The Foundation continues to proactively seek partnerships with sector leaders wanting to build their capacity, initiate innovative programs and/or scale up proven approaches. This year 142 grants totaling $24,633,452 were awarded to many long-term as well as new not-for-profit partners.
Of this total, $10,703,600 was awarded to grantees through the Foundation’s program areas and $13,426,726 was awarded in the form of seven major grants. Across the program areas, we see proportionally more funding allocated to Community Wellbeing, Environment & Conservation and Science, which is due to some large multi-year grants being awarded in these program areas. These grants represent continued support for three key long-term partners of the Foundation and a significant investment with one new partner.
In Community Wellbeing, $750,000 (over three years) was awarded to the Tomorrow Today Foundation and marks 10 years of support by The Ian Potter Foundation towards this innovative whole-of-community approach to improving the lives of young people in Benalla. The Kimberley Foundation Australia, first funded by the Foundation in 2008, was awarded a $600,000 Science grant towards an early career research fellowship in rock art. The Foundation continued its support of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network with a further $200,000 grant for two additional years of untied core funding to this very effective organisation.
A $1,000,000 multi-year Environment & Conservation grant was awarded to the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University to undertake a highly collaborative and innovative project to develop a tool to better manage water catchment areas in SE Queensland.
The Board has continued to review and refine funding objectives across all program areas. This approach in conjunction with our thorough organisational due diligence process ensures the Foundation’s grantmaking continues to aspire to achieving the greatest impact.
Within the major grants stream, the Board decided to focus our initial grant making on two key areas:
- Large scale projects designed to benefit Indigenous Australians, that are consistent with the Foundation’s funding guidelines for Indigenous projects.
- Demonstration projects that seek to build accommodation for the homeless, such projects to be potentially scalable and replicable nationally.
In December 2017, the Board approved five major grants in support of sector leaders with programs addressing these fundamental areas of need. It is interesting to note that each of these grants represents a new multi-year partnership for the Foundation.
Seed Foundation was awarded a capacity building grant for an innovative wrap-around service that supports Indigenous students to move into health careers. The Clontarf Foundation has been supported to enable the extension of their successful Clontarf Academy in Cairns. Both organisations support early intervention programs that encourage young Indigenous Australians to complete their school education and develop Aboriginal leadership thereby ensuring work and further education opportunities.
In this report, we review the Foundation’s history of grantmaking in support of Indigenous people and their communities. Over the past two decades the Foundation has deliberately elected to invest in projects focused on improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people that were truly catalytic and long-term. Through evaluation of our grants over the past 10 years we know that strategic evidence-based multi-year grants achieve the best outcomes. Awarding two major capacity building grants to Seed Foundation and The Clontarf Foundation is a deliberate continuation of this approach.
Three other major grants awarded this year are in the second area of focus: homelessness and the growing need for affordable housing. These are complex problems requiring innovative long-term thinking to find sustainable solutions. With this in mind, the Board has awarded grants to projects which scale up proven models such as Hope Street’s Youth Mobile Outreach Service or are approaching entrenched problems in an innovative way such as Homes for Homes and HammondCare. To read more about these grants, see page 28 of our Annual Grants Report 2017-18.
For the first time, we include the Foundation’s Finance and Investment statement for the fiscal year. All past financial statements for the Foundation are publicly available via Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission website.
I 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 their dedication and professionalism over the past year.
Lastly, it is with enormous gratitude that the Foundation’s Board bids farewell to Professor Graeme Ryan who will leave the Board at the end of 2018. Professor Ryan has been a strong advocate for the importance of research across all health sectors, and his work with the Foundation’s Medical Research and Health & Disability committees has ensured many Australian medical research teams have access to the technology they need. His commitment to strengthening the scientific equipment base in Australian medical research facilities has improved Australia’s capacity for world-class research and resulted in the retention of many leading Australian researchers who otherwise would have been enticed overseas to pursue their research. In turn, these researchers have gone on to mentor future generations of Australian early career researchers who are now undertaking further ground-breaking research.
Professor Ryan’s wealth of knowledge and his insight into the issues affecting medical and health research have served the Foundation extremely well over the past 30 years. Further, his quiet and unassuming manner while diligently working to get things done has gained him the respect and admiration of his fellow Board members and the staff of the Foundation. His legacy is a substantial one and he will be greatly missed by all. The Board and I thank him for his contribution and wish him well in retirement.