Impact Investment: Landcare Victoria

Giving voice to the vision

 

Impact in brief

By underwriting the appointment of a CEO and engaging other philanthropists in the cause, Landcare Victoria has been able to attract over $10M of funding to resource its dynamic local groups.

In the 1980s, the Victorian Government and Victorian Farmers Federation found an innovative way to bring conservationists and farmers together – a community-based organisation called Landcare Victoria Inc.

The grassroots movement, which now involves over 600 groups and 60,000 individual members, has been tremendously successful in bringing those forces together to tackle shared environmental problems, so successful the model has been adopted nationally and internationally.

Landcare Victoria remains in a unique position to address environmental problems by collaborating with government upstream and community groups downstream.

However, during the 2000s, deep funding cuts began impacting Landcare Victoria’s ability to represent and resource its dynamic local groups.

The 2019-20 fires and COVID-19 exacerbated these cuts. We stepped in to help.

Our process and contribution

We consulted with the Landcare Victoria Inc. Board and with government and community members around Victoria to get a clearer picture of what could be done to strengthen Landcare Victoria’s base.

These conversations revealed the fact that Landcare needed a stronger voice and better organisational capacity to fulfil its potential. However, funding cuts had led to a chicken and egg situation; it couldn’t employ a CEO due to budgetary constraints, yet because it lacked a CEO it wasn’t able to secure funding in the first place.

The Rendere Trust partnered with the Upotipotpon Foundation to underwrite the CEO position for three years, with resource management expert, Andrew Maclean, being appointed to the position in June 2020.

Reaching out

We also sought funding for other Landcare Vic., initiatives through the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN). This funding helped to boost the organisation’s capacity in admin, communications, member development and fundraising. It also supported the completion of Landcare Victoria’s first strategic plan.

Impact

Landcare Victoria’s advocacy helped secure funding for 80 facilitators in the most-recent Victorian State Budget.

Its increased capacity also won the confidence of other funders, including the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning and the RE Ross Trust, which have each funded Landcare Victoria projects. Proposals for further support are in development.

Landcare Victoria is also playing a role in supporting regional Landcare communities to deliver Australian Government bushfire recovery support – a significant outcome of several million dollars to empower regional communities working together for environmental restoration.

This case study reflects, once again, how the Trust’s support has leveraged additional support from elsewhere.

The funding has also attracted the attention of other philanthropic organisations, with Strategic Director, Jim Phillipson, presenting this work at the AEGN’s 2021 Mega Project Showcase as a powerful demonstration of how supporting organisational capacity can empower and transform volunteer organisations.

“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

Rendere Strategic Director, Jim Phillipson

“This project demonstrates the value of a deep personal and financial investment.

“By engaging with the board and with government and community players in Victoria, we were able to map out a more secure future for Landcare Victoria.”