Press release

Michael Portillo announces £56 million endowment grants

Arts and heritage organisations set to unlock £162 million

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

Thirty four arts and heritage organisations across England are set to get a £162 million funding boost after successfully applying for a share of a new £56 million scheme to support endowments. 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).

Designed to bring new money into the cultural sector, the programme offers match-funding to help arts and heritage organisations become more sustainable and resilient by building a new endowment fund or developing an existing one, in order to increase their annual income.

The 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.”

Successful organisations include:

  • The Halle Concerts Society which will receive £1 million to create an endowment to support educational activity at St Peter’s Ancoats and more ambitious large-scale artistic projects
  • Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust in Bristol which will receive £500,000 to build an endowment to help secure the future of the 45 acre site, saved from commercial development by local people, where a sensitive restoration programme is now underway
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet which will receive £1 million for an endowment which will be used to fund a dance fellowship that will support young dancers
  • The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, which will receive £1 million towards creating an endowment fund that will generate income to support the Museum’s internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts
  • The Serpentine Gallery which will receive £3 million to create an endowment which will support activity at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery
  • The Old Vic Theatre which will receive £5 million to create an endowment which will support long-term resilience and arts activity
  • St Martin-in-the-Fields in London which will receive £1 million towards building a major endowment to secure the long term maintenance of the recently restored Grade I listed buildings
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) which will receive a match-funding pledge of £5 million to support the Museum’s ambitions to build a £100 million endowment over the next 15 to 20 years. The endowment will support its core scholarly activities that include research and conservation, alongside its permanent collection of over 2.75 million objects

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.

The Catalyst: Endowments fund is part of a package of measures put in place by the Government designed to increase philanthropy for cultural organisations. Other measures include:

  • a change in inheritance tax rules to increase the number of people leaving money to charitable causes in their will;
  • the establishment of a new Cultural Gifts Scheme which will encourage the donation of pre-eminent objects or works of art to the nation in return for a reduction in tax liability; and
  • reform of 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.

The Full list of awards is available at the DCMS website.  

Notes to editors

  1. Arts Council England has awarded 18 organisations a total of £30.5 million through Catalyst: Endowments.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £25.5 million to support 16 organisations. 

  2. The money is for endowments to be managed by the organisations for a minimum of 25 years.

  3. Catalyst investment is additional funding which acts as challenge funding to support additional arts activity.  It is not a core funding scheme.

  4. Catalyst: Endowments is part of a wider programme designed to enable arts and heritage organisations to diversify their income streams, attract significantly more funding by increasing their fundraising potential and help them to develop and explore innovative new approaches to securing private giving.
    The £100 million Catalyst fund will be invested through:

* Catalyst: Endowments: a £55 million scheme jointly funded by Department for Culture Media and Sport, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 
* Catalyst Arts: a £30 million Arts Council capacity building and match funding scheme 
* Catalyst Arts and Catalyst Heritage fundraising capacity building programme:  a £7 million Arts Council fundraising capacity building small grant scheme; and a £5 million HLF investment in capacity building, including a small grant scheme 
* The Arts Council will also invest £3 million in a programme of learning and knowledge sharing.  
  1. Arts Council England recently announced the 173 successful applicants to its £30 million Catalyst Arts capacity building and match funding scheme.   The Catalyst Arts scheme aims to make arts organisations more sustainable, resilient and innovative by increasing their fundraising potential and attracting new money to invest in additional artistic work. 

  2. The Catalyst: Endowments programme was launched in July 2011.    

  3. 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.

  4. The Heritage Lottery Fund has today announced a further £2 million of Catalyst Endowments, to Linen Hall Library (£1 million) in Northern Ireland and the Abbotsford Trust (£1 million) in Scotland. More information is available at the Heritage Lottery Fund website.

  5. The Heritage Lottery Fund will run a second round of Catalyst Endowments in the autumn, with awards to be announced in spring 2013.  More information about HLF’s fundraising capacity building grants will be launched soon.

  6. The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. The Arts Council supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, the Arts Council will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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Updates to this page

Published 20 June 2012