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Initiate

Place-based Program

Only communities can create the future they want for their place.

In the place-based program, we support locals who are taking action to ensure their community thrives.

Place-based funders have an intimate tie to a particular place that you can find on a map, and are focusing their work in that place with the people who live there and the organisations highly invested in that place. A place-based funder uses a wide-angle, multi-faceted lens in work that is about community resilience and vitality. They may work on one thing at a time, but do so with respect for local history and culture, a commitment to identifying and mobilising local assets, and an interest in building local capacity to weather the next storm.‘ – Grassroots Grantmakers

Main Street flower pot murals, Condobolin NSW

Doing place-based work, we have become more conscious of place in all our grant making. To combat entrenched locational disadvantage in Australia we see the need for more long term and flexible place-based work that supports:

  • Collaborative community efforts that cut through sectors and silos
  • Practical strategies that are relevant to the place and the problem
  • Coordinated work that seeks to address the multiple causes of social problems
  • Real and relevant opportunities for local education and work
  • Capacity-building to sustain communities’ long-term ability to improve outcomes
  • Reform for greater local decision-making in how resources are distributed and used locally

The story so far

In 2010, VFFF decided to establish a place-based program. The aim was to support specific communities over a sustained period of time – to meet their goals and address issues important to them. We sought to enhance our impact by investing in a range of activities in defined geographies, as a complement to our thematic grant making.

Condobolin in the Lachlan Shire and Taree on the Mid North Coast were identified as places with high need and proactive leadership. We took a broad approach in Condobolin and a more targeted one in Taree by supporting a particular project. We were subsequently approached by Sydney Community Foundation for seed funding to develop a place-based program in Warwick Farm in South West Sydney. We worked in different ways in each place, based on the circumstances.

Lachlan Shire in Central West NSW has been the focus of this program since 2013, and the Growing Lachlan initiative. The Taree project, establishment of First Steps Count, an integrated child and family centre, remains a terrific concept despite persistent advocacy by the group and a $1m pledge from VFFF toward the $3m build. The Warwick Farm program goes from strength to strength.

In 2016, VFFF supported a fledging place-based effort It takes a town in Murwillumbah.

In 2017, this work entered an exciting new phase, with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation beginning to work with the key people and initiatives VFFF works with in Lachlan Shire, Dubbo and Bourke to develop a regional capability building model.

Since commencing, $3.1m has been committed to the place-based program.

Case Studies

Organisations and activities supported include: First Steps Count, Penrith Performing and Visual ArtsFoundation for Rural & Regional Renewal,  Western Plains Regional Development, Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation, Many Rivers Microfinance, Sydney Community FoundationBeacon Foundation, Condobolin High School, Lachlan Region Community Grants Program, Central West Family Support GroupLower Lachlan Community Services, The Family Centre, Thrive2484, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

Latest Grants

  • Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) & Just Reinvest NSW
    $388,263 to explore expansion of justice reinvestment in NSW.
  • Mirabel Foundation
    $300,000 towards the expansion of the Mirabel team to the Hunter region, to support children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental ilicit drug use and their kinship carers.
  • Youthworks
    $338,000 towards Youth Ministry expansion in Western Sydney and deployment of the Ministry Survey.
  • Country Universities Centre
    $520,049 towards employment of academic mentors across the network - Cooma, Broken Hill, Goulburn, Narrabri, Moree, Grafton, Griffith and Leeton - to support students in academic success.
  • The Royal Hospital for Women Foundation
    $50,000 towards Malabar Midwives, a culturally appropriate service contributing to maternal health outcomes for Indigenous women in Malabar, Maroubra and La Perouse.
  • Twin Rivers Centre
    $42,718 towards the Hand Up program in Eagleby, supporting a community experiencing intergenerational poverty by creating employment opportunities.
  • Burraga Foundation
    $50,000 towards the Storylines School Based Trainee program, an opportunity for Indigenous students to gain valuable work skills and experience through paid employment.
  • Arts North West
    $25,000 towards the North West Film Festival, engaging young people in rural communities in creative digital and analogue screen media.
  • Chester Hill Anglican Church
    $31,644 towards supporting the Children's Ministry in a rapidly growing community.
  • Sports Chaplaincy Australia
    $49,483 towards the Sports Chaplaincy in junior sport netball pilot.
  • Abbeyfield Australia
    $40,452 towards the successful establishment of new independent housing for young people with disabilities in Wagga Wagga.