December 19 2023

CEO Update December 2023

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Large group of mena and women in a school photo formation
Representatives of the 20 philanthropic partners of the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children with the Hon Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Families and Social Services Australia, and the Hon Jim Chalmers,Federal Treasurer at the first Roundtable held on 4 December 2023.

It has been a busy time at the Foundation since our last newsletter. Our Board of Governors has met to discuss our priorities and consider grant applications. I have continued to spend time with a number of our grantees and have seen firsthand the benefit of the work they do and the passionate people who work so hard to make a difference in our community.

It has also been wonderful to meet many other philanthropic foundations this year and learn about their priorities. I have been impressed with the level of collaboration in the sector, with organisations and individuals looking to share what they know and what they are doing – all in an effort to work together to achieve greater collective impact for the community.

It is in this vein that I am very happy to report that the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children has been formalised with the signing of a Working Together Agreement by the Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth and representatives of 20 philanthropic organisations. 

A new collaboration between government and philanthropy, the Investment Dialogue aims to improve the lives of children, young people, and their families. The first Roundtable meeting of the Investment Dialogue for Australia's Children took place at Parliament House on Monday, 4 December.

To mark this development, philanthropic Dialogue Members are announcing approximately $65 million dollars of recent investments aligned with the Investment Dialogue's vision. These investments have been initiated by philanthropy since conversations about the collaboration commenced in September 2022 following the Jobs and Skills Summit.

While many philanthropic funders work locally to amplify community-based initiatives, the Investment Dialogue aims to coordinate our efforts through the sharing of expertise, data and resources to translate and measure what works and what matters. Doing this can help grow positive impact in and across more communities. 

These investments seek to improve outcomes for children, their families and/or communities and fall into one of four focus tiers of the Investment Dialogue:

  • Projects and Programs focused on children, family or community
  • Place – community-led processes and growing capacity and capability
  • Policy and Systems level reforms – creating the conditions necessary for systems change to ensure services and systems are adjusted to meet the needs of local communities where required. 
  • Data and evaluation.

This is the first step of a more integrated approach which also has systems change at its heart. We look forward to working closely with government, our philanthropic peers, and sector and community leaders to map out the Investment Dialogue processes, so we can build on the strengths that already exist and help fill the gaps where funding and coordination can make a meaningful difference.

It has also been a busy year for all our staff at the Foundation, and it is great to have recently opened our Environmental grant round now that we have Louise Arkles back from her study leave in the UK. Lauren Monaghan spent some time in the US earlier this year, attending conferences and visiting US-based Public Health funders. I recommend you read Lauren's interview with Grantmakers in Health where she shares her take on the difference between US and Australian philanthropy in the public health sector.

As 2023 ends, I would like to wish all our staff and partners a happy and safe holiday break. I trust we can all spend some time relaxing with family and friends. I look forward to an exciting 2024 ahead.