Current Projects in Community Development

The following Community Development projects are currently funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. The projects are 'Working in Dairy Communities' - Small Grants Program, Tertiary Scholarships Program, Regional Community Leadership Programs

'Working in Dairy Communities' - Small Grants Program

Project Overview

The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program is run annually in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) which has been ongoing for 17 years. The purpose of these grants (up to $5,000 each) is to fund grass-roots community projects that strengthen small dairy communities.

Eligible applicants are community organisations with an ABN in Victorian dairying towns with a population under 5,000.

When applying for a grant, we strongly encourage applicants to download and use the Strengthening Small Dairy Communities Toolkit developed by Gardiner Dairy Foundation in 2012. This useful resources is full of practical tips, techniques, templates and further sources of information. 

Potential grant applicants can also attend our Grant Seeker workshops which will be held in each of the three dairy regions in early 2019. Working through the Tool kit and providing useful insights for grant seekers not only to this program but for anyone who is seeking to write effective grant applications on behalf of their organisation. Scroll down to view the location and dates of the 2019 grant seeker workshops.  

Strategic Importance to the Industry

A successful dairy industry needs the support of a strong local community. The aim of this program is to strengthen small Victorian dairy communities, by helping build their capacity to deal with local issues and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Our involvement

Every year Gardiner Dairy Foundation allocates $120,000 to support the continuation of this well regarded program.

Since it began in 2003 over $1.7 million has been successfully funded to 445 grants across the Victorian dairy community. On average every dollar invested by Gardiner Dairy Foundation receives additional leverage of $3.05 in cash or in-kind contributions.

2019 'Working in Dairy Communities' - Small Grants Program

Applications for the 2019 'Working in Dairy Communities' - Small Grants Program open on Tuesday 5th February and close 5pm Tuesday 19th March 2019

Before applying, please review the Guidelines carefully. You can view the guidelines here. 

To express your interest in applying for a grant, please contact FRRR on 1800 170 020 and 

2019 Free Grant Seeker Workshops – LIMITED SPACES REGISTER NOW!

Cohuna - Tuesday 5th February from 10.30am-1pm, at Northern District Community Health (NDCH) - Cohuna, 33 King Edward Street, Cohuna – Register here

Simpson - Wednesday 6th February from 10.30am-1pm, at Simpson & District Community Centre, 11 Jayarra Street, Simpson – Register here  

Bairnsdale – Wednesday 13th February from 10.30am-1pm, at Bairnsdale Council Corporate Centre 273 Main Street, Bairnsdale – Call East Gippsland Shire Council on 5153 9500 to RSVP


For more information View the 13-year snapshot of the program,
Media release 2015 Program, 2016 Program, 2017 Program


Tertiary Scholarship Program 

Project overview

The dairy industry needs to attract, retain and develop talented people. Scholarships play a vital role in supporting high-potential rural students to gain the skills that will help to drive the industry forward and make their communities vibrant places to live.

This Community Development initiative forms part of the Gardiner Dairy Foundations commitment to investing in emerging leaders and practices. It aims to support high-calibre young people from dairy communities by giving them the opportunity to study at a tertiary level, before bringing their skills back home.      

Strategic importance to the industry

Rural students face greater barriers to participation in higher education than their metropolitan counterparts. Many must move to a new city, which can cause significant financial pressures for students and their families.

Because of these and other barriers many young people in rural communities simply do not apply for tertiary studies. Research indicates that only 68% of rural students complete secondary school, compared with 87% of metropolitan students. Of those that do secure university places, a significant number drop out before completing their degree because of financial, social and geographical challenges. 

Our involvement

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation offers tertiary scholarships of $10,000 per annum for 3 years to up to seven individuals pursuing a career that will directly benefit the dairy industry and/or a small dairy community. Seventeen tertiary scholarships are currently being funded to support university and TAFE students across the state.

2019 Tertiary Scholarship Program 

Gardiner Dairy Foundation is proud to offer tertiary scholarships to up to seven individuals residing in Victorian dairy communities, commencing studies in 2019 to pursue a career that will either directly benefit the dairy industry and/or benefit dairy communities. Each scholarship is worth $10,000 per year and is available for the first three years of a scholar's University or TAFE course.

Online applications open: August 2018
Applications close: 5pm on Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Vision is to continue to invest in emerging leaders and practices to help develop a long-term future for the dairy industry. Supporting rural people beginning tertiary study contributes to achieving this vision.

The Victorian dairy industry is an exciting industry with a multitude of career opportunities, employing approximately 50,000 people in diverse jobs ranging from engineering to international trade.

Applications are now invited from people who are:

  • Pursuing a career through their chosen course that will either directly benefit the dairy industry and/or benefit dairy communities
  • Commencing their first year of full-time tertiary study in 2019 (University or TAFE)
  • Required to move away from home to take up their chosen course
  • Australian citizens.

Applications will be assessed and shortlisted on the following criteria:

  • Potential to make a positive contribution to the Victorian dairy industry or its rural communities
  • Academic commitment and achievement
  • Personal achievement and community involvement


Download Tertiary Scholarship Guidelines and Eligibility 2019  

Download Tertiary Scholarship Application Form 2019 (hard copy) - Applications are currently closed

Contact Gardiner Dairy Foundation




Victorian Regional Community Leadership Program Scholarships - NOW OPEN

Project overview

The Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs (VRCLPs) are designed to assist individuals to develop their leadership capacity and prepare them to transition into leadership roles.

This Community Development initiative forms part of the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s commitment to investing in emerging leaders and practices. It aims to build the capability of dairy industry people so the industry has the required leadership, knowledge and skills for success.    

Strategic importance to the industry

The dairy industry globally has seen significant change in recent times and there is every indication that the pace of change will continue, if not increase. Strong leadership will be required to navigate the Australian dairy industry and to ensure the industry is able to continually improve and maintain its international competitiveness.

Leadership programs are necessary to help build the capability the industry will need. The VRCLPs provide critical leadership training that is tailored to each specific region of Victoria and they are an important opportunity for dairy industry succession planning.

Our involvement

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation provides scholarships for up to 10 emerging dairy leaders (one dairy farmer and one service provider) each year, across the five key dairy regions of Victoria. The scholarships are available for programs offered by the Gippsland Community Leadership Program, Fairley Leadership Program (Goulburn Murray), Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, Community Leadership Loddon Murray and Leadership Great South Coast.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been awarding VRCLP scholarships since 2004 and has funded over 60 scholars across the five programs over that period. Graduates often go on to join community groups or boards in managerial positions, and become involved strategic planning for their regions. They serve as role models and mentors within their communities and make a substantial contribution to the growth and fabric of the dairy community and their wider regional communities.

2019 Victorian Regional Community Leadership Program Scholarships - NOW OPEN 

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation will once again be offering two dairy industry scholarships to each of the five Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs. Applications open in May for the Alpine Valleys Program and September for the Fairley Leadership, Leadership Great South Coast, Loddon-Murray Leadership and Gippsland Community Leadership Programs.  

For more information visit your local Regional Community Leadership Program: