October 20 2022

Grants Round Up October 2022

By The Ian Potter Foundation

A man doing craft with his young son surround by other parents and pre-school age children
Parents and their preschool-aged children attend over 7500 Playgroups around Australia to help children develop essential social skills prior to starting school. Image: Playgroup Australia.

In the Foundation's latest funding round, $15,990,344 was awarded across 34 grants.

These included $7,222,000 to seven Environment grants, ten Community Wellbeing grants (totalling $3,513,000), four grants in the Early Childhood Development program ($2,495,000), plus a further three grants ($1,615,000) funded by The Alec Prentice Sewell Gift.  

In the Arts program, a grant of $720,000 was awarded to Takso, an adaptive evaluation tool that aims to enhance the evaluation capacity of the cultural sector, and $215,344 was distributed to The Ian Potter Cultural Trust to fund grants for individual artists.

A total of $210,000 was also awarded in Impact Enhancement grants to support a range of existing partner projects.  

See the full list of grants in our Grants Database.

Grants Database

Here is a selection of grants awarded in this round.

Environment grants

 Landcare Victoria Inc

New Futures for Community Landcare
$945,000 over 3 years

Landcare Victoria Inc. is a peak membership body that represents community landcare in Victoria and serves as an influential voice for the landcare movement, supporting communities to achieve integrated sustainable agriculture and environmental outcomes.

The New Futures for Community Landcare project will invest in increasing the capacity of landcare networks across Victoria to develop investment-ready project plans that shift the emphasis of landcare from a focus on management problems to the delivery of financed landscape-scale solutions.

This three-year capacity-building grant will support the development of the Landcare network strategic plan to attract investment, including in the green finance markets. This project will broker new partnerships for landcare to ensure access to relevant expertise and new funding sources. The aim is to build and strengthen community capacity and help to modernise and adapt the landcare sector while retaining the key community-driven strengths that have driven its past successes.

Nature Foundation Limited

Restoring nature's ark: towards a feral free Kangaroo Island
$1.25m over 4 years

Nature Foundation and the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board have been working in partnership to eradicate feral cats on Kangaroo Island in South Australia since 2018. Nature Foundation's role is primarily to provide fundraising capacity and raise public awareness of Kangaroo Island as a nature sanctuary. Kangaroo Island Landscape Board (KILB) is the on-ground partner with the scientific expertise and land management staff to deliver the program.

This project is highly collaborative, with 12 partner agencies and 99% of landholders asked to participate across the Dudley Peninsula agreeing to grant access to their lands for cameras and cage traps.

KILB will lead this project to deliver the proof-of-concept that Kangaroo Island can be feral-free by completing the eradication of feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula. The ultimate objective is to make the whole of Kangaroo Island feral free. This will take time and more funds to deliver, the exact amount of which is hard to estimate (perhaps between $20M - $30M over ten years) but ultimately should be the responsibility of the State and Federal governments.

Should the whole of Kangaroo Island be free from cats, this would be a world first in a mixed-use (national parks, tourism, and agricultural production) inhabited island of this size.

Murdoch University – Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems

Creating new fire-fighting water sources that enhance the resilience of biodiversity to climate change 
$470,000 over 4 years

The research team at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems has found that fire-fighting waterpoints can mimic natural refuge pools to maintain freshwater biodiversity, including threatened species. New waterpoints could therefore be created that benefit fire control and aquatic and riparian biodiversity. While this potential is becoming recognised by both fire control and conservation agencies, the construction of new waterpoints is currently hindered by an inadequate understanding of the characteristics that make fire-fighting waterpoints effective as biodiversity refuges.

This project will fill this critical knowledge gap by identifying important characteristics that make fire-fighting waterpoints effective biodiversity refuges, using data collected by citizen scientists. It will then develop and experimentally test a framework for constructing waterpoints that optimises water availability for fire control and conservation benefit.

At least 60 citizen scientists will conduct surveys across and area of ~5,000 sq km in southwest Western Australia, assisting with analysis via an online portal (Zooliverse.org) with 1.6 million registered users globally.

The WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions (DBCA) have agreed to build 30 new waterpoints using the framework designed by the research team to test the model. Deakin University is also a project partner and will test the framework in the Grampians in Victoria to ensure it can be scaled and applied more widely throughout temperate Australia.

Charles Darwin University

The Northern Australian Community Groundwater Security Project
$450,000 over 3 years

Access to freshwater for drinking is vital for the existence of towns and remote communities across the tropics and arid regions of northern Australia. Water is also needed for the cattle industry, mining, agriculture, and horticulture and plays an important role in cultural stories and connection to country for Indigenous people.

