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Government welcomes new report on arts philanthropy

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Culture secretary Maria Miller has welcomed the publication of a report that says the Arts Council England should refuse or reduce grants to organisations that do not provide evidence of legacy fundraising.

Removing Barriers to Legacy-giving, a document that was commissioned by the government to investigate philanthropy for the arts, says that organisations should declare their legacy fundraising strategy as part of applications to ACE for money.

It calls on the arts council to “take more of a leadership role” in incentivising this plan, especially at a regional level.

The report says: “This would ensure a clear message is communicated that it falls to arts charities themselves to create long term sources of sustainable income which will ensure the viability of the arts in the UK long into the future.”

“All bidding companies which are registered charities should be required to complete the philanthropy section to the satisfaction of the arts council in order to receive the funding sought by applicants. Without this information the grant will either be refused or significantly reduced,” it adds.

Campaigning charity Legacy10, which authored the report, also suggested tax breaks for lifetime donors and a new award to recognise philanthropists, as part of its ten-point plan to boost donations to the arts sector.

The report comes after the National Theatre’s artistic director Nicholas Hytner recently dismissed the government’s claim that venues should be able to raise more money from philanthropy.

At a meeting held last week to highlight the danger regional theatres face due to cuts in investment from the government, Hytner said: “The government has done next to nothing to encourage what it terms philanthropy… It really is all talk: 80% of philanthropic money comes to London, 20% to the rest of the country. Please try to uncover a single concrete policy that has arrived over the last two and half years to encourage philanthropy.”

Welcoming the Removing Barriers to Legacy-giving report, the culture secretary said: “There is enormous potential for the arts to benefit from philanthropy over the next few years, and we need to look at new ways of unlocking it….The economic climate means that philanthropic support for the arts, especially through legacies, will be ever more important in the years to come.”

Miller added: “Some of our arts and heritage bodies have built great relationships with their supporters in this area, but for all that, only 7% of people currently leave a legacy in their will. And too many companies and organisations in the arts and heritage world still have no legacy-giving scheme in place. So, they need to get better at asking for this kind of support.”


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