David and Elaine Potter Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The David and Elaine Potter Foundation focuses on quality education for young people living in southern Africa in its global development grantmaking.

IP TAKE: Potter does not accept unsolicited grant applications, but it welcomes grantseekers to make contact via email. Grants are competitive. 

OVERVIEW: Based in the United Kingdom and founded in 1999, the David and Elaine Potter Foundation seeks to contribute to "[e]conomic development and well-being in a plural, rational and tolerant society." It supports projects that promote "[r]eason, accountability and education that will improve understanding, human rights, good governance and a stronger civil society." It initially sought to improve education and access to education in Africa; however, after encountering problematic governance influenced by inequality and corruption, Potter decided to extend support to growing civil society in Africa so that education "[c]ould flourish and be effective." 

Potter supports global development through its Education and Civil Society programs. Potter's Education program funds projects that improve policy, practices and sustainability. It prioritizes projects that support economic and social well-being through education in low and middle-income countries, particularly in southern Africa. It seeks projects in the "U.K. and in Southern Africa, specifically South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia or Mozambique." Potter takes a broad approach to education in Southern Africa, and its grantmaking addresses needs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, improved school governance, teacher training and young leader development. 

Grantseekers should note that Potter both supports pilot and proof-of-concept projects that “[i]nfluence policy and those that explore the role(s) of new technology in education.” Potter does not fund projects that address school infrastructure, equipment purchase and scaling projects due to its self-admitted asset limitations. Education grants range from about $10,000 to $125,000. Funding may also support academic institutions such as the University of Cape Town Trust, as well as smaller organizations such as LIFEbeat and Dikakapa. For a broader understanding of the types of groups receiving Potter support, explore its grant recipients webpage.

Potter's Civil Society program was created to support its efforts in education. The foundation believes that education flourishes only when it is "underpinned by a strong civil society." It seeks projects that address "[q]uestions of power, inequality and lack of voice." Potter primarily focuses on improving "[t]ransparency, accountability, anti-corruption and good governance." It is also interested in "[h]uman rights, drones, investigative journalism, the rule of law, democracy, citizenship, equality, and the misuse of natural resources." In the past, its Civil Society grants have supported Amnesty International. This program seeks U.K.-based organizations that examine these concerns in a global context as they pertain to Africa. Note that it does not provide funds for local concerns, civic education, or citizenship education programs. Grantmaking is similar in range to its education grants.

The Potter Foundation awards grants to NGOs registered in the U.K. and elsewhere around the world, but does not accept unsolicited grant applications or requests for funding.


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