Philanthropist of the Month: Dame Vivian Duffield

3 April 2011 | By Cause4 staff

Dame Vivien Duffield has once again demonstrated unsurpassed generosity for the arts. Her recent donation of £8.2 million announced last week to 11 organisations throughout England includes grants exceeding £1m destined respectively to The National Theatre, Tate Britain and the RSC.

Currently serving as chairman of the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund, Director of the South Bank Centre board, on the board of the World Monuments Fund and Governor of the Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School, she is a formidable supporter of the arts. But it seems her concerns are as much for the educational impact that the arts can have as it is for the arts in themselves. “The Government can't ringfence the arts. In my mind education is as, if not more, important", she said last week.

To borrow in part from John F Kennedy, her message is seems is: “Ask not so much what we can do for the arts but what the arts can do for our people.” As Arts organisations come to terms with the prospect of fewer government grants administered by the Arts Council and the need to generate more for themselves, they could do worse than reflect upon what Dame Vivian might be suggesting.

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