A Major Boost For Philanthropy

A host of events mark the start of ‘an important and lasting change’ for cultural giving in the UK.

A significant donation from Sir Terence Conran, an Arts Council fund to promote private giving, and a Government proposal to encourage gifts of works of art to the nation all add up to a substantial boost to Jeremy Hunt’s drive to create a culture of philanthropy in the UK.

Sir Terence Conran has announced that he is giving cash and donations in kind totalling £17.5m to the Design Museum, helping them to create the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture at the site of the old Commonwealth Institute in London. This gift brings Sir Terence and the Conran Foundation’s support for the museum to £50m over the last 30 years. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt praised the “exceptionally generous” gift, saying it “will not only help this excellent cultural institution move to a new home, but will also help showcase Britain’s ability to produce some of the world’s greatest designers”.

Arts Council England have also announced details of their £40m Catalyst Arts fund, the Lottery-funded part of the £80m scheme to promote private giving announced by Jeremy Hunt and Alan Davey last December. The fund aims to help build the long-term resilience of arts organisations by increasing their fundraising potential, and will be invested in three ways:
  • £30m will go to creating a match-funding and capacity-building scheme, increasing arts organisations’ ability to fundraise
  • £7m will create a one-off grant scheme to support arts organisations with less experience to build their fundraising capacity, funding awards of between £15,000 and £20,000
  • £3m will be invested in making available practical advice on how to secure new sources of funding
Welcoming the announcement, Jeremy Hunt pointed out that the fund “will particularly benefit smaller organisations that need help taking advantage of untapped fundraising opportunities”. In addition, the Government has today published proposals for consultation on a new scheme to encourage people to donate pre-eminent objects or works of art to the nation. In return, donors will receive a reduction in their tax liability based on a set percentage of the value of the object they are donating. This proposal was first mooted in this year’s Budget, which included a raft of measures to encourage philanthropy.

Despite being only a year old, Jeremy Hunt said that the Government’s drive to increase philanthropy in arts and culture “already has a huge amount of momentum that is going to make important and lasting changes”.


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