The David and Elaine Potter Foundation is a charitable grant giving foundation established in 1999 to encourage a stronger and fairer society. Since then they have granted over £17 million to registered charities in the UK and abroad. There are two main areas that they support: Education and Civil Society.
They provide grants that contribute to economic development and well-being in a plural, rational and tolerant society. Their purpose is to support projects promoting reason, accountability and education that will improve understanding, human rights, good governance and a stronger civil society. With regard to education their focus is particularly on low and middle income countries in Southern Africa.
What they do:
Their initial aim was to improve education and access to education in Africa, but their experience was that this was often hampered by failures of governance – of inequality and corruption. Hence, they also provided grants to help the growth of civil society to create a platform upon which education could flourish and be effective. In 2015 their focus was revised to two main areas: Education and Civil Society.
The remaining 10% of their grants will be awarded to causes close to the personal interests of the Potter family that are not connected to their strategic interests in Education and Civil Society. This will include their ongoing support for the Arts.
They are primarily a grant funder and look to take a strategic approach where possible. They encourage the use of research and a strong evidence base across their two main areas of focus, and they will be looking to commission small research projects in these areas. They look to broker partnerships and strongly encourage knowledge sharing and dissemination and the use of open access and creative commons to achieve this.
Characteristics that are common across their funding include building networks, unlocking and enabling potential, catalysing change, and encouraging the use of a strong evidence base.
They would expect all the organisations they support to take the Sustainable Development Goals into consideration and how their work addresses them, particularly goals #4, #8, #16 and #17.
Causes they Support:
They believe that at the root of a strong society is an educated populace with access to good quality information.
They believe that in order for education to flourish it needs to be underpinned by a strong civil society. Their main areas of interest are in transparency, accountability, anti-corruption and good governance, but they are also interested in, for example, human rights, drones, investigative journalism, the rule of law, democracy, citizenship, equality, and the misuse of natural resources.
A small amount of their annual spend is dedicated to supporting causes close to the personal interests of the Potter family that are outside of the two main areas of focus. This includes their long standing support of the arts.