December 16 2021

Grants Round Up December 2021

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Hotel corridor
Since 2019, White Box Enterprises has developed and supported 16 new social enterprise projects, including Hotel Housekeeping.

In the latest funding round, the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation approved 22 grants worth $13,924,000. These included $11,750,000 awarded to five organisations as Major grants, $1,527,000 in Arts grants, $530,000 in Community Wellbeing grants, and $117,000 in smaller impact enhancement grants. 

Major grants

The five Major grants awarded in the latest funding round span the Fair, Healthy and Sustainable pillars. 

White Box Enterprises
White Box – Capacity funding
$2,500,000 over 5 years

This multi-year capacity building grant will allow White Box to grow and diversify its business income streams.

Since its inception in 2019, White Box has developed and supported 16 new social enterprise projects, including seven of its own ventures, assisting the creation of more than 400 jobs. This work has been undertaken as a lean start-up operation.

White Box is now at a critical point needing consistent medium-term capacity-building funding that will enable them to:

  • Strengthen its current ventures and provide additional organisational support to these ventures
  • Ensure that the systems change initiatives have the best chance of success
  • Develop internal operational capacity with key positions such as COO, CFO and shared services support, and
  • Build a pipeline of income-generating activities that will support ongoing sustainability by FY27.

In 2020 the Foundation awarded White Box $450,000 over three years to help the organisation develop its social enterprise pipeline. This work is progressing very well, with the grantee directly establishing three social enterprises in the last 12 months employing over 150 people and supporting the expansion of another four social enterprises employing over 100 people.

White Box has become a preeminent organisation in the social enterprise sector. It is Australia's leading social business incubator and will host the 2022 Social Enterprise World Forum. White Box aims to be financially self-sustaining with operations funded primarily through revenue-generating activities.

Unison Housing
Make Room
$1,750,000 over 3 years

The Make Room project is a partnership between the City of Melbourne (Council), Unison Housing, the Victorian Government and philanthropic organisations to address the critical needs of people experiencing primary homelessness (rough sleeping) in Melbourne’s CBD. The Make Room project will provide supported accommodation for people for up to 12 months with the requisite wraparound support services to prepare and transition people into longer-term sustainable housing.

The $20 million project will focus on repurposing a Council-owned building located in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, into specialist homelessness accommodation.

Unison is a Registered Housing Association that develops and manages social, transitional and affordable housing for people on low incomes in Victoria. Unison connects people to safe and affordable short, medium or long-term accommodation combined with support to address any issues that may have contributed to their fragile housing situation. Unison will be the developer and operator of the property, having decades of experience housing the most vulnerable community members and providing homelessness support services.

Hello Sunday Morning
Building Capacity for Growth
$2,500,000 over 5 years

Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) was established in 2010 as a start-up online peer-support community aimed at helping people struggling with their alcohol consumption. It has since evolved into a digital health organisation that combines the strength of this online peer community with clinical best practice and digital technology to help individuals change their relationship with alcohol.

HSM is now implementing their new strategy to develop into a robust digital health service focused on expanding and implementing evidence-informed clinical digital innovation.

Alcohol use disorder is a serious and growing concern in Australia, further worsened by the pandemic which has seen alcohol sales soar and increased consumption across the nation during lockdowns. Currently, 90% of people with a substance use disorder do not access appropriate treatment, and those who do try to access services report that access to alcohol programs is limited.

Significant wait times exist across the Alcohol & Other Drugs treatment sector, with research by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation suggesting that up to 500,000 Australians can't get the help they need from alcohol and other treatment services – they are either not available or the waiting lists are too long. This issue is compounded by a shortage of qualified health professionals who are appropriately trained in alcohol use disorder and co-occurring illnesses.

HSM is developing new models of care and clinical pathways for priority groups with co-occurring issues and facilitating a stepped model of care approach to other programs and services. HSM's partnerships and referral pathways will enhance both uptake of the Daybreak app for consumers seeking early intervention and those seeking post-treatment support via an accessible digital 'front door'.

