Michael Portillo To Chair New £55m Arts Scheme

A brand new Government scheme has earmarked £55 million to help arts and heritage organisations secure their future financial stability by building endowment funds. This was announced today by Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. An independent advisory panel chaired by Michael Portillo will review bids from organisations for grants up to £5 million from the Endowment Fund, which will be available to match funds raised from private donors.
“It took the Met in New York over 100 years to build up their £2bn endowment, said Mr Hunt. “I want our endowments century to start today.  World class cultural organisations should have world class financial resilience.”
Boosting philanthropy In December 2010 Jeremy Hunt announced an £80 million fund to help increase philanthropy, 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. Five 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 through the £40 million Catalyst Arts, programme. An additional £10 million from the Arts Council will form part of the £55 million available for endowments.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:

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. Photo © BBC