A $250,000 donation from the Waislitz Foundation in partnership with media company ACM will help the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) finance recovery projects in communities affected by the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20.
The donation will be distributed via the bushfire recovery stream of the FRRR's Strengthening Rural Communities program, which offers grants of up to $25,000 for local projects that support the rebuilding of affected communities.
The projects can include the repair and replacement of fire-damaged community infrastructure, support for the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by the fires, the alleviation of volunteer burnout, initiatives to build economic development and events that help to bring an affected community together.
The Waislitz Foundation, established by Alex Waislitz in 2013, partners with organisations that it believes can make a real difference in education, poverty eradication, health and indigenous affairs.
The $250,000 donation to FRRR is part of a $1 million total commitment announced by Mr Waislitz in January to help Black Summer bushfire recovery efforts nationally.
The Waislitz Foundation has partnered with ACM, the publisher of this newspaper and more than 130 others serving regional, rural and suburban Australia, to support the FRRR's grants program.
Mr Waislitz, co-owner of ACM with his Thorney Investments Group and Antony Catalano, said he felt privileged to be able to help people in fire-affected communities rebuild their lives and the local connections that gave them strength.
By supporting a range of different grassroots, community-led initiatives through the FRRR, we can help these local communities renew and strengthen for the future.- The Waislitz Foundation's Alex Waislitz
"Every Australian couldn't help but be touched and inspired by the stories of loss and courage we saw last summer, and I'm keen to contribute to the healing," he said.
The Waislitz Foundation hoped that by supporting "a range of different grassroots, community-led initiatives through the FRRR, we can help these local communities renew and strengthen for the future".
"Through my involvement as a co-owner of ACM, which serves local audiences and advertisers in many regions affected by the bushfires, I have developed a keen awareness of the challenges those communities face and a deep admiration for their resilience," Mr Waislitz said.
Chief executive of FRRR Natalie Egleton said the generous support of partners like the Waislitz Foundation and ACM allowed her organisation to fund a wide range of projects that supported the different recovery journey of each fire-affected community.
"Recovery from the bushfires is a process that has no end date and that is different for every affected place and person," she said. "We know that local leaders are therefore best placed to understand the priorities and recovery needs of their community."
ACM has already partnered with the FRRR on the "South Coast is Calling" series of tourism posters by Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope which celebrate the NSW holiday towns hit hard by the fires.
Proceeds from the sale of prints of the evocative artworks were donated to the FRRR.
"We are fortunate to be working with ACM again to support these bushfire-affected communities, as we know the company shares our passion for supporting locally-led solutions," Ms Egleton said.
"We are also delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Waislitz Foundation, which also understands the value of philanthropic partnerships when it comes to helping these communities to renew and rebuild."