JV to facilitate philanthropy

06/02/2008 - 22:00

A joint venture between the state government and Artsupport Australia is one of two initiatives offering extra philanthropic support for arts organisations in Western Australia.

JV to facilitate philanthropy

A joint venture between the state government and Artsupport Australia is one of two initiatives offering extra philanthropic support for arts organisations in Western Australia.

The funding program, called the Philanthropic Incentive Scheme, will allow philanthropists to donate funds into a trust or prescribed private fund, which will then be matched by a percentage donation from the state government.

Newly appointed WA manager for Artsupport Australia, Liesbeth Goedhart, said the scheme would help to leverage smaller funds.

“While in the early years a trust may not have enough funds to start giving to beneficiaries, the scheme allows philanthropists to actually start putting money towards organisations earlier,” she said.

Ms Goedhart, who previously managed the fundraising campaign for the University of Western Australia’s Berndt Museum, started in the newly created role of WA manager last month.

The position is being jointly funded by the Department of Culture and the Arts and Artsupport Australia, which is backed by the Australia Council for the Arts and encourages cultural philanthropy.

“The purpose of my role is really to support philanthropic giving to the arts, and to provide a mentoring role to arts organisations and artists, to help them develop new revenue streams,” Ms Goedhart said.

While her role is essentially to broker funding agreements between philanthropists and arts organisations, Ms Goedhart said she would provide other assistance, such as helping to build the management teams of not-for-profit arts groups.

“It’s always more difficult for the small to medium-sized organisations. First of all, they don’t have the staff to support (fundraising), and their board capacity is not as good as larger companies,” she said.

Ms Goedhart said that, given WA’s strong economic environment, there were opportunities to increase philanthropic giving among professionals.

“If you compare us to places like the US and the UK, Australia and WA in particular have a long way to go,” she said.

“But while we don’t have a strong philanthropic culture here, there are signs that Western Australians are giving in more important ways. There are a greater number of people who see themselves as philanthropists.”

The Philanthropic Incentive Scheme, which is backed by $350,000 in funding from the state government, follows last year’s announcement of a $73 million package for the arts sector.

Another organisation to have pledged its support for the sector is the Committee for Perth, which has embarked on developing a strategic vision for the WA arts sector.

Committee for Perth chief executive Marion Fulker said the organisation had been approached by representatives from the local arts community to set up a study, which is being conducted by a consultant from the eastern states and has received a $100,000 grant from Lotterywest.

She said the project would include an analysis of the social and economic impact of the arts sector in WA.

“We’ll be working with the sector, helping them to set up future infrastructure and a training network,” Ms Fulker said. 

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