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Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grant program to build on history in 2020

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Australian cotton growers can again nominate local not-for-profit and community organisations to receive $150,000 in grants for projects to benefit the communities in which they live and work.

The Crop Science division of Bayer, in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), is continuing the Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities (ACFGC) program in 2020, with Bayer renewing its commitment to supporting the cotton industry and Australia’s cotton-growing communities through the distribution of 30 grants of $5,000.

The ACFGC grant program has awarded $900,000 in grants to more than 150 local community projects over the last six years. The program has funded vital community projects that have addressed rural mental health, early, primary and secondary education, the arts, infrastructure, nursing and healthcare, food, disability and emergency services.

Bayer marketing lead Kate Connors said the ACFGC program strengthens community resilience and positively impacts the wellbeing of cotton-growing communities across Australia.

“In 2019, we funded projects from a wide range of areas with funding going to artistic workshops, picnic areas, school gardens and community shows. It’s great to see cotton growers giving back and doing their bit to strengthen the local communities especially with the challenges the last season posed for the industry,” Connors said.

They again work alongside longstanding partner FRRR to support 30 projects that will provide real and lasting effects for communities in cotton growing areas.

With the recent bushfires and ongoing drought continuing to put a strain on these rural towns and businesses, Connors said it is more important than ever to ensure not-for-profit and community organisations are supported.

“We invite anyone with a project they think could benefit their community to get on board and nominate. It’s all about strengthening community spirit, addressing a need for more services, supporting volunteers and fostering vibrant Australian cotton growing communities,” she said.

FRRR’s State Programs Manager, Michelle Murphy-O’Kane said that it is important to keep funds flowing into these cotton-growing communities.

Given the cumulative impacts of the drought, fires and now COVID-19, Murphy-O’Kane said local groups are finding it particularly hard to raise the funds they need.

“It’s wonderful to be able to partner with Bayer Fund to offer these grants, which can have significant impact, and often be leveraged to attract additional funding,” she said. “Grants like these are so important, especially in helping volunteer-run organisations address the priorities and needs of their communities. Each place will be different, and needs will vary – for some it’s upgrading community infrastructure, for others it’s offering educational programs for children, or providing access to health and well-being services,”

One of the recipients of the grants in 2019 was the Pittsworth Men’s Shed. President, Merv Hinneberg said they were pleased to receive the grant and put it to good use.

“We used the grant for a computer system with a printer and scanner. We plan to use it as a learning tool, showing people how they can improve their skills on the computer. It will be a valuable asset to us,” said Hinneberg.

Nominations for the 2020 grants round will be accepted online or by mail between 1 July 2020 and 31 August 2020.

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