Partnering for a fair, healthy and sustainable Australia

13 April 2022

Driving community change is the goal of the philanthropic partnership between The Australian National University (ANU) and The Ian Potter Foundation.

The Foundation seeks to support and work with outstanding people. We have been impressed by the extent to which ANU connects with communities to benefit Australians; either through discovery, people-facing collaborations, or through policy influence and developments that improve the frameworks designed to support thriving communities,

- Craig Connelly, CEO of The Ian Potter Foundation.

In the last four years, The Foundation awarded four grants - two public health grants (2020 and 2021), an Environment and Conservation Grant (2017), and a Medical Research Equipment Grant for the John Curtin School of Medical Research (2020).

The Mayi Kuwayu Study (2020) received the first of the two public health grants. Mayi Kuwaya is delivering the first ever large-scale longitudinal study exploring the impact of culture as a powerful determinant on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing. The study aims to influence policy and empower Indigenous communities with knowledge and data to improve their own health and wellbeing.

"We lack good data in Australia to back up what we know to be true - that strong culture makes us feel happier, healthier and stronger," says Makayla Brinckley, Mayi Kuwayu Study community researcher.

"That's why the Mayi Kuwayu Study is important, because we're telling our stories on our own terms and empowering our communities to be strong in culture and in health."

The second public health grant (2021) was awarded to a research project aiming to save lives every day. This research will be used to help create new predictive models for cardiovascular disease, and identify the best strategies to protect Australians at risk of cardiovascular disease - a one-in-four killer in Australia.

"Data we collect will help guide government decision-making, and has the potential to save lives," says Professor Emily Banks, Cardiovascular Disease Modelling lead.

The $2 million Environment and Conservation Grant (2017) is helping farmers better manage the balance between production and sustainability, by developing new farming practices through one of the largest, long-term studies of its kind in the world.

"It's an exciting and critically important opportunity to improve the lives and finances of farmers, and at the same time make a huge contribution to the conservation of wildlife on farms," says Professor David Lindenmayer AO, ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions.

Not only have farmers who are better environmental stewards reaped the benefits of their work financially; many farmers attest that the change has improved their mental health, sense of wellbeing and pride in what they do.

Finally, the Medical Research Equipment grant for the John Curtin School of Medical Research (2020) is revolutionising personalised cancer therapy. The grant supports the establishment of Australia's first cancer drug repurposing and discovery facility for the treatment of rare and currently incurable cancers, including pancreatic, liver and brain cancer.

Through partnering with ANU, The Ian Potter Foundation is driving real change on multiple fronts, and contributing to a fair, healthy, sustainable and vibrant Australia.

This impact story is a feature in the 2021 Report to Donors

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