Impact Investment: Landcare Victoria

Giving a voice to the vision

Situational context

Recognised as one of the most successful and innovative grassroots environmental movements in the world, Landcare Victoria is in a unique position to address environmental problems on the ground by collaborating with government agencies upstream and community groups downstream. Despite its ongoing success, government funding halved between 2003 and 2013.

With further cuts announced in 2019, Landcare was struggling to resource its dynamic local groups. Rendere stepped in to help.

Organisational background

In the 1980s, when environmentalists and farmers were at loggerheads, the Victorian Government and the Victorian Farmers Federation brought the warring groups together via a community-based organisation called Landcare Victoria. The organisation now has 600 groups and 60,000 volunteers, who are working on landscapes around the state.

However, with funding cuts impacting its ability to operate effectively, Rendere decided to engage with stakeholders around Australia to get a clearer picture of what could be done. It was clear from these discussions that the funding cuts had led to a chicken-and-egg situation; Landcare needed a stronger voice but it couldn’t employ a CEO due to budgetary constraints. But because it lacked a CEO it wasn’t able to secure funding in the first place.

With the Upotipotpon Foundation, Rendere agreed to underwrite the CEO position for three years (from June 2020). Claire Hetzel is currently in that role.

Rendere also sought funding for other Landcare initiatives through the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN) – funding that has boosted Landcare’s capacity in administration, member development and fundraising.


With the new team in place, Landcare Victoria was able to secure funding for 80 facilitators during the 2021-24 funding period. This increased capacity has also given other funders, including the Ross Trust, the confidence to invest.

“Your continued support of Landcare Victoria has had a huge impact on our growth and success over the past 12 months.

“The foundation your donations provide has been the basis for new projects, new funding and the development and delivery of new services to benefit Landcare in Victoria.”

– Landcare Victoria Inc. Board

“This project acts as a powerful demonstration of how supporting organisational capacity can empower and transform volunteer organisations.

– Rendere Strategic Director, Jim Phillipson