Philanthropist of the month

7 June 2010 | By Cause4 staff

Sir Alec Reed through the Reed Foundation has partnered with Arts and Business to contribute an initial fund of £500,000 to the ‘Big Arts Give’, a new challenge fund designed to act as a catalyst for helping cultural organisations increase income from on-line donations from Major Donors, Trusts & Foundations and Corporate Engagement. Reed is the founder of the Big Give website which matches charities with potential donors and philanthropists and is now seeking to widen the scope of the website to match donations raised by arts organisations from the project fund.

Arts and Business is optimistic about the potential for the ‘Big Arts Give’ to engage with the private sector and to encourage increased philanthropic investment in the cultural sector. Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive of A&B, says that the scheme ‘is not about “quick fix” fundraising, but should be used by arts organisations to help foster a culture of life-long giving’.

Whilst the fund will encourage a further £2.5 million in donations to the Arts from existing networks and the public by Christmas, it seems that the most likely organisations to benefit will be those that already have processes in place to create their own Charity Matching Funds by the December deadline. The initial pot is fairly limited and it seems unlikely that smaller, less-internet-savvy organisations will benefit.

Hats off to Sir Alex Reed though - we welcome this initiative but wonder if it goes far enough? How can a one-off challenge really support life-long giving and will it actually annoy the philanthropists who wish to feel more engaged? However, initiatives like these which seek to help the sector to help itself and think differently, if only in the short-term, are a good preliminary step.

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