Fair - Early Childhood Development


  • To support innovative programs and sector initiatives in early childhood (0–8 years old), including programs that recognise and foster parental engagement in their children’s learning and development.

Round Information

Expression of Interest

Monday 14 March 2022
Thursday 7 April 2022

Grants Announced

late October 2022

Image supplied by Smiling Mind.

Funding guidelines

The early years are a critical period for brain development.  Learning patterns are established at a young age and many students who start school behind, stay behind.  Nearly one quarter (22%) of Australian children are vulnerable on one or more developmental domains when they start school (Mitchell Institute 2014); they are commencing primary school already behind.

If a child does not learn to read by age eight, it is difficult for them to catch up (Pfost et al, 2014).  Early interventions are both cost-effective in that they reduce long-term costs to society, have the benefit of early mitigation of problems that can cause significant lifelong anguish and enhance the chances of our young people being good future citizens.

To improve learning and development outcomes for children this stream supports:

  • innovative programs and sector initiatives in early childhood (0–8 years old) including, in particular, programs that recognise and foster parental engagement in their children’s learning and development.  

Applications targeting children who are highly vulnerable will be prioritised, as will projects that identify or support the development of evidence and shared measurement tools. 

Important to know

  • Applicants MUST speak with the relevant Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be eligible to apply.  Schedule a phone call
  • In general, the recommended minimum grant amount for institutions and organisations is $100,000 and these are usually considered as multi-year grants.
  • We encourage all organisations to apply regardless of their size; in the case of smaller organisations, the award can be for small amounts over multiple years.
  • Proposals that are collaborative and/or share knowledge with the broader sector are encouraged.
  • The Ian Potter Foundation rarely awards the full amount of any project.  Please ensure that you have identified other potential funders prior to applying. 
  • Please also refer to the Funding Principles section for further information.


Under the terms of the deed of The Ian Potter Foundation and Australian taxation laws, The Ian Potter Foundation can only make grants to organisations with BOTH Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Item 1 and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status.

Please make sure you read the funding guidelines and specific exclusions for this funding area before you apply.


Specific Exclusions

The Foundation is not able to directly fund schools or early childhood service providers.

General Exclusions

Projects that fall into any of the following categories will not be considered for funding:
• Retrospective funding – projects which are already underway or which will commence prior to the date indicated in our online application information are not eligible for consideration
• Recurrent expenditure for which there is no future provision
• Capital or endowment funds established to fund a chair or to provide a corpus for institutions
• Research for undergraduate, masters or doctoral students
• Auspicing* is not permitted – the organisation applying must be the one that will run the program or project
• Applications for public charitable purposes outside the Commonwealth of Australia**
• Applications for projects that have previously been declined by the Foundation cannot be resubmitted
• Applications will not be accepted from organisations that have not successfully acquitted previous grants from the Foundation
• We do not directly support schools.

Auspicing refers to the practice of an ineligible organisation (one that does not have DGR and TCC status) applying to the Foundation via an eligible organisation. Auspicing arrangements are excluded under the Foundation's guidelines. The organisation applying to the Foundation must be the organisation that will run the project or program for which a grant is being sought.

** Geographical constraints on grants
The Foundation is limited to providing money, property or benefits for public charitable purposes in the Commonwealth of Australia. However, the Foundation is able to provide a grant for activities outside the Commonwealth if the grant is made for a public charitable purpose in the Commonwealth. For example, a grant might be made to an Australian university to enable it to fund an overseas study tour by an Australian researcher engaged by the university.

Application Process

Two-stage applications process

Grant requests for Arts are considered via a two-stage process. The first stage is an Expression of Interest (EOI).  All EOIs are reviewed and selected applicants are then invited to proceed to the second stage and submit a full application.

You can preview the EOI and Full Application forms. To improve your chance of success, we suggest you also check out: Tips & Hints, FAQs, Grants Database (please note grants made prior to 2020 will be categorised under Education).

The online application system can only be accessed from this page when a funding round is open for this funding area.

Step 1: Read ALL the information on this program area page to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and program area objectives before you begin.

Step 2: Speak with the relevant Program Manager before preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Step 3: Select 'Apply for a Grant' tab below. This tab will only appear when applications are open.

Step 4: You will then need to login by entering your username and password or create an account by clicking New Applicant?

Step 5: Complete the Eligibility Quiz. If you meet eligibility requirements, you will proceed to the Expression of Interest online form. After you save and close you can re-access your Expression of Interest via the My Account link using your username and password. 

Step 6: If your Expression of Interest is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Step 7: Complete your full application (Stage 2) online. We require all supporting documents to be submitted as part of the online application by 5:00 pm AEST deadline on the closing date. 

What happens next?

All grant applications are considered by the Board of Governors at the Foundation’s board meetings, which are held three times a year in April, September & December.

You will be advised of the outcome of your application by phone or email.


Not Currently Open for Applications


Support Australia's most innovative projects through a donation to The Ian Potter Foundation. Your donation will support projects that address areas of particular need or opportunity, managed by credible organisations with solid track records in their particular fields.

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