The GROW Story

Local response to local need

2014: GROW developed from a G21 Addressing Disadvantage Taskforce report in 2014, coinciding with Give Where You Live Foundation’s vision to address disadvantage. This led to a Report which identified that innovative, collaborative and evidence-based approaches are needed to tackle entrenched regional social and economic disadvantage. GWYLF and G21 – Geelong Region Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding to function as the ‘backbone’ of GROW.

2015: The first phase of GROW involved the consultative development of a Strategic Plan (launched in May) and GROW Patrons and Champions were appointed. GWYLF committed $2 million over 10 years to support implementation of the GROW Strategic Plan across the whole G21 Region. This commitment provides a base from which GROW can align appropriate public, private and philanthropic funds in a coordinated way. Alcoa Foundation also contributed $300,000 as a legacy grant.

The GROW ‘backbone’ staff, Anne O’Brien (Director) and Liz Everist (Engagement) were appointed in July. Twenty major local organisations  signed up to the GROW Compact in November, committing to implementing the GROW principles in their businesses.

2016: In March, the Victorian State Government funded GROW $1 million (over five years) under the Regional Jobs Fund to deliver jobs and economic prosperity in G21. Regional Development Australia Barwon South West funded GROW $50,000 to deliver the G21 GROW Regional Procurement Economic Modelling Project in late 2015. The Report, “Procuring to Drive G21’s Regional Economy” was launched in July. An additional 18 local organisations signed the GROW Compact, and GROW launched the Social Procurement Toolkit to support all these organisations to deliver local and social procurement.

In September, GROW leveraged significant funds from Victorian State Government for Demand Led Employment in GROW target communities ($620k for Colac, $755k for Whittington). The GROW Evaluation and Data Analyst, Kerry Farrance, commenced in November.

2017: All the achievements and challenges of GROW were reported to the region at the inaugural GROW Report Card Event in May – for more information, see the Report Card. The Regional Dashboard and Target Communities Dashboard were launched by RDV regional director, Unni Menon. Twenty new GROW Compact Signatories were awarded certificates at this event.