Chairman's Report 2016-17

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Artist's impression of The Ian Potter Southbank Centre at Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne. Image courtesy of John Wardle Architects.

The following was first published in the 2016-17 Annual Report of The Ian Potter Foundation.

The establishment of the Major Grants stream ensures the Foundation's tradition of large, catalytic grants will continue to assist the delivery of significant projects designed to benefit our community. This year the Foundation made eight major grants totaling $25m. These grants include assisting in the funding of a new Creative Industry and Performing Arts centre at the University of Tasmania; a purpose built, modern facility that will be the base of Orygen’s National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health; and the new Taronga Institute of Science and Learning that will establish Australia as regional leader and global contributor to conservation science and learning. I invite you to read more about these and other Major Grants awarded in 2017 at page x of this report.

Reviewing and revising our funding objectives is an ongoing process of the Foundation.  During the 2016–2017 period, the Board approved changes to the funding objectives for the Education, Health & Disability and Community Wellbeing program areas.  These changes increase the focus of our giving in  these program areas, reflecting the learnings from the ongoing evaluation of the Foundation’s grantmaking as well as considering leading research and international best practice identifying how best to maximise the impact of our grantmaking.  

During the year time and effort was put into proactively engaging with grantees and sector leaders through an increasing variety of outreach activities, led by our CEO, Craig Connelly and our three program managers, Alberto Furlan, Nicole Bortone and Louise Arkles.

To ensure this proactive approach is applied consistently, the Board of Governors decided earlier this year to implement a change to the frequency of open funding rounds. From 2018 each program area (with the exception of Knowledge & Learning) will be open for applications only once a year.  The Board believes that this will allow Governors and staff the time to identify and develop relationships with outstanding organisations which are leading their sectors, and thus facilitate a variety of interesting and potentially impactful grant applications for consideration.

This year’s Annual Report seeks to share with you some of the outstanding organisations, projects and people with whom the Foundation is partnering.  We also share with you some of the key measures we are using to demonstrate how we believe our grantmaking is becoming more impactful. In the Facts & Figures section of this report (p. 8) we have included new metrics designed to illustrate the changing nature of our grantmaking.   There are three key changes the Board believe are most significant:

  1. We are awarding fewer but larger, more targeted grants
  2. Our larger grants are spread over a number of years, and  
  3. We are collaborating more with other granting organisations.

This year the Foundation’s received two awards, namely Outstanding Social Impact Measuring Funding Organisation 2017 awarded by the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia (SIMNA); and the Philanthropy Australia 2017 Environmental Philanthropy Award for support of Reef Life Survey. It is gratifying for the Foundation’s work to be acknowledged by the philanthropic sector in this way.

I would like to thank my fellow Governors for their counsel and commitment to the Foundation, and to our Chief Executive Officer, Craig Connelly and our excellent staff for the dedication and professionalism they bring to their roles.

Charles Goode AC


annual report,Charles Goode,grantmaking

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