2015 Natural Disaster Season

By: Alexandra Gartmann   |   CEO, Foundation For Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)

2015 has begun with devastation for hundreds of Adelaide Hills residents. The damage and loss of homes, property, livestock and wildlife is significant.

The physical recovery and rebuilding will take a long time and the emotional and psychological recovery of the people impacted, will take even longer. The trauma of such an event can’t be underestimated.

Following the 2009 Victorian bushfires for example, mental health and wellbeing and support for children and young people are among the highest categories of grant requests to FRRR’s long-term recovery program – six years’ on from the disaster.

There are a number of ways to support the recovery, of which the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) is one with deep and highly respected experience in supporting medium-to-long term community recovery.

Below we highlight some key points on good practice in natural disaster funding that we recommend anyone thinking about making a donation towards the recovery consider:

  • Split donations between immediate and medium-long term support – recovery takes a long time and different needs and priorities for impacted communities emerge over time
  • Often the last man standing is also the last remembered: the short-term recovery is a busy and chaotic period with many wanting to give time, goods and money. In a year’s time however, much of this will be gone, with communities still needing support to get back on their feet. Often, waiting until the air has cleared and people have assessed the situation will result in funds being allocated with far greater impact and acknowledgement.
  • Consider funding organisations that will be there in the long term, especially local organisations – rather than organisations that fly in and out for the relief and immediate recovery. This will support resources to stay in impacted communities and will strengthen the recovery process by building local capacity

FRRR’s response to the 2015 Adelaide Hills Fires

FRRR offers a collaborative grants program called Repair Restore Renew (RRR) which enables other philanthropic organisations to utilise FRRR’s unique tax status and deep experience supporting medium-to-long term recovery through one grants program.

The RRR program helps to minimise the level of complexity for local community organisations coordinating recovery projects by reducing the potential number of granting organisations they need to apply to. It also means that FRRR can manage the administrative side of the program whilst enabling donor interests, such as environmental recovery or youth issues, to be supported, simplifying the process for donors. We have launched an appeal to raise funds for a 2015 RRR program and invite any interested philanthropic organisations to join the collaboration.

FRRR is also available to advise on how best to direct funds to recovery needs and can assist in sharing projects that may align with particular areas of interest. We have recently provided this type of consultancy support to Westpac and Australia Post.

The Natural Disaster Response Framework further outlines FRRR’s approach to supporting recovery.

Contact FRRR’s CEO Alexandra Gartmann or Program Manager Natalie Egleton: (03) 54302399 or a.gartmann@frrr.org.au / n.egleton@frrr.org.au

Jan. 15, 2015

 Tags: disasters

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