CEO Report September 2019

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Photo by Zachary DeBottis from CC0-BY

I am pleased to announce two significant developments at The Ian Potter Foundation.

The first will affect all not-for-profits planning to apply for grants from The Ian Potter Foundation from Round 1, 2020, which opens in early November 2019.

After a lengthy review by our grants management staff and consideration by the Board, the Foundation will implement revised funding guidelines aligned directly with our vision for a Fair, Healthy, Sustainable and Vibrant Australia.   I foreshadowed this change in the last issue of The Seahorse (#34 May 2019).

The Foundation’s Board of Governors believes these revised funding guidelines will lead to more impactful and catalytic grantmaking. Strong alignment of the Foundation’s vision with its grantmaking, combined with focused and narrowed funding guidelines will allow our program management team to become ‘subject matter experts’, ensuring the Foundation can engage and partner with not-for-profit sector leaders to achieve the greatest impact across a range of issues.

I look forward to seeing applications from the not-for-profit sector that meet the revised funding criteria.  See here for details of the revised guidelines.

The second development relates to an exciting new undertaking by The Ian Potter Foundation, in partnership with The Myer Foundation.  

Over the past year, The Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation have co-funded a study of significant issues affecting Australia’s freshwater systems to understand how philanthropic investment might transform the management of Australia’s freshwater resources, protect the ecological integrity of those resources and ensure Australia’s long-term water security.

This research, conducted by two leading research consulting firms, led to a key recommendation to establish a new organisation that is intended to be an independent, trusted source of water and catchment policy advice with a specific mandate to achieve improved management of Australia’s land and water resources that will benefit all Australians. 

This recommendation was recently approved by the Boards of both The Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation. Both foundations have committed $5 million each to this project over a 10-year period, conditional on raising a further $25m in commitments. In the weeks and months ahead, representatives from both Foundations will seek co-funding support from prospective funding partners as we seek to establish this important entity with adequate funding support to sustain it for at least a 10-year timeframe.

This is a bold ambition, in a highly contested and complex area. Consistent with The Myer Foundation’s successful planning that led to the creation of ClimateWorks Australia, both Foundations believe the evidence gathered as a result of an extensive and thorough research project conducted over the past 12 months presents a compelling opportunity for Australian philanthropy to establish an organisation that is intended to have a meaningful and lasting impact of the management of Australia’s most precious resource: fresh water.

The Ian Potter Foundation continues to be committed to supporting the best minds and research to address fundamental issues affecting the future sustainability of our environment and the lives of all Australians.  

We are excited about this next era in the Foundation’s grantmaking as we continue to honour the legacy of our founder and benefactor, Sir Ian Potter, and his commitment that the Foundation make a difference to Australia.


CEO report,Craig Connelly,funding priorities,grants,strategic plan

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