Corporate philanthropy hits seven-year low

Stat of the day: Companies gave £134m to arts organisations in 2010/11, according to sponsorship charity Arts and Business. That's £10m down on the previous year and the lowest figure since 2003/4.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

'Business investment has fallen 7% to £134.2m,' reveals the report, out today. But the data doesn't come as much of a surprise. Given the sorry state of the world economy, many previously generous art investors are counting the pennies (hoping the pounds will look after themselves). As A&B points out: 'Corporate money is a discretionary spend; particularly in hard times.'

It's not all bad however: private donations are on the up. £686m was doled out by trusts, individual donors and foundations last year, up £28.5m on 2010. Wealthy individuals account for more than half the figure: £382m, and for most of the rise (£23m of new cash came from rich art-lovers).

But all this charitable giving still isn't enough to plug the £71m hole left by government Budget cuts. As shadow culture minister Dan Jarvis points out: 'The government promised that cuts in public funding for the arts would be replaced by philanthropists generous donations. This simply hasn't happened.'

And while high profile art endeavours are still attracting big spends - think BNP Paribas' sponsorship of the Royal Academy's David Hockney exhibition - it's the smaller theatre companies, galleries and art cooperatives that are missing out of much-needed funding. Looks like the old cliché about artists starving in garretts is back in vogue...

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