$200 million fund to match cultural donations launched

SINGAPORE - More than 100 arts and heritage organisations here could find themselves receiving twice the amount of cash donations each year with the launch of the $200 million Cultural Matching Fund on Friday, Nov 1.

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Read the full statement from MCCY here:

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth announced today the details of the Cultural Matching Fund (CMF), which will match dollar-for-dollar (1:1) cash donations to the cultural sector.

The CMF's objective is to spur a culture of giving in the cultural sector. After extensive consultations with donors and cultural groups, the CMF has been designed to be a fund that is flexible, sustainable and accountable.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said: "Our culture and heritage are a defining part of what makes Singapore home for us. I hope the CMF will grow a sense of shared ownership among all of us in contributing to our arts and heritage landscape.

"As more step forward to be involved in our cultural development, I believe it will spark even more creative works that Singaporeans can identify with, and take pride in."

The CMF will match private cash donations to all arts and heritage charities and Institutes of Public Character (IPC), which have a basic accountability framework. More than a hundred cultural organisations, both large and small, will be eligible to benefit from the Fund, covering arts groups, heritage and visual arts museums, arts venue operators and arts education institutions.

To encourage everyone to contribute to our local arts and heritage, no minimum donation is required as all cash donations large or small will be matched by the Government.

Ms Charlotte Nors, Executive Director of the Singapore Repertory Theatre, said: "We are thrilled that this fund is being launched.

"Similar schemes have existed for donations to educational institutions for a long time, so we hope with this matching grant scheme, we can increase the level of philanthropic giving in Singapore and engage even more people in the arts - simply because the arts matters."

The CMF strikes a balance between funding day-to-day expenses and longer-term sustainability. The first $300,000 of matching grant received per year will be given full flexibility in use, as long as they are not for activities that are harmful to Singapore such as creating conflict or misunderstanding between persons or groups on the grounds of race or religion.

Above $300,000, the matching grant will be for any long-term sustainability-building uses.

This includes improving the capabilities of the organisation, acquiring artworks or artefacts for general public benefit, and developing/upgrading cultural infrastructure. 8 This structure recognises that emerging groups are in greater need of day-to-day funding, while established groups are more ready to build longer-term sustainability.

Furthermore, to ensure that the CMF is not monopolised by any group and that the emerging groups will have a share, the matching grant will be capped at $10million per group, for the lifespan of the Fund.

Ms Josephine Tan, Director of Development, Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), said: "Donors now have a new and substantive incentive to increase their support for the arts. The Cultural Matching Fund will help plug a critical gap as there are few funders for direct operational costs. For arts institutions like the ITI, this means we can accelerate plans to develop new programmes and establish an endowment. It will be interesting to see if the matching will also attract new philanthropists for arts and culture. That would be great!"

With the CMF, donors will have the opportunity to increase the impact of their contribution to the arts and heritage sector. For donations to an arts and heritage IPC, donors will also be able to enjoy a 250 per cent tax deduction on their cash donation. Besides that, donors may also be nominated as patrons of arts / heritage, which are conferred by the National Arts Council and the National Heritage Board respectively.

The CMF will match donations made from 1 November 2013. There will be two application windows annually, in March and September. More details on the CMF will be made available on http://www.mccy.gov.sg/cmf from 1 November 2013.