Report reveals the impact of trusts and foundations in supporting the cultural sector 7 May 2021

A new report by the Art Funders Group has tracked giving by the 19 largest trusts and foundations, during 2019 – 20, the last year of ‘old normal’ funding patterns prior to the pandemic. The report finds that:

  • The 19 Trusts and Foundations spent £88m, or 31% of total activity on arts and culture, with £197m spent in other areas.
  • The proportion of income from this source is 11.4% for cultural organisations with a turnover under £200k, 14% for those from £200k - £750k and then gradually declines with size, so £10m+ organisations receive 3.9% from this source.
  • The four highest spending Trusts are responsible for 75% of the total grant expenditure (Esmée Fairbairn, Garfield Weston, Paul Hamlyn and Wolfson Foundations).
  • Literature organisations received the greatest proportion of their funding from trusts and foundations at 17.2%, and museums the lowest at 4.8% (this may in part be because literature organisations are typically smaller).
  • However, museums and museum representative bodies appear in the top ten non-capital awards by value, including the Museums Association (£4.17m), Tate (£1.3m), and National Museum Wales (£3.16m). Snape Maltings received the largest amount overall at £8.37m.
  • The largest capital award went to the Royal Opera House (£10.8m) with five museums also receiving significant capital investment between £716k (Wallace Collection) and £1.6m (IWM).
  • Areas of particular focus by trusts and foundations include diversifying the workforce (emphasised by just under a third) and a similar proportion interested in cultural assets – from building work to art restoration.
  • 95% of grants are £300k or less, and half are £50k or less. Only 11 grants were over £1m, and only 18 grantees received funding over £1m from multiple bids.
  • 34% of successful grants were to a London address, with other UK countries and English regions receiving 3.1% - 8.7%, but this doesn’t capture the ‘area of benefit’ or distinguish between nation-wide or non-national activity.

John Ellerman Foundation Director Sufina Ahmad said “Independent grant-makers coming together and sharing their data in this way was an important exercise to commit to – even if it did feel experimental at times. The research reveals the contribution we are making to the UK’s arts and cultural sectors, which will become even more important as organisations look to recover from the impacts of Covid-19 against a backdrop of stretched public funding.” Arts Professional, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Industry