Leeds Museums and Galleries is seeking clarification on eligibility for the fund

New £100m scheme will raise private cash for arts

Gareth Harris, Issue 111/11, p4, 01.11.2011
Many museums may not be eligible for scheme to encourage philanthropy
A £100m scheme aimed at boosting private funding in the cultural sector has received a mixed response from museum professionals.

The Catalyst scheme, backed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England (ACE), aims to help cultural organisations access funding from private sources.

The initiative is split into three strands. Catalyst Endowments offers match funding to help build endowments; the Catalyst Arts capacity building and match funding scheme will help organisations develop more sustainable fundraising models; and Catalyst Arts and Heritage fundraising capacity building grants is aimed at organisations with limited fundraising experience.

But the eligibility criteria mean that in most cases, only ACE regularly funded organisations can apply.

John Roles, head of Leeds Museums and Galleries, said: “We are looking to clarify criteria, as it seems only national portfolio or regularly funded organisations may be eligible, which will exclude most of the museum sector.”

DCMS, ACE and HLF are providing £55m for the endowments scheme. Grants of between £500,000 and £5m are available on condition that the amount is matched by funding from private donors.

This category is open to “major arts organisations”, though ACE expects applicants will come from its pool of funded bodies.

Applicants must “already have an established and successful track record of fundraising”, according to ACE guidelines.

ACE funding of £30m will be available for the Catalyst Arts: capacity building and match funding scheme. Only ACE-funded organisations can apply for awards of between £120,000 and £240,000.

Catalyst Arts and Heritage fundraising capacity building grants has a pot of £12m from ACE and HLF to distribute grants of £15,000 to £20,000.

“We would like to launch a corporate patronage scheme, but our capacity is limited,” said Roles.

“Opera North in Leeds has considerable success in fundraising but they employ six full-time fundraising staff.

We have no fundraising staff and achieve what we do as part of the day job.”


HLF has asked Museums Journal to clarify its position on Catalyst endowments. HLF will accept applications for Catalyst endowments from museums, and will open a small grants programme (Catalyst Heritage Capacity Building grants) to which museums can apply next April.

In addition to meeting HLF’s normal criteria, applicants for the Catalyst endowments element of the scheme should be a past or current recipient of HLF funding but there is no requirement that museums should be ACE national portfolio or regularly funded organisations.


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MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
03.11.2011, 14:32
It seems completely bizarre that the Catalyst programme offers three levels for arts organisations/museums but the middle level is only for ACE clients and not suitable for the majority of museums. My museum and art gallery is clearly at the stage where applying at the middle level would be appropriate but it seems we won't qualify. Can anyone explain how this arose?