Our purpose is to strengthen rural communities by supporting young people to be leaders.


About the Foundation

The Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation Limited (MSRF) is a charity with the vision that Victorian rural and regional communities will be thriving with strong input from skilled, resilient and motivated young people.

The Foundation was established in 2008 with a major grant from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, an independent philanthropic trust created by the late Helen Macpherson Schutt (nee Smith).

The Foundation’s purpose is to strengthen rural communities by supporting young people to be leaders. Its mission is to collaborate with partners, donors, communities and alumni in delivering services to young rural Victorians that assist them to develop their personal, professional, and leadership capacities.

In 2011 MSRF awarded its first scholarships to support young rural people going to university. The MSRF mentoring program was established in the same year and the Young Rural Leaders program was first held in 2012. In 2015 the Chris and Marli Tilley Stawell Scholarship was established. In 2016 the Dream Seeds® program for Year 6 students was developed and the Alumni Committee was elected. In 2017 Rural Chances vocational scholarships were introduced. We have had generous support from a range of private donors and trusts.

Since creating and establishing these programs MSRF has provided opportunities to over 500 young rural Victorians. 31 scholarships to assist with university studies have been awarded; along with 18 Rural ChancesVocational scholarships.  Almost 300 people have participated in the Young Rural Leaders program and over 220 people have been had transition and/or career mentoring.

Annual Report

What is unique about MSRF?

  • We focus on transitions (secondary/tertiary and primary/secondary) and education and employment outcomes for rural/regional young Victorians
  • We know that it is more than money that helps young people achieve so we offer ‘wrap around care’
  • We have a large alumni which have practical hands-on leadership experiences and opportunities to co-design our programs and activities
  • We are an organisation with exceptional mentoring knowledge based on research and evidence

Strategic Directions 2018-2022

LEARN Scholarships and wrap around care
Maximise the impact of learning opportunities for rural young people.

LEAD Future leaders and change-makers
Grow leadership development opportunities for rural young people, and be a leading organisation in our sector.

CONNECT People and Communities
Connect rural young people with one another, their communities and their supporters.

INVEST Social Investment Partners
Build social investor partnerships that support rural young people and connect rural communities.

Core Values

MSRF culture is distinguished by the following believes, principles and behaviours:

  • SUPPORTING rural and regional communities through all our activities
  • EMPOWERING young people through providing opportunities and connections
  • RESPECTING individuals, communities and the environment
  • BUILDING strong partnerships with individuals, communities and organisations
  • FACILITATING the use of technology to tackle long term issues in new ways
  • RESEARCHING purposefully and strategically in partnership with others
  • COLLABORATING creatively and imaginatively to achieve our mission
  • ENSURING environmental sustainability in everything we do and promote