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About Youthrive Victoria

Youthrive Victoria 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.

Formerly known as Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation (MSRF), Youthrive Victoria was created in 2008 with an establishment grant of $5 Million from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust), an independent philanthropic trust created by the late Helen Macpherson Schutt (nee Smith).  This visionary grant, the biggest ever given by HMSTrust, is now honoured in the use of the tagline ‘A legacy of Helen Macpherson Smith.’

Youthrive Victoria’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 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. The Community Leader Scholarships and Wrap Around Care packages were developed in 2018.

In 2018 MSRF celebrated a decade of supporting young rural Victorians through scholarships, mentoring, leadership development and community connections. In 2019, to mark the new decade, new directions and independence, MSRF became Youthrive Victoria. The company name is The Rural Foundation Ltd.

What is Unique about Youthrive Victoria

  • 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’ in the form of mentoring, leadership development and social connections.
  • We have a large alumni group whose members 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.


Our Values

Youthrive Victoria is distinguished by the following beliefs, principles and behaviours:

  • We support rural and regional communities through all our activities
  • We empower young people by providing opportunities and connections
  • We respect individuals, communities and the environment
  • We build strong partnerships with individuals, communities and organisations
  • We facilitate the use of technology to tackle long term issues in new ways
  • We research purposefully and strategically in partnership with others
  • We collaborate creatively and imaginatively to achieve our mission
  • We ensure environmental sustainability in everything we do and promote

Strategic Directions 2018-2022


  • Through scholarships, programs and ‘wrap around care’.
  • Maximise the impact of learning opportunities for rural young people.


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


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


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

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