However, community concerns about overuse and pollution of freshwater aquifers are escalating, yet there are substantial knowledge gaps around northern Australian surface water and groundwater systems.

The remoteness and vastness of the tropical and arid regions of northern Australia mean that community engagement is the only way that information can be collected effectively across such a large spatial scale.

This project seeks to increase the understanding of the quantity and quality of the groundwater resources available to local communities and the environment across Northern Australia through a community-based data collection and interpretation project. Samples collected from up to 560 groundwater bores (wells) will be collected by citizen scientists, with GPS locations, conditions and dates entered directly into an App. The samples will be sent to Charles Darwin University (CDU) for analysis, and the results will be fed back to the communities via the same app in user-friendly graphical and text formats.

The CDU team plan to engage approximately 150 participants from across the NT and northern WA, including pastoralists, farmers, Indigenous ranger groups, schools, and community groups. Participants will be provided with water sampling kits and the training needed to take part in the project.

This project is a collaboration between two freshwater ecologists and a hydrogeologist and project partners Gaia Resources (app and website developer), Inspired NT (NT government body) and the Northern WA and Northern Territory Innovation Hub (NWANT). Pew Outback to Oceans program and the Environment Centre NT are also non-financial partners who will promote the project widely to their networks.

Community Wellbeing

Women's Property Initiative
WPI Capacity Building support
$600,000 over 3 years

Women's Property Initiatives (WPI) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2022. From its beginnings as The Victorian Women's Housing Association, WPI has become a well-regarded Community Housing Provider for one of the most vulnerable demographics experiencing (or at risk of) homelessness: women and their children and women aged 55+.

WPI currently owns 105 properties, housing over 250 women and children, with further properties in the pipeline or leading into construction. WPI also manages 140 properties from other providers.

This capacity-building grant will assist WPI in embarking on an ambitious growth plan by supporting the core costs of the organisation. As WPI draws most of its income from rent and property management revenue, growth in the capacity to manage its property portfolio through hiring additional property managers will increase the core revenue and ensure the organisation's sustainability.

I CAN Network Ltd
Enhancing the employability prospects of Autistic young adults within and beyond I CAN Network
$230,000 over 3 years

Australia's first social enterprise founded by Autistics in 2014, I CAN Network was established to drive a rethink of Autism from 'I Can't' to 'I CAN' and create support networks for young people through mentoring programs. With 104 staff, it is now Australia's largest Autistic-led organisation. Currently, I CAN Network reaches more than 2,000 Autistic/neurodivergent young people across Australia each year with strengths-based mentoring programs.

In 2017, I CAN Network pioneered an Online Mentoring Program, which is now ICAN's fastest-growing service and makes up about 50% of its service provision.

This capacity-building grant will support I Can Network to expand on employment pathways for Autistic school leavers through a Mentor Traineeship Program and establish a Facilitator Internship Program to allow current facilitators to develop their skills with a view to gaining permanent careers in disability, allied care or education fields.

I Can Network will partner with Victoria University Polytechnic to transform three staff training modules into an award TAFE course (Certificate IV in Leadership and Management). This certification will be designed to equip Autistic staff and Autistic adults more widely and will benefit their careers long-term.

Sweet Justice

Designing a supported employment program for parolees in the beekeeping industry 
$238,000 over 3 years

Sweet Justice is a for-purpose enterprise teaching commercial beekeeping within Victoria's justice system. Founded in 2020, Sweet Justice has delivered training to over 100 students in Malmsbury, Parkville, and Beechworth correctional centres.

The main aim of Sweet Justice is to provide training and meaningful employment for people that have been involved in the justice system to reduce recidivism and strengthen the beekeeping industry.

This grant contributes to the case manager's salary, who will provide wrap-around support to the participants and employees of the program to ensure a successful transition out of the justice system.

Tender Funerals Australia Ltd

Growing Diversity in the Funeral Industry
$150,000 over 3 years

Tender Funerals was established to offer meaningful, affordable and culturally appropriate funeral services which support healthy bereavement and community connection. Tender Funerals Illawarra has been operating since 2016, and it has helped over 1,000 families. Tender Funerals Australia was created in 2019 to respond to communities around Australia who wanted to replicate the Tender Funerals model. Tender Funerals services are not-for-profit and operate as franchises of Tender Funerals Australia.

This grant supports Tender Funerals Australia to train and employ funeral directors in the Tender Funerals network who come from diverse backgrounds, particularly migrant communities and First Nations people.

Establishing and proving this pathway into the funeral industry will increase diverse representation in the broader funeral industry and increase the availability of culturally appropriate funeral practices.

