Announcement of The Ian Potter National Conservatory
10 February, 2016
Speech delivered by Craig Connelly
In a country as vast and varied as Australia, few people will have the opportunity to travel to every corner to experience firsthand the extraordinary diversity of our native flora, from our verdant tropical islands to our red dirt deserts, and everything in between.
The Australian National Botanic Garden is already home to tens of thousands of native plant species from right across our magnificent continent. When The Ian Potter Foundation National Conservatory opens next year, visitors will have the opportunity to step into the wonderful world of Australia’s tropical and sub-tropical plant-life, completing the journey around our nation’s flora offered at ANBG.
This is an exciting and ambitious undertaking, and I am proud to be here today to represent The Ian Potter Foundation and join with the Australian Government and the ANBG team to launch this important project.
The Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s largest philanthropic foundations, distributing in excess of $24 million a year to our country’s leading not-for-profits across the Arts, Community Wellbeing, Education, the Environment, Medical Research and of course, Science. Every year we receive hundreds of applications for funding from organisations large and small.
Choosing which projects we will support is no easy task. $24 million may sound like a lot of money but over the 50 years since Sir Ian Potter established the Foundation, we have learned a lot about the characteristics of a successful project and how to make a limited pool of funds have maximum impact. We work hard to direct our funding to projects that will not just achieve goals in the short term, but deliver genuine, sustainable benefits to the community for years to come.
Our philanthropy is underpinned by core funding principles that guide our grant-making to achieve this. We fund prevention rather than cure, and we seek to encourage excellence in every endeavour. We look to support innovative solutions and ideas but only the ones that have the promise of sustainability and long term reach. And we seek to amplify the impact of our funds through leverage and working in partnership with others, including other philanthropic foundations and government.
There is no doubt that this project bears all these hallmarks of success. From the innovation of the sustainable, energy efficient glasshouse design; the calibre of the award-winning ANBG itself and the excellence of the management and project teams; the conservation of threatened species that will help prevent their extinction, right through to the funding partnership with the Government and the research collaborations the facility will make possible, we feel confident that The Ian Potter National Conservatory is in fact, an iconic project.
As major supporters of a number of key botanical projects around Australia, including the Ian Potter Children’s Garden in Melbourne; the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne in Victoria; the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust’s PlantBank in Mount Annan, our Foundation has a long history of investment in conservation and awareness of Australia’s truly unique native flora. We are immensely proud to commit $1.5 million to this project, and believe it will pay tremendous dividends in conservation and education. The Ian Potter National Conservatory will be stunning new addition to these magnificent gardens and the realisation of the ANBG Master Plan. For researchers, scientists, conservationists and the full spectrum of garden visitors from Australia and around the world it will offer a place for learning, discovery and wonder. Australia is blessed with such incredible diversity – now it will be accessible to all.
City News - A New Conservatory for the Botanic Gardens
The Age/Canberra Times/Sydney Morning Herald -Australian National Botanic Gardens gets $1.5m private donation for conservatory