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 30 March 2020
Friday 17 April 2020

Grants Announced

mid September 2020

Image courtesy of Deakin University, Trial of Toddler Development Instrument (TDI) project.

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.
  • The Foundation only considers grant applications in excess of $100,000 in this program area. 
  • Collaborative, multi-year initiatives are encouraged.
  • The Ian Potter Foundation rarely awards the full amount of any project.  Please ensure that you have alternative providers of funding, and that your application clearly considers any possible grant from the Foundation in this context.  We are unlikely to fund 100% of a project cost.
  • Please also refer to the Foundation’s Funding Principles section for further guidance.


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

Due to tax requirements the Foundation is not able to directly fund schools nor early childhood centres.

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

Ready to begin?

Grant requests for Early Childhood Development are considered via a two-stage Expression of Interest process. You can preview the EOI information you will be required to submit.

To improve your chance of success, check out: Tips & Hints, FAQs, Grants Database (please note grants made prior to 2020 will be categorised under Education).

The online application can only be accessed when a funding round is open.

Application Process

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). Ensure your application is submitted by 5:00 pm AEST on the closing date.

We require a hard copy including all supporting documents as well as the online application. Both must be received by the 5:00 pm AEST deadline on the closing date. Applications may be sent by courier or hand-delivered. Applications postmarked with the closing date will not be accepted.

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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