News story

Developing endowments

Museums, galleries and other cultural institutions could enjoy a more stable financial future if endowments are more widely used.

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

Jeremy Hunt has commissioned Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, to prepare a report on the feasibility of developing endowments.

A number of UK cultural institutions already have endowments of varying sizes, but these have developed independently. The Government is keen to understand the pros and cons of endowments, and whether there would be advantages to using them more widely. This is part of a broader programme of work exploring ways in which we can encourage philanthropy.

The report, which will be delivered in September, will form part of a strategy to encourage philanthropic giving, which was announced in the DCMS Strategic Reform Plan last week.

Mixed funding

“I want our cultural institutions to have a broad and plural funding base to ensure their continued success over the years ahead,” said Mr Hunt.  “This is not about importing wholesale the American model of funding for culture to the UK, or about replacing public investment, but providing a mixed funding model of public, private and lottery revenue, supplemented by box office and commercial activities. 

“I don’t expect endowments to generate a significant additional revenue stream in the short term, but in the long term - three, five, ten or twenty years - this journey could lead to significant dividends.”

Published 21 July 2010