Press release

£55 million to help cultural organisations build endowments

Michael Portillo to chair Endowment Fund panel.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new £55 million scheme, chaired by former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo, will help arts and heritage organisations secure their future financial stability by building endowment funds, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

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 are expected to benefit from the grants which will start at £500,000.

The £55 million is part of a £100 million Government, Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund pledge to support philanthropy, and will go towards building endowments on a challenge-fund basis. 

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said:

It took the Met in New York over 100 years to build up their £2bn endowment.  I want our endowments century to start today.  World class cultural organisations should have world class financial resilience.

Michael Portillo is passionate about culture and will bring real wisdom to a process that will start a much needed change in our approach to cultural fundraising.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:

Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State is another important step in helping to make arts organisations more sustainable in the long term - one of the key objectives of Achieving great art for everyone, our ten year framework for the arts.

Arts and heritage endowments will provide a range of opportunities for arts and cultural organisations to build their skills and capacity to fundraise, to match-fund using new ideas and to invest for their long-term health and creativity.

In December 2010 Jeremy Hunt announced an £80 million fund to help increase philanthropy. This was made up of £50 million from Arts Council England and £30 million from DCMS.

Today this was boosted by an additional £20 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) contribution, taking the total to £100 million.  £5 million of the HLF money will go towards helping smaller cultural and heritage organisations build their financial resilience and improve their fundraising abilities, with the remainder forming part of the £55 million available for endowments.

To apply for these new grants, organisations will also have to raise money from private philanthropic sources. Different leverage ratios will be required for grants of different sizes, but these should on average raise £2 from private sources for every £1 of public funding.  So £55 million in public funding will unlock £110 million from private support, possibly more.

Arts Council England this week announced the detail of how their funding for philanthropy will be allocated.  A £40 million philanthropy programme, Catalyst Arts, is designed to help arts organisations raise money through philanthropy.   An additional £10 million from the Arts Council will form part of the £55 million available for endowments.

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 US by large cultural organisation but are less common in the UK.

Today’s announcement is part of a package of measures put in place by the Government designed to increase philanthropy for arts and cultural organisations.  Other measures include:

  • HM Treasury proposals to encourage the donation of pre-eminent objects or works of art to the nation in return for a reduction in tax liability;

  • reform to gift aid, reducing administrative burdens and allowing charities to claim gift aid on up to £5000 of small payments each year made without a gift aid declaration;

  • more visible public recognition for philanthropy, thanking donors, demonstrating the value of philanthropy and encouraging others to give. This could include greater recognition through the honours system;  and

  • developing fundraising skills and capacity across the culture sector, to promote best practice, professionalise fundraising and develop a culture of ‘asking’ as well as ‘giving’.
    The Endowment Fund will open for applications in October, with decision on awards expected in early 2012.  DCMS, Arts Council England and HLF will publish further details of how the scheme will work in the coming months.

Notes to Editors

  1. Jeremy Hunt was speaking to cultural organisations at the Whitechapel Gallery. A copy of his speech is available at the DCMS website.

  2. £80 million of this £100 million total was announced by Jeremy Hunt in December 2010. The additional £20m HLF money is announced for the first time today. The total £100 million funding pledge break down as follows:

  • DCMS - £30 million Government funding from DCMS’s Comprehensive Spending Review settlement.  All of this money will go towards the £55 million endowments fund

  • Arts Council England - £50m National Lottery money over five years.  £40 million will be used for the Catalyst Arts fund.  £10 million will go towards the £55m endowments fund.

  • HLF - £20 million National Lottery money.  £15 million will be used towards the £55 million endowments fund and £5 million for capacity building. Further information on the HLF announcement.

  1. Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England is the author of The Davey Report on Endowments in the Arts, which was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Culture and published in December 2010.

  2. Further information about the Arts Council’s Catalyst Arts announcement.

  3. More information on HM Treasury’s consultation on proposals to encourage gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation.

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Published 23 February 2012