River Murray floods: Your gifts in action

After raising $87,000 through our South Australia Flood Recovery campaign, we are pleased to share that we have awarded nine grants to community organisations following a competitive grant application process.


Read the complete case study here.


“I am so humbled by the generosity of South Australians and local philanthropic foundations — it is wonderful to see so much support for our fellow South Australians who were so heavily impacted by the floods earlier this year,” says Sophie Doyle, Philanthropy and Engagement Manager at Foundation SA.


“It is also reassuring to see many initiatives in progress to help the Riverlands and Murraylands communities recover from the devastating flood events.”


Community Grants


Our Town Berri successfully secured funding to deliver a series of workshops to support recovery and help build resilience for likely future flooding events across two key community sectors — Year 10 students attending Riverland high schools and first responders and flood volunteers.


Julie Ahrens, Community Steward for Our Town Berri, was elated to receive the news that a Foundation SA Grant had been secured.


“This grant will be used to build the capacity of our youth and community to face adversity with confidence. It will give us opportunity to come together and connect, to learn to be resilient with new strategies we can use in future challenges.”


The program is being run by Our Town Berri in close partnership with wellbeing coordinators across the four major local high schools.


The Mid-Murray Support Service was awarded a grant to restore the popular Scrooge’s Op Shop — a community op-shop that not only supports sensible and affordable reuse for household items and goods but offers valued volunteering opportunities and social connections for the local Mannum community.


Good Shepherd has been funded to deliver My Money Basics Financial Literacy Program — a series of workshops for flood impacted families and businesses in the Murray Bridge, Mannum and Berri region.


Habitat for Humanity were successful in their funding proposal for ‘Flood Clean-up and Gardens of Hope’ — a volunteer program that supports households to restore gardens in the Mid-Murray, Murray Bridge and Alexandrina council areas.


The flood events took a significant toll on young Riverland people and the broader community through community event cancellations, changing social interactions and pressures on (already stretched) existing services. Young people are also one of the cohorts mostly likely to report high levels of loneliness.


Tackling the mental health impacts of the flood event among younger people, Headspace Berri has been funded to deliver evidence-based clinical skills and social connections group for young people and their families in the Riverland region, with a dedicated focus to support young people as current and future leaders within their community.



While the content of the group sessions will respond directly to the needs of the community and participants, it is anticipated that they will address key issues such as managing, anxiety, skills based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), self-care, job readiness, and trauma.


The project is designed to build skills and connections of Riverland young people with other members of the community, Headspace Berri, mentors and service providers to foster a culture of collaboration, creativity and community building in response to the flooding of the River Murray.


Mannum Community College – The Student and staff resilience and mental health and wellbeing project is an educator facilitated online mental health and wellbeing program tailored to the needs and age of school students. It has been funded to not only address wellbeing but provide opportunities to develop and enhance skills and strategies to navigate challenges, adversity and disappointment, and build ability to cope with grief and loss.


Students will build their communication, decision making and problem solving skills within the context of a safe and supportive peer learning environment. The grant will also support training another staff member to deliver the program.


Foodbank SA links surplus food and groceries to people in need, providing more than 80% of the food relief requirements for the South Australian charity sector while tackling Australia’s $36.6 billion food waste problem. The Foodbank Meal Packs project was funded to support people in flood impacted communities in the Riverland over the long recovery period and through the troubling cost of living crisis.


Through their Mobile Food Hub, Foodbank will distribute free and subsidised meal packs that consist of easy to prepare, nutritious meals to cook at home. Each Meal Pack will feed a family of four and free up household budgets to spend on other essential items such as electricity and petrol.


Environmental grants

The grants round also provided support for environmental initiatives that restore natural environments and make the most of the positive environmental outcomes the floods have presented.

Nature Foundation were successful in securing a grant to control feral fish at Watchalunga Nature Reserve through the implementation of a sustainable alien fish control strategy that encourages the recolonisation of threatened freshwater fishes.


“The recent floods have caused an increase in invasive fish, including European carp, which disrupt the freshwater ecosystem. Controlling these invasive species will support the resident native fish community and encourage the recolonisation or reintroduction of key threatened freshwater fishes including Murray Hardyhead, Southern Pygmy Perch and Yarra Pygmy Perch,” says Kelly Arbon, Science and Engagement Project Officer.


The Watchalunga Nature Reserve is a 92 hectare property located on Ngarrindjeri land, in the Finniss River catchment owned and managed by the Nature Foundation.


Wetlands Habitats (Paiwalla) was formed to rehabilitate a retired Dairy Farm on the Murray River and return it to a wetland.


Paiwalla wetland now a refuge for birds, native fish, turtle and local plants as well as a site that contains items of significant cultural heritage such as middens, scar trees and grinding stones.


The floods inundated Paiwalla, with water entering the wetland over the levee bank in two major places, causing surface damage to levee, also part of the walking trail around the wetland, at the low points.


The flood waters also destroyed a significant number of plantings that had been carried out over the last ten to 15 years since the restoration program began and exposed the wetland to be populated with European Carp (a pest).


The grant for Wetlands Habitats will support the group to repair the levee bank around the wetland and restore protections for this unique natural environment.


About the South Australian Disaster Recovery Grants


Foundation SA established the South Australian Disaster Recovery Fund in early 2023 in direct response to the severe flood crisis in South Australia’s Riverland and Murraylands and as a way for all South Australians to support our regional communities through such a devastating time.


“The fundraising campaign was hugely successful with $85,000 raised through a public appeal and by generous gifts from four private philanthropic foundations and three Foundation SA named funds,” says Sophie.


“The Disaster Recovery Fund supports non-profit organisations working in impacted regions, by providing small grants to aid recovery and build resilience for the future.”


With three more grants to assess, grant applications for the Disaster Recovery Fund are now closed as all funds will soon be  committed. However, the Fund will be reactivated for donations in the event of future disasters to provide support for impacted communities.