Early Childhood Development 

 Murdoch Children's Research Institute

National Child and Family Hubs Network 
$395,000 over 3 years

The National Child and Family Hubs Network (Network) is a collaborative multi-disciplinary, multi-sector group that brings together Australian universities, research centres, medical research institutes, community, not-for-profit organisations, and state government departments. The Network's members are actively involved in conducting research, implementation, training, communication, and advocacy related to innovative and sustainable integrated approaches to community-based child and family hubs to equitably support the health, development and wellbeing of children and families.

Currently, there is no other coordinated group of organisations implementing and evaluating integrated community-based hubs across Australia. Over 80 child and family hubs and centres presently exist across the country, and several recent state and federal government commitments are expanding these services. There is growing interest in some form of child and family hub in most jurisdictions (including the Commonwealth). The Network is leveraging this national interest to create an opportunity for collaborative learning and sustainable and effective practice.

The newly formed Network aims to build collective capacity by providing opportunities for sharing research, resources, and networking opportunities to prevent and reduce duplication and accelerate learning. The Network will also strengthen the evidence on core components of child and family hubs and shared outcome frameworks required for effective implementation and outcomes. Ultimately the Network hopes to amplify the impact of hubs in Australia and champion and develop improved funding models for these important family services.

Playgroup NSW Inc

Playgroup Amplify: Explore, Engage, Support and Grow
$1 million over 5 years

In 2020, the Foundation provided a grant of $200,000 to Playgroup Australia to support families to return post-COVID. As a result of further lockdowns, widespread flooding, and venue access issues across the country, playgroup numbers have not returned nationally to what they were pre-COVID.

This capacity-building grant will support the playgroup network led by Playgroup NSW to strengthen and grow the playgroup network across Australia over the next five years to benefit more families and children.

Playgroup NSW will partner with the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Australia to improve understanding of the needs of playgroup volunteers/parents and the barriers to accessing venues. Based on the findings, the network will respond with innovative support and engagement strategies to grow the number of playgroups and members across the country and improve service quality.

The evidence is strong that playgroup provides significant benefits for both families and children. The Telethon Kids Institute has three cohorts of AEDC data confirming that children are more ready for school if they have attended playgroup, with almost 90% of playgroup families saying that their child had developed more social skills at playgroup. More than 80% of parents also felt that attending playgroup brought local families together and helped provide a sense of community.

Reimagine Australia

$350,000 over 3 years

Reimagine Australia (formerly known as Early Childhood Intervention Australia) has been the leading Australian body for early childhood outcomes for young children with developmental delay or a disability and their families since 1986. Reimagine Australia's mission is to ensure that all young children, particularly children with disability and/or developmental delays, and their families, have every opportunity to thrive.

This multi-year grant provides support to Reimagine Australia to develop an app-based program for parents named 'Huddle'. Huddle will enable easy communication and collaboration between families of young children (0–8 years) and early childhood development (ECD) professionals from parent-to-professional, and professional-to-professional, which is centred around the child and their family.

The app will allow families to create specialised "huddles" of professionals and carers for each of their child's development needs or goals to collaborate and track progress. Huddle will ease the burden for families struggling to navigate teams of professionals across multiple and complex service systems, removing stress, giving back valuable time, and enabling more substantial outcomes for their child.

The resource is being developed in response to insights gained from families and early childhood professionals and will be co-designed and tested with professionals and families. Once launched, the app will be free for families and provided at a low cost to early childhood professionals and will be embedded within Reimagine's recently launched Thrivary app as well as a separate platform.

The Alec Prentice Sewell Gift

Cool Australia

Cool Capacity Funding - Improving Education by Investing Within
$500,000 over 5 years

Established in Melbourne in 2008, Cool Australia is a leading national charity dedicated to supporting schools with co-designed, high-quality, evidence-based, real-world education resources focused on environmental, social and economic issues.

This capacity-building grant will enable Cool Australia to invest in its operations and build its capability to ensure sustainable and impactful growth going forward. Cool Australia's strategic goal is to support one million educators and parents by 2025.

Cool Australia is a well-regarded organisation in the education sector with a proven track record of delivering exceptional curriculum-aligned education materials. They currently have over 196,000 members accessing their resources and can be found in 8,919 Australian schools (92% of Australian schools). Their resources range from early years to secondary and are available free to any interested children, parents, educators, and teachers via their website.

The grant meets well with the objectives of the Alec Prentice Sewell Gift, providing capacity-building support to Cool Australia so they can expand their reach and impact and support more children and young people to engage with the environment as well as improving educational outcomes and student engagement.


For the full list of grants awarded in this round, check the Grants Database.