With $8,000 from FRRR and ANZ via the Seeds of Renewal program, they were able to build the website which underpins the online store. Most importantly, this grant enabled them to secure the additional funding they needed to make the online store a reality. While we were confident in the important role the market was playing in the local community, it was great to see it validated via this study.
The SAGE Farmers Market is also involved in another project supported by philanthropy. They are participating in the pilot awareness-raising program known as ‘Boots for Change’, promoting the importance of local food production.
Shoppers are asked to pull on a pair of boots – gumboots, workboots or really whatever boots are available – to show their support. The idea came from a group of young women who attended the ABC’s annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit and was funded via the FRRR Heywire Youth Innovation grants.
While it’s early days, the signs are positive that this project is going to get traction across the country – another great example of local community and philanthropic partnerships.
Get the message out there
There is a perception that philanthropy is something that is only done by high-net-worth individuals and businesses. The reality, however, is that it takes place in communities across Australia every day, as people contribute their time and talent, as well as their own funds, however small, to make a better community.
I have highlighted just a couple of examples of community projects that are really making a tangible impact in their local community, with support from philanthropic partners. There are thousands more.
CPPW is an opportunity to highlight and showcase all that is being achieved through these partnerships, and I encourage you to proactively celebrate the impact your partnerships have had on communities across Australia.
For more details on how to get involved, visit www.communitypartnerships.com.au.