FROM veggie patches to cricket pitches and wet suits to fire safety, Fonterra’s Grass Roots Fund is offering another round of funding for community projects in need of a helping hand.
The fund is calling for applications for support ranging from $500 to $5000 from groups operating near any of Fonterra Australia’s milk collection and seven manufacturing sites including Darnum in Gippsland.
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,” René said.
The Fonterra Grass Roots Fund has supported more than 340 initiatives since 2011, including the Friends of Mount Worth State Park, 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, trail runners and nature lovers.
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. I’d encourage other groups to apply for funding if they have a worthwhile initiative that needs some support, and it’s a simple application process too,” Paul said.
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,” René said.
Applications for funding remain open until December 15 and can be submitted online. Grant guidelines and additional information is available at www.fonterra.com.au