October 2 2023

CEO Update October 2023

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Two women and two men standing in front of warehouse shelvingg
Site visit to St Kilda Mums warehouse in Clayton, Melbourne. (L-R) Deirdre MacKechnie (St Kilda Mums Chair), Ruth Holdaway MBE (St Kilda Mums CEO), Dr Alberto Furlan (IPF Senior Program Manager), Paul Conroy (IPF CEO).

I have had a busy first 6 months in my role, and have really enjoyed spending time with a diverse mix of both current and prospective grantees. I am continually impressed with the work being progressed by both the organisations we partner with and the incredible individuals leading them.

Whilst the direct financial support from the Foundation is often what is noted, I have really been struck by the enormous value grantees place on the pro bono or non-financial support provided by the Foundation.

However, we know that not all grantees have the same priorities and needs at any given time and it is important that such non-financial support is effective, timely and ‘fit for purpose’ for each organization. Hence, we are reviewing the ways the Foundation’s resources can best be utilised for the benefit of our grantees – from convening networking forums, to assisting in setting up evaluation frameworks or providing introductions or letters of support at different points in time. We will have further information to share on this in due course.

We are also making some procedural changes in the upcoming funding rounds, which will alter the timing of the open rounds for the Medical Research and Community Wellbeing grants for 2024. In addition, our program management team will also trial extending the period of time in which they engage with grant seekers from 6 to approximately 17 weeks in order to allow greater flexibility for all parties.  See Round 2 2024 dates.

In recent months, the management team has been implementing our new grants management system, GivingData. Our new system is now live, and I want to pass on a special thanks to the extended team, from Foundation staff to grantee organisations (that offered to test the new system and provide valuable feedback) for all their hard work and persistence.

Finally, we welcome back Louise Arkles to her role as Senior Program Manager for Environment after 12 months of leave while she completed her Masters of Conservation Leadership at Cambridge University. I have no doubt that the knowledge and ideas Lousie brings back to her role with benefit both the Foundation and the environmental sector. Thanks also to Elena Mogilevski for managing the Environment program in Louise's absence.