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Australia Cotton communities set to receive $150,000 in grants

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Cotton growers across New South Wales and Queensland in Australia have the opportunity to direct philanthropic investment to their local community groups, thanks to a new initiative from the Monsanto Fund in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).

The Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grants program will allow cotton farmers to nominate a local not-for-profit group or charity they believe deserves one of thirty $5,000 grants that are available across cotton growing regions in Queensland and New South Wales.

Alexandra Gartmann, FRRR’s chief executive, said this is a rare opportunity for farmers to direct $5,000 to deserving community groups, simply by making an online nomination.

“We believe that people living and working in rural and regional communities are best-placed to determine the groups and projects that most need support. So we are inviting cotton growers to tell us the worthy projects or groups in their local community that should receive the grants. And it is as simple as filling out an online nomination,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Cotton growing communities have had a tough few years,” she said, “with drought then floods in many regions, as well as challenging environments for community services. This is a chance for groups or initiatives that are important to the community to get a boost, to address community needs and support some positive outcomes for these areas. We are grateful to the Monsanto Fund for instigating this initiative.”

Adam Blight, Monsanto Fund’s Australia representative, said that the cotton industry provides employment for 8,000 people across more than 150 communities.

“The ongoing success of the industry is crucial to those local communities,” he said. “This initiative offers cotton farmers another way to improve their local communities by allowing them to suggest where additional support is most needed. Monsanto Fund is pleased to be partnering with FRRR and cotton farmers to support the rural and regional communities that are home to our cotton farmers.”

Although only eligible cotton farmers can submit a nomination, any community member can suggest an idea that a farmer can then adopt and submit. Farmers must be 18 years of age or older and actively farming cotton in one of the fourteen Cotton Grower Association (CGA) areas listed in the program guidelines.

Only not-for-profit and charitable organizations that offer clear benefits for rural and regional communities and are located in, or servicing, one of the 14 CGA areas are eligible to receive the grants. Organizations working across a range of areas such as social, economic, environmental, health and education are eligible for nomination. Nominations will be independently assessed by FRRR.

For more information, please visit www.cottonfarmers.com.au. Applications open July 31and close Nov. 30. Successful applicants will be notified in February 2015.

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