Welcome to NRCF

Back to School Program: a small gift with a BIG impact

Welcome to NRCF

NRCF believes that education is a fundamental right and that a quality education should be accessible, irrespective of your personal circumstances, or where you live. However, many families in rural, regional and remote Australia struggle to provide the basics their children need at the start of the new school year.

The Back to School Program is targeted at rural and remote students who are in need of financial support as they return to the school year. In the Northern Rivers, the Program specifically supports 'Grandcarers' - grandparents who are primary carers of school aged children, by offering redeemable vouchers valued at $50.00 for items such as books, stationary, school bags, shoes and clothing.  

" I have found that the biggest impact for the students that have received vouchers from you over the past three years is that of student wellbeing. For some children it is very important that they come to school with a pencil case of their own. Ultimately by improving student wellbeing you are improving attendance at school and retention which improves student learning. " School Principal

However, the impact of the vouchers is far more than just monetary: the items that these vouchers can be redeemed for reduce stigma for children living in economic disadvantage.

They can significantly improve the confidence, self-esteem and educational engagement of the students, as well as offer families the opportunity to access or gain information on other community services available through increased community coordination.

“ It not only provided them with the material goods but improved their self-esteem and self-confidence as they were no longer 'different' to other students.”  Welfare Coordinator

NRCF is a proud supporter of the Back to School Program in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR). The first Back to School Program in the Northern Rivers funded by NRCF and FRRR began in 2006. Since then NRCF and FRRR have distributed $335,650 worth of redeemable vouchers to disadvantaged children in the region. 

This year there has been an overwhelming response to the Program, with requests for over 720 vouchers from 520 Grandcarers, leaving NRCF with a shortfall of $10,100. A failure to make up this shortfall for 2017 will mean 202 students and their grand-carers across the Northern Rivers region will miss out on very worthy and much needed financial support as they try to meet the costs of returning to school.

Please consider making a donation to the NRCF so that we can continue this unique program for all disadvantaged children in our region.

Donations can be sent to the NRCF at PO Box 1426, Ballina 2478; or click on the 'DONATE' button in the top right hand corner of this page.

NRCF would like to acknowledge the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) who are the major contributor to the Back to School initiative in the Northern Rivers.

Welcome to NRCF




The region’s only philanthropic group NRCF (Northern Rivers Community Foundation) announced $133,373 across 22 successful applicants at its annual Grants Giving evening last night held at Twin Towns Masonic Hall.

The NRCF was created 12 years ago by generous individuals within the community, and has distributed grants across 87 organisations and 211 projects meeting social, cultural and environmental need. The 2016 announcements take the total amount committed by the Foundation to the community to over one million dollars.

The sought after major annual grant of $25,000 was awarded to the Katia Native Bee Youth Employment Project from the Byron Bay Herb Nursery.  The project aims to establish a native bee keeping business that provides employment opportunities for local indigenous youth and youth at disadvantage. 

The Katia project will focus on manufacturing beehive boxes and farming native bees that can be sold or leased to the community and horticultural industry. The bees will be used for honey production as well as pollination of food crops and nut trees such as macadamias.

Participants will gain experience and skills in carpentry, native bee keeping and an understanding of the use of native bees in local indigenous cultural practices such as food and medicine production and implement making. 

The Byron Bay Herb Nursery currently employs 23 people in their herb nursery, including 16 people with a disability. They also employ 4 young adults in their social enterprise area, which focuses on providing employment for youth at disadvantage through innovative projects such as composting. 

The smallest grant of $1,000 went to Northern Rivers Wildlife for training 8 volunteers to handle venomous snakes.

NRCF’S Chair John Callanan said “that between both these grant winners, another 20 projects further reflected the diversity of need within the community.” 

“We have found the innovation, creativity, articulation and sheer enthusiasm shared by all applicants to be heart-warming. We are seeing a new awareness and understanding of how to progress individual causes, be they from underprivileged groups, pop-up and continual arts seeding, access to health care, educational opportunities, life skills, law, justice and community connections - including social media hubs. Scan through the successful applicants for this year, you will be astonished.”

Grantees range from a Clown Doctors Program at Lismore Hospital, a Northern Rivers Indigenous Communities suicide prevention program, a deaf dance theatre workshop - to an E-space digital hub, and swimming lessons for former refugee children. For a full list of grant recipients, please click here.

For further media information contact Rea Francis rea@rfmedia.com.au0414250790 or Executive Officer Emily Berry 0499 862 886 info@nrcf.org.au

What We Do

Welcome to NRCF

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation is an independent philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the lives of people in our region who most need support. Read more >>

Thanks to all our supporters!

2018 Small Grants Program

Welcome to NRCF

The 2018 Small Grants Program will open on Tuesday August 22nd, 2017. Please visit the NRCF website for the application form and guidelines.

How we Help Others

Welcome to NRCF

Since 2004, over 85 organisations have shared in over $130,000 in grants from NRCF undertaking social, cultural and environmental projects across the Northern Rivers. Read more >>