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How we are funded

8 November 2021

By Vivienne Johnson, Manager Philanthropy

As a national organisation based in Canberra there is a common misconception that we (the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation) receive annual operational funding from the Australian Government. This is not the case.

Like many other not-for-profit organisations, seeking funding is an ongoing challenge for us. We actively pursue funding from both the public and private sector in the form of government and philanthropic grants, fees for service, sponsorships, participant fees, and donations from alumni and other supporters in the wider community.

Government funding

Most of the funding we receive from the government is in the form of grants for specific, time-bound projects. For example, in 2020, we submitted a successful bid in a competitive grant process for funding made available through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. That funding is being used to deliver a national drought resilience program this year and next which will reach more than 1,000 people living and working in 12 agricultural communities across the country.

Private funding

Many of our partner organisations have been supporting us for over a decade (and some over two decades). Their ongoing support is a vital contribution to leadership development for rural, regional and remote Australia.

Over the past three years, we have been building the foundations of a fundraising program to contribute to our long-term sustainability through philanthropic grants, individual giving, and bequests. 

Among other things, this has seen a focus on alumni through twice-yearly fundraising appeals. We encourage alumni to donate to us with the assurance that no matter the size of the donation it will make a difference. For alumni who were the beneficiaries of scholarships secured by us, it is an opportunity to pay it forward.

Future funding

As we approach our 30-year anniversary in 2022 and look to the future, we will continue to seek support from a wide range of funders – government, corporate, and individuals.

Historically, our flagship program the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) has been a main source of revenue.  While it and other core leadership programs will continue to be an essential part of our service offering, we are increasingly looking for new sources of revenue.

Included in the four strategic plan priorities, Towards 25, is a focus on creating a wider range of fee for service leadership offerings. Underpinning this strategic direction is our vision of thriving rural, regional, and remote communities strengthening Australia and our purpose to foster and exercise leadership for positive impact.