Pioneering investment fund brings social finance to the arts

A fund that brings together public, private and charitable investment to support arts organisations has launched today. The £7 million Arts Impact Fund is the first of its kind to focus on the social, artistic and financial return created by arts-based organisations.

A fund that brings together public, private and charitable investment to support arts organisations has launched today. The £7 million Arts Impact Fund is the first of its kind to focus on the social, artistic and financial return created by arts-based organisations.

The Fund, created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, will offer repayable finance to arts organisations working in England that can show how they are sustainable; have great artistic ambitions; and have a positive impact on society.

It will provide repayable loan finance between £150,000 up to £600,000, and funding needs can vary. For example, an applicant may want to buy or refurbish a building or purchase equipment or need to pay salaries or buy in additional services to help the organisation generate more income, perhaps for a tour or exhibition. The fund partners want to understand the applicant organisation’s future plans and how the funds could help applicants to build and grow what they do.

Arts organisations can start applying to the fund from mid-April via the Arts Impact Fund website. There’ll be at least five funding rounds from April 2015 – April 2017.

The website also provides guidance on what the fund team will be looking for when assessing proposals, and applicants can also check their organisation’s eligibility for the fund.

As part of our work to increase the resilience of arts and culture in England, the Arts Council supports cultural organisations to explore alternative sources of non-grant income. From an initial piece of scoping work with Social Finance through a development period with the Arts Ventures group and a preparatory investment in the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund managed by Social investment Business, we are building our knowledge and understanding of how social investment could best support the sector.

Find out more

Read more about the fund and how the application process will work

Visit the Arts Impact Fund website

Follow Nesta and the Arts Council on Twitter and join the conversation using #artsimpactfund

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