Timeline of The Foundation


2019 Four Funding Pillars

At the September 2019 Board meeting, the Governors approved the establishment of four funding pillars - Vibrant, Healthy, Fair and Sustainable.

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$13.4m in major grants awarded to 7 organisations.

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The Ian Potter Foundation joins Glasspockets


Introduction of the Major Grants stream to the Foundation's grant making to sit alongside existing program areas.

Annual grants of $36m including new Major Grants.
$10 million to the State Library.


New CEO appointed

Former financier and businessman, Craig Connelly is appointed as the Foundation's fifth Chief Executive Officer, December 2015.

New CEO from December 2015


Celebrating our 50th was a fantastic opportunity to retrace our footsteps and revisit many of the people and projects that we have worked with over the years. Some of these are featured in a special commemorative 50th Anniversary book, 'The Ian Potter Foundation, 50 Years: Looking Back, Reaching Forward.'

The Ian Potter Foundation, 50 years

50th anniversary book


Celebrating The Ian Potter Foundation's 50th Anniversary, 1964-2014

The Ian Potter Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary with $5.5m in commemorative grants, a series of receptions at Government House in each state and territory, a gala dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria and the production of a celebratory book, The Ian Potter Foundation 50 Years: Looking Back, Reaching Forward

50 Years Making a Difference


In 2014 the Foudation's total grant distributions exceed $200 million. The Foundation's staff numbers 12 employees.


The Ian Potter Cultural Trust celebrates its 20th anniversary.

An evening of entertainment and celebration marked The Ian Potter Cultural Trust's 20th anniversary.

Featuring live performances of dance, theatre, music and on-stage interviews with past Cultural Trust grantees, this special Gala Night was held at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust


Annual grant distributions exceed $20 million for the first time.


The Foundation's corpus reaches $500 million.


'Ian Potter - A Biography' by Peter Yule is published.


Janet Hirst appointed Chief Executive Officer (until 2015)


The Alec Prentice Sewell Gift established following his $8 million bequest to the Foundation.

Professor Kerry Bennett appointed Chief Executive Officers (until 2005)


Commemorative dinner for the anniversary of Sir Ian Potter's 100th birthday


The Foundation's largest gift to date: $15 million to NGV Australia


Executive secretary Pat Feilman retires. Dr Dorothy Scott appointed Chief Executive Officer (until 2004).


1996 - seahorse motif officially adopted as the Foundation's logo


Augmented by Sir Ian's will, the Foundation's corpus reaches $100 million.


Charles Goode appointed Chairman of the Board of Governors


Death of Sir Ian Potter, aged 92.


The Ian Potter Cultural Trust established

6 grants awarded valuing $13,700


Corpus exceeds $40 million.


Annual grant distributions exceed $1 million for the first time.


Sir Ian Potter appointed a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.


Sir Ian marries Primrose Dunlop (Lady Potter)


Board of Governors formalise guidelines for assessing grant applications


The seahorse motif appears on the first distribution report of the Foundation.


Annual grant distributions exceed $100,000


26 June 1964, first meeting of the Governors of The Ian Potter Foundation. Trust deed signed.

First grants totalling 28,000 pounds approved.


Patricia Feilman appointed Executive Secretary of The Ian Potter Foundation


Federal Treasurer, Harold Holt, introduce amendment to the Income Tax Assessment Act authorising deductions for gifts to a public philanthropic.


Ian Potter awarded the Knight Bachelor for public service.


In 1962, Ian Potter's first major philanthropic gift helps establish the Howard Florey Institute.

Sir Ian Potter's passion for medical research began before he established his own philanthropic organisation. The Howard Florey Institute for Experimental Physiology and Medicine was opened in 1963 by Prime Minister Menzies and Howard Florey himself.

Helping set up the Florey spiked Sir Ian's interest in the power of philanthropy. This experience motivated him to set up his own foundation.
Ian Potter awarded the Knight Bachelor for public service.


Ian Potter, the young man


August 25, William Ian Potter born in Kogarah, NSW.

William Ian Potter was born in Kogarah, a south Sydney suburb on Botany Bay on 25 August 102. His father was a charming wastrel, who lost his wife Louisa's inheritance on a series of failed business ventures. Young Bill (as his family called him) was educated at Cleveland Street Intermediate High School in Redfern but left school at the age of 14.

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