To realise this strategy, HSM needs to build its capacity to be able to continually improve the quality and safety of its services; build its workforce and leadership capability in online alcohol support services; and improve system-wide knowledge and capacity of digital health solutions in alcohol support interventions which in turn will ensure continued success across competitive grant schemes and funding to support delivery of high-quality research development programs.

Achieving these goals will allow HSM to continue to successfully grow, attract ongoing funding to support the delivery of effective programs and improve the health outcomes and lives of those battling alcohol dependence.

University of New South Wales
Centre for Future Health Systems – Flagship Research Centre
$2,500,000 over 5 years

This grant supports the University of New South Wales to establish and deliver the Centre for Future Health Systems, a flagship research centre in the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct.

Australia's healthcare system is recognised as one of the best in the OECD, but it is also facing significant challenges, including increasing demand and healthcare costs, over-reliance on treatment versus prevention, and inequities in healthcare outcomes and access to services.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has sharpened the focus on many of these issues, particularly the benefits of prevention and the unacceptable levels of inequity in healthcare access and outcomes.

Seizing this opportunity, the UNSW Centre for Future Health Systems (Centre) will provide leadership in health systems research and implementation, both within NSW and across Australia, bringing together the expertise of health system researchers across all UNSW faculties and over 30 Precinct partner organisations.

The Centre will provide leadership in the design, assessment, and execution of innovative health systems research. In partnership with clinicians, local health districts, government, industry, other universities, key community organisations and consumers, the Centre will design, implement, monitor, and evaluate solutions to address design, policy and service delivery challenges across the sector. This work has the potential to directly impact the performance of the whole Australian health system.

Partnerships are central to this initiative, including collaborators from local health districts, medical research institutes, university research groups, established health alliances, and other Australian research leaders.

This major grant represents a foundational investment to assist in the establishment of the Centre. Once confirmed primary research themes are established, the Centre will enable new opportunities for large-scale funding through schemes including Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), MRFF Frontiers and NHMRC Synergy grants and Centres of Research Excellence, as well as from partner organisations to deliver collaborative research projects.  This ambitious initiative aims to develop solutions to one of the most intractable problems in health in Australia – the design of an equitable and accessible healthcare system to benefit all Australians. 

Invasive Species Council
Building a stronger Invasive Species Council to prevent extinctions and restore ecological health
$2,500,000 over 5 years

In its 20th year (2022), the Invasive Species Council (ISC) is embarking on a multi-staged strategic initiative, focusing on organisational development to strengthen its impact on protecting Australia's unique biodiversity. This multi-year capacity-building grant will support this ambitious project, enabling ISC to secure an additional 12–15 staff with expertise in invasive species analysis and management, policy reform, communications, fundraising, stakeholder partnerships, and community mobilisation.

ISC is well-positioned to contemplate substantial growth and increased impact, having developed a robust six-year organisational strategic plan, including an Impact Strategy, an Implementation Plan, and a Fundraising Plan. 

The Ian Potter Foundation will also provide non-monetary assistance, supporting the ISC to identify other like-minded funders to leverage the Foundation’s initial financial investment into additional philanthropic and government funding that will be needed to sustain the Invasive Species Council’s impact beyond the term of this grant.


In the Arts program, eight grants totalling $1,527,000 were awarded to support successful existing professional development and mentoring programs and new projects designed to support the arts sector as a whole to develop, collaborate and reach new audiences. Read more...

Community Wellbeing

Three Community Wellbeing grants totalling $530,000.

Impact Enhancement Grants

Impact Enhancement grants are small grants (up to $25,000) that are made to support natural extensions or enhancements of existing grants. These grants often support activities such as communicating outcomes, promoting or disseminating resources, attending conferences or sector events, or evaluating projects.

In this round, the following six organisations received Impact Enhancement grants. 

  • Australian Research Alliance of Children and Youth (ARACY)
  • Climate and Health Alliance
  • International Specialised Skills Institute (ISSI)
  • State Schools' Relief
  • The Trustee for Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
  • University of Wollongong: Early Start Institute

Further details on all grants awarded in this round can be found in the Grants Database.