The OAF Blog

Arts Advocacy - 2015

February 23, 2015

For some time, the Ontario Arts Foundation has been quietly advocating on behalf of arts organizations for a renewal of the Province of Ontario Arts Endowment Fund matching program. This innovative program, which ran from 1998 to 2008 saw the Government of Ontario invest $60 million in matching funds for endowment. It was a compelling success story of a public/private partnership. In summary, 273 arts organizations in 75 communities across Ontario created endowments with the Foundation. As private funds were raised by an arts organization, and contributed to an endowment, the Foundation matched those contributions dollar for dollar. Since inception, the $60 million investment has grown ( through private funds raised and market appreciation ) to over $140 million. Since 1998, a cumulative $55 million in income has been disbursed, which represents an over 90% return on the provincial investment. Very few initiatives can demonstrate a similar, sustained  long term return.

Long-term giving
With funding for the arts being either static or reduced, we believe matching programs are a powerful stimulus to focus private donors on long term endowment giving. The income from these endowment programs is unrestricted – the arts organization can deploy the annual income in any way that best meets the needs of the organization – annual operations, arts scholarship, arts education in the community.


AEF Objectives
The objectives of the Arts Endowment Fund program are to:

  • Increase self-generated revenue and be a stable source of long term income
  • Foster artistic excellence and engagement in the arts by people living in Ontario
  • Enhance an arts organizations’ ability to create employment and contribute to Ontario’s economy


Ontario Ministry of Finance - Budget Submission
In addition to regularly meeting with staff at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to sustain awareness about the program’s success and promote it, we also recently made a Budget Submission to Ontario’s Ministry of Finance promoting inclusion of renewal in the 2015 budget. We recognize that the government is very focused on addressing Ontario’s fiscal situation, but firmly believe one of our role’s is to promote this source of funding for the arts at all levels of government.

You can read the submission here.


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