February 14 2024

Chairman's Report 2023

By Charles Goode AC

Fiscal 2022-23

  • 75

    Grants Awarded

  • $41.85M

    Total Value (Awarded)

  • $33.35M

    Total Value (Paid)

In the financial year ending 30 June 2023, eight major grants totalling $15,305,000 were awarded to projects spanning capital works for medical research institutes and large-scale public health programs, and capacity building of leading not-for-profit organisations in the community wellbeing, early childhood development and arts sectors.


The most significant single funding commitment in this period supported the establishment of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, which will be housed in the Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne. The Centre will create a home for the best global research talent to focus on developing the therapeutics we will need at speed for any future pandemic. Following the exceptional generosity of philanthropist Mr Geoffrey Cumming, the Foundation’s Board agreed to contribute $5 million towards this transformational initiative.

A further $1.1 million in funding was committed to the capital campaign for The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD). This commitment follows two previous major grants of $2.5 million (2022) and $2.5 million (2016) towards establishing ACMD, Australia’s first hospital-based bio-engineering research and education hub.

The Seed Foundation was awarded $2.5 million in capacity building support to consolidate and expand its programs that provide wrap-around support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students seeking careers in health or social services across Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) was awarded $2.5 million to expand the capacity of Remarkable, a CPA program that facilitates the development of technological solutions for people with disabilities, by incubating start-up enterprises that employ as well as service the end users.

Two further major grants were awarded to existing partners of the Foundation that focus on improving outcomes for Australian children. The largest of these grants was a $2.66 million investment in the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) to strengthen the organisation’s capacity and the broader Aboriginal Controlled Community services sector, helping to drive improvements nationally for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through policy and practice reform.

Smiling Mind’s early years and schools’ mindfulness programs have proven to be valuable for teachers and families to combat children’s anxiety and fear during the pandemic. Capacity-building funding of $1.5 million from the Foundation will further support Smiling Mind over the next five years to grow and develop to meet the community’s future needs.

Investment Dialogue for Australian Children (Investment Dialogue), announced in May 2023. The Investment Dialogue is a joint commitment by the Australian Government and a growing number of philanthropic foundations to invest in innovative programs to reduce inter-generational disadvantage. The Ian Potter Foundation is proud to be part of this collaborative effort, and we are providing $1.6 million to ARACY to be the convenor of the Investment Dialogue. You can read more about the Investment Dialogue on pages 10-12 of our Annual Grants Report for 2022-23.

The grant to ARACY was the largest of six grants (totalling $4,241,000) awarded within the Early Childhood Development program in fiscal 2023.

The Community Wellbeing program awarded $3.5 million across 12 grants, including $1 million to Children’s Ground as core funding support to expand the Children’s Ground model of education, employment pathways and wellbeing for Aboriginal children and their families.

Seven Public Health Research grants totalling $3.5 million will fund projects to support better health for all Australians, from children to adults 65+ years, and will serve a range of demographic groups, including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), Indigenous Australians, at-risk youth and the chronically ill (see more on page 20 of our Annual Grants Report).

In Medical Research, 17 grants ($2 million) were awarded to leading research institutes nationwide to fund the state-of-the-art equipment they need to investigate debilitating diseases and develop new and better treatments.

Ten Environment grants totalling over $7.7 million were awarded. The funded projects span large-scale research, on-ground conservation, cross-sectoral partnerships to protect fragile ecosystems and capacity building of established organisations. The majority of projects supported are based in outer regional or remote areas, from the University of Western Australia’s ‘Protecting Peatland Ecosystems in Southwestern Australia’ ($1.36 million) to the University of Tasmania’s ‘Safeguarding Natural Values of the Great Southern Reef’ ($2 million). 

Of the eleven Arts program area grants awarded, four (totalling $2.3 million) are supporting first-time grant recipients of the Foundation and all leading organisations in their fields (read more on page 26). A further $1.5 million was awarded to existing partners to complete successful programs. In addition, $1.8 million in funding went to The Ian Potter Cultural Trust to fund professional development for emerging artists.

I would like to welcome Paul Conroy, who assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer in March 2023. Paul came to the Foundation with a strong background in the commercial, professional services and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently, Paul was Chief Executive Officer of FareShare, a volunteer-led organisation (and a previous grantee of the Foundation) that converts rescued food into nutritious meals for people in need.

On behalf of our Board of Governors, I thank Craig Connelly for his outstanding contribution to the Foundation as Chief Executive Officer over the past seven years. Craig’s dedication to improving the Foundation’s internal capability and processes during his tenure will enhance the impact of our grant making for many years to come.

Lastly, I thank my fellow Board members and the Foundation’s staff for their continued hard work and commitment to The Ian Potter Foundation and its goals.