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Ian Potter Foundation Celebrates 50th Anniversary

12 June 2014 at 9:19 am
Lina Caneva
Eleven Not for Profit organisations are to share in $5.5 million for ‘transformative projects’ as part of The Ian Potter Foundation’s special 50th Anniversary funding program.

Lina Caneva | 12 June 2014 at 9:19 am


Ian Potter Foundation Celebrates 50th Anniversary
12 June 2014 at 9:19 am

Eleven Not for Profit organisations are to share in $5.5 million for ‘transformative projects’ as part of The Ian Potter Foundation’s special 50th Anniversary funding program.

To celebrate 50 years of the Foundation, which honors the legacy of founder and benefactor, businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Potter, the funding program has awarded $5.5 million in Commemorative Grants.

From a social enterprise youth training academy to the expansion of a fresh food exchange and the establishment of a ‘wildlife biobank’, the projects have been described as transformative.

“These grants will help 11 Not for Profit organisations take a quantum leap, with projects that will deliver enduring benefits for the community,” Janet Hirst, Chief Executive Officer of The Ian Potter Foundation said.

“Having granted over $200 million to thousands of projects over the past 50 years, it seemed fitting that the Foundation’s 50th Anniversary should be commemorated with catalytic, game-changing grants.  

“In dollar value these are not the largest grants the Foundation has ever made but they are highly strategic – focused on drawing out areas of particular need in the community, and the best opportunities to make the greatest difference.”

The Ian Potter Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Commemorative Grants program, which opened in December 2013, attracted over 200 applications.  

The grants were offered in two streams: Effective Organisations and Building Communities.

“Transcending the Foundation’s usual grants streams – such as Arts, Medical Research and Community Wellbeing – these grants were open across all sectors in an effort to find passionate, ambitious people and organisations with transformative ideas in any area of the Australian community.  

“The criteria were that they have the ideas, the opportunity and the people, to deliver practical, sustainable results with long-term impact in an area of particular need.

“We were overwhelmed by the response,” Hirst said.

“Indeed the calibre of the applications was such that we exceeded the original $4 million budget to make grants of $5.5 million. The successful applications are the best of the best: 11 organisations that have what it takes to make a meaningful difference – and now they have the means to make it a reality.”

This year The Ian Potter Foundation says total distribution across all its grants programs will exceed $20 million.

Based in Melbourne, the Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working across a wide range of sectors and endeavours. Grants are made through nine program areas which reflect Sir Ian’s interest in the arts, the environment, science, medical research, education and community wellbeing, as well as the importance of investing in Australia’s intellectual capital.


IanP046.JPGRepresentatives of the 11 grant recipient organisations with The Ian Potter Foundation CEO Janet Hirst and members of the board of Governors

The Commemorative Grantees are:


To create a youth training academy at Cromwell House and help scale STREAT’s enterprise model to self-sufficiency by 2017.

Ermha (Eastern Region Mental Health Association), VIC

Expand the MadCap Café social enterprise to support more people with mental illness.

Lifeline Australia, ACT (National)

United Lifeline: Structure Review and Shared Services Program to increase organisational efficiency

Training Opportunities and Options for Learning (TOOL), TAS

To establish the TOOL Timber Recovery social enterprise, training and employment opportunities for youth at risk.

SecondBite, VIC

Expansion of fresh food exchange program in regional and rural Victoria

Mallee Family Care for the Independent Agency Network, VIC

Model of efficiency: creating a shared client database system across independent community service agencies, Mallee Family Care, Upper Murray Family Care and Oz Child

Social Traders, VIC

To broker social enterprise procurement contracts between small social enterprises and big business

Centennial Parklands Foundation, NSW

Connecting children with the natural environment – establish The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park, Sydney*

Museums Victoria, VIC

Preserving our biological heritage – establish The Ian Potter Australian Wildlife Biobank

Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation, NSW

To enable intensive research into outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish on the Great Barrier Reef.

RMIT University, VIC

Improving biosecurity – establish The Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility

*As The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden is also such a strong fit with The Ian Potter Foundation’s Education program area and the objectives of Alec Prentice Sewell Gift, a further separate grant of $1 million has also been awarded by the Foundation, to a total contribution of $1.5 million to Centennial Parklands Foundation.

Further details about each project are available on the Foundation’s website

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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