Philanthropy Initiatives – A Future For Arts?

I was happy to speak about the recent philanthropic initiative which have been undertaken by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Last May Minister Deenihan announced the introduction of a new philanthropic initiative on a pilot basis for arts and culture organisations. The initiative – the Philanthropic Leverage Initiative – was designed to encourage philanthropic sponsorship and endowment of the arts from private sources.

The initiative, established with funding of €230,000 for 2012, has provided an incentive to arts organisations to proactively seek new funding relationships with sponsors which deliver private sector financial support, thereby increasing overall funding available to the arts. The initiative was available across projects of varying scale, geography and art forms to not-for-profit organisations for arts programming projects. The organisations approved for funding under the initiative were required to procure matching philanthropic funds and complete their drawdown from my Department in 2012. Matched funding could not come from public funds or from any public sector organisation.

It was anticipated that a multiple of 3.5 on the pilot initiative funds of €230,000 would result in philanthropic funding of some €800,000 being raised for the arts. The initiative proved very successful with a multiplier of 4.26 in philanthropic donations being leveraged for the arts. The arts got a boost of over €1 million last year, of which less than one-fifth came from the public purse. A full list of awards under this scheme can be viewed on the Department’s website at

Philanthropy Initiative 2013
The Minister recently announced details of a new Philanthropy Initiative for 2013. This year, €210,000 will be available to arts organisations under the scheme. The terms of the scheme allow arts and culture organisations to apply to the Philanthropy Initiative for funding if they can generate funding from the private sector by philanthropy or fundraising in the following ratios:
• Up to €5,000 of funds can be accessed through the scheme if the organisation can match each €1 from the taxpayer with €2 from private sector funding;
• Up to €10,000 can be accessed if each €1 from the taxpayer can be matched by €3 from private sector funding;
• Up to €15,000 can be accessed if each €1 from the taxpayer can be matched by €4 from private sector funding.
The application form is available on the Department’s website and applications are dealt with on a first-come-first-served basis. The application form includes a provision that in the event of multiple applications competing for limited grant allocation, priority will be given to Arts in Education projects aimed at disadvantaged (DEIS) schools.
This year, the majority of the Philanthropy Initiative funding will be directed towards arts and culture organisations seeking support for projects that include an education component. This is designed to support another of the Department’s policy initiatives – the Arts in Education Charter, launched in January by Minister Deenihan and Minister Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills. The Charter sets out a range of actions to be undertaken by the two Departments, the cultural institutions, the Arts Council and arts organisations.
In 2013, it is hoped that the Philanthropy Initiative, while continuing to provide an incentive to arts organisations to engage in fundraising, will also encourage arts and culture organisations to engage creatively with children and young people and add to their education. In doing so, they will be helping to foster the artists and the audiences of the future.

This is a great initiative, allows Arts organisations to gain funding, allows viable venues and organisations to thrive and doesn’t impose a heavy burden on the public purse.

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