Image courtesy of Playgroup Australia. Playgroup contributes to good outcomes for children and families across a range of policy domains.
As previously announced in April 2020, the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation agreed to change its approach to grantmaking for the remainder of 2020 due to the unfolding health and economic crises caused by the combination of Australia’s devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July 2020, the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation held an additional special meeting at which several by-invitation grant applications were considered. Most of the grants awarded were to not-for-profit organisations in order to provide timely funding in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Margaret Reid “Kingston” bequest – 'National independent water and catchment policy centre' receives an additional $5m commitment over 10 years
In mid-May 2020, The Ian Potter Foundation was advised by the co-executors of the estate of the late Margaret Caroline Reid that the Foundation will receive a bequest valued at approximately $22.5m. This bequest, to be known as the Margaret Reid “Kingston” bequest, will be the largest ever donation received by the Foundation, aside from Sir Ian’s contributions during his life and the bequest from his estate after his passing in 1994.
Co-executors of Margaret Reid’s estate have expressed via a statement of wishes that the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation considers awarding $5m over ten years to support the launch of a national independent water and catchment policy centre. The centre is an initiative for which The Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation are currently seeking philanthropic funding partners to ensure the Centre's sustainable, independent operation.
The centre will be a new, independent, authoritative and trusted agent acting as a respected facilitator and advisor in bringing communities, experts, policymakers, Indigenous Australians, industry, regional water managers and other relevant stakeholders together in a collaborative manner assisting Australia to manage its freshwater resources sustainably for future generations. The centre’s goal will be to inform the design of better water policies nationwide and witness their implementation creating real change, thus safeguarding the future of Australia’s communities, industry and environment.
Further announcements regarding funding partners and the launch of the centre are anticipated in late 2020.
Indigenous Publishing Cadetship
$320,000 over four years
This grant will support Magabala Books, Australia’s only independent Indigenous publishing house, to implement a cadetship program for two publishing cadets, consecutively, over a four-year period. The two-year full-time position will be supported by on-the-job training and mentorship under the supervision of Rachel Bin Salleh, Australia’s only Indigenous publisher. The cadetships also include a 2-week secondment opportunity with a large/multi-national publishing house.
Magabala will offer employment to the cadets following the program should they wish to continue at Magabala, creating meaningful pathways toward leadership for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within an industry which is increasingly seeking Indigenous publishing professionals.
Established in 1987 by Kimberley Aboriginal Elders, Magabala is a not-for-profit Indigenous Corporation. Magabala publishes the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, authors, artists and illustrators from all over Australia, in a wide range of genres, including children’s picture books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and biography. A recent Magabala title is Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, 2016 winner of two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: Book of the Year and the Indigenous Writers’ Prize.
Brisbane Community Arts Centre (known as Metro Arts)
Emerging Producer xChange and Professional Development Program
$177,000 over two years
The Emerging Producer Exchange and Professional Development Program (xChange) is a joint initiative from Metro Arts in Brisbane and The Mill in Adelaide, both multi-arts organisations. The xChange program seeks to build the capacity of independent producers in the performing arts, in both cities.
Metro Arts and The Mill are equally committed to developing the careers of artists and new work while supporting artistic practice that is innovative in its form, diverse in narrative and cross-disciplinary in how and what collaboration happens.
The xChange program seeks to address the current gap in experienced and skilled producers in the independent performing arts sector due to the absence of a national initiative to upskill and support independent producers. It also creates an opportunity for cross-organisational learning.
Specifically, this grant will help fund a mentorship program for three entry-level producers each year for two years. The program will offer a 10-month internship, with two producers based at Metro Arts and one at The Mill.
KickArts Contemporary Arts Ltd (now NorthSite Contemporary Arts)
Traineeship for First Nations Arts Workers
$229 950 over three years
NorthSite Contemporary Arts have been awarded $229,950 over three years to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designated senior curator positions. This grant will support NorthSite to provide pathways into leadership for an Indigenous arts professional.
While at least half of NorthSite’s program presents the work of Indigenous artists, it currently only has one Indigenous-identifying staff member. NorthSite plays an important role in supporting and developing artists from across Northern Queensland, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and acts as the primary channel between the artwork and culture generated in regional art centres, and the public.
Originally formed as an arts collective in 1992 in Cairns, Queensland, under the name KickArts Contemporary Arts, the organisation was established to promote and present contemporary artistic practice from Far North Queensland. They have recently re-branded at NorthSite Contemporary Arts and moved to their new home at Bulmba-Ja Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns.
Civic Disability Services
This is a capacity-building grant that will support Civic Disability Services (Civic) to employ a part-time business development manager dedicated to developing partnerships and generating new business opportunities for the Civic Crews program. The Foundation awarded Civic a grant of $320,00 in 2019 to expand the Civic Crews program, a social enterprise providing supported employment opportunities for adults with a disability.
As Civic prepares to re-start its Civic Crew operations in a post-COVID19 environment, it faces new economic and business challenges. Employing a dedicated Business Manager is necessary to develop existing partnerships and generate new business opportunities for Civic Crews and therefore more employment for people with disabilities in a tougher and more competitive employment market.
This timely support is designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Civic Crews project.
Early Childhood Development
University of Wollongong
Early learning @ Home Together
$190,000 over two years
The Foundation has awarded $190,00 over two years to the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Institute towards developing an online platform to support families to provide learning in the home environment for children aged 0–5 years.
Many parents rely on early childhood services to support their pre-school children’s learning. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 and the bushfire crisis, many families are now trying to provide appropriate learning experiences at home. Families want and need easy access to evidence-based resources to keep their children on track with their learning and development and ensure their children’s school readiness.
The Early Learning @ Home platform will provide developmentally appropriate content that is easily accessible, low cost and adaptable to all home contexts allowing any parent (or guardian) to use the resources to engage in their children’s learning at home. The platform will focus on play-based learning and will increase the reach of existing resources, help deliver new content and enhance the capacity of the early childhood education and playgroup sector to engage with the home learning environment. The platform will be created in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and Playgroup Australia.
COVID-19 Recovery – Playgroup Reset
This $200,000 grant will support Playgroup Australia, the peak body for state and territory playgroup organisations, to relaunch playgroups post COVID-19, restoring an important component for families in community life.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, playgroups across the country have been forced to shut down. While largely volunteer and community-run, playgroups are an important part of the early years' sector and act as a crucial first step on the learning pathway for children. Playgroups are associated with children transitioning well into more structured learning at school. AEDC data from 2018 shows that almost 90% of playgroup families said that their child had developed more social skills at playgroup and more than 80% of parents felt that attending playgroup brought local families together and helped provide a sense of community.
Playgroup participation also builds resilience, connection and community cohesion all of which will be crucial to long term community recovery from the effects of social disruptions caused by bushfires and COVID–19 in 2020.
Centre for Policy Development
Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia: a national reform mission
The Foundation has awarded $75,000 to the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) to co-fund (together with the Minderoo Foundation) a study to assess how a universal access model for early childhood education and care (ECEC) might be rolled out in Australia. The early childhood development sector has long been calling for universal access to childcare in Australia but the costs of rolling this out have never been fully analysed.
CPD is undertaking the modelling study to examine costs of alternative approaches, international comparisons, and lifetime costs to the system of those who miss out on ECEC. The study is part of a broader initiative being led by the CPD to develop alternative ECEC policies, practices and governance arrangements in Australia.
The current impacts of COVID-19 on early childhood education and care in Australia confirm the need for future ECEC policy to ensure all Australian children are provided with the best start to life.
All grants awarded in this round can be found in the Grants Database.