In these times of austerity, the Parliamentary Information Office of the Parliamentary Yearbook is currently following closely the arrangements for the funding of arts and heritage organisations for a major feature in the next edition
In July last year Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the creation of a new £55 million scheme, chaired by former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo, to help arts and heritage organisations secure their future financial stability by building endowment funds.
Organisations will be able to bid for grants of up to £5 million to support endowment fundraising from the Endowment Fund, which will be available to match funds raised from private donors. Bids will be reviewed by an independent advisory panel chaired by Michael Portillo. Around 50 organisations were expected to benefit from the grants which start at £500,000.
Endowments are typically large funds held in perpetuity by organisations, helping to provide long term financial security by contributing to annual running costs through the interest earned by the fund. They are often used in the United States by large cultural organisations but are currently less common in the UK.
Then last week it was announced that 34 arts and heritage organisations across England, after successfully applying for a share of the new £56 million scheme, are set to get a £162 million funding boost. The successful projects are expected to attract an additional £106 million from private and corporate donors as a result of the scheme.
The Catalyst: Endowments programme is a joint initiative between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The successful organisations will use the grants of between £500,000 and £5 million to attract money from private philanthropic sources.
Applications were assessed by an independent panel chaired by Michael Portillo, and final awards made by the National Council of Arts Council England and the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Many of the successful applicants have already secured pledges from donors or are in productive discussions with prospective corporate and individual sponsors.
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said:
“Long term financial stability is an essential part of a successful cultural sector. With these grants, and the additional money they are bringing in, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get a significant number of organisations on the road to long-lasting and sustainable endowments which will continue to support their work for years to come.”
Michael Portillo said:
“The Advisory Panel was impressed with the calibre of the applications we saw. I believe those we recommended for approval are well-placed to secure match funding from donors, and to build endowments which should strengthen their future financial resilience.”
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:
“The Catalyst: Endowments Programme is part of our response to helping boost private giving across the heritage sector. Alongside our plans to build the fundraising capacity of smaller groups, we expect the programme to form part of a shift in approach to philanthropic giving that will help build financial resilience and attract new money to heritage groups of every size.”
Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England said:
“Public funding of the arts in this country is at the heart of their success. It enables organisations to attract private investors, and gives them the confidence to continue to take the bold artistic leaps that keep audiences coming.
“Catalyst Endowments and Catalyst Arts will help support that public investment, increasing the sustainability of our world class arts organisations who bring delight to millions and play such an important part in our national economy.”
Other members of the panel, chaired by Michael Portillo, were:
Dame Liz Forgan, Chair, Arts Council England; Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund; Veronica Wadley, member of National Council for Arts Council England and Chair, London Regional Arts Council; Hilary Lade, Trustee, Heritage Lottery Fund; David Verey CBE, Chairman of the Trustees of the Art Fund and DCMS lead non-executive director; John Studzinski CBE, investor, philanthropist and senior director at private equity firm Blackstone; and Roger De Haan CBE, philanthropist and creator of Saga group of companies.
We shall be adding to the article as there are further developments and any changes to the plans will be reflected in the content. The full report will be published in print and online in the next edition of the Parliamentary Yearbook.