On behalf of the Trustees of the Achates Philanthropy Foundation, I write to share with the Committee information regarding the Achates Philanthropy Prize for new cultural philanthropy, in the hope that it will be of assistance to the inquiry.

The Achates Philanthropy Prize was created in 2016 to achieve three key aims:

        To raise awareness of the arts as charitable organisations that need philanthropic support

        To promote the idea that anyone can be an arts philanthropist

        And to celebrate the pleasure that being an arts philanthropist can bring

The Prize was established as a result of my work as a fundraising consultant and in particular, two key experiences: firstly, acting as lead advisor on the National Theatre’s NT Future Campaign and the realisation this and parallel projects brought that the models employed by a limited number of major cultural institutions simply are not replicable by the majority of small to medium organisations. And acting as lead philanthropy advisor to the evaluation of Arts Council England’s Catalyst and now Catalyst Evolve programmes, alongside BOP Consulting, over the last four years.

The evidence from the extensive research carried out and published in annual reports highlights the need for greater public understanding of the arts as charities that need philanthropic support and the need to challenge the idea that arts philanthropy is the preserve of the few. Whilst carrying out this research, it became clear that DCMS views these challenges as the responsibility of the individual organisations to address.  Given that this is an extremely challenging case for the individual organisations to make and particularly at a time of austerity, this led me to develop the Prize as a form of campaign to support change by sharing and celebrating the stories of individuals from all contexts who are supporting the arts for the first time.

The shortlist for the 2016 Achates Philanthropy Prize included: the RSC, the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, Northern Ballet, Turner Contemporary, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and The Yard Theatre.

The Prize was ultimately awarded to Theatre Royal Stratford East and their nominated philanthropist, Nigel Farnell. The story of Nigel’s journey to becoming an arts philanthropist after many years of not engaging in culture, which he shared on Radio 4’s Front Row amongst other media, has inspired many arts organisations to think of ways they can engage new philanthropists and we are now very much looking forward to the 2017 awards.

In 2017, we have been fortunate enough not only to retain our major sponsor, Achates Philanthropy Ltd, but also to have secured the support of two first-time arts sponsors; the cultural consultancy firm BOP Consulting, and the ticketing agency, Spektrix. This has enabled us to offer two Prizes in our second year. The existing Prize for individual philanthropy and a new Prize for first time corporate supporters of the arts. This is particularly important as corporate support for the arts declined by a third between 2012 and 2016. Both Prizes include a £5,000 donation to the winning organisation and custody of the Prize sculpture for a year for the winning individual, or business.  The Old Vic Theatre are joining us as in-kind sponsors by hosting a drinks reception at which the 2017 Achates Philanthropy Prize will be awarded by eminent arts philanthropist, Omar Al-Qattan of the A. M. Qattan Foundation, on Monday 27th November.

In addition, we have secured a number of esteemed judges for the 2017 Prize including broadcasters John Wilson and Razia Iqbal, and we are delighted that our 2016 Individual Philanthropy Prize winner, Nigel Farnell, will also join the panel. 

The call for entries closes on 10 September 2017 and we hope that there will be many entries from Welsh organisations.

The Prize undoubtedly represents a tiny proportion of the energy and investment that is needed to change attitudes to cultural philanthropy, which currently accounts for less that 1% of all UK philanthropy with more than 60% of that going to the 50 largest institutions. However, the Trustees have established a clear framework for measurable change by the end of our current commitment to the Prize, in 2019. This includes strongly establishing the Prize within the sector in 2017, starting to specifically target key audiences in 2018 and embedding the Prize nationally in 2019 through a lobbying and advocacy campaign and key activities such as a touring exhibition telling the stories of emerging arts philanthropists.

It is of course clear that the current rate of growth in cultural philanthropy, as detailed in the Private Investment in Culture survey (once adjusted to allow for the influence of a single institution) is not growing at a rate that will enable it to entirely meet the gap left by reductions in state subsidy and that most cultural organisations will need diverse income streams to meet their financial needs, but the Trustees of the Achates Philanthropy Foundation believe that voluntary income can play a vital role as part of this mix with appropriate awareness raising and investment.