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.


What are the Policy Issues Facing Artists and Cultural Organizations in 2015

February 04, 2015

A Toronto based arts service organization The Arts Advocate provides commentary and up to date information about government policy, events and trends in the cultural sector of Ontario. At the end of December, they invited subscribers to their service to complete a short survey on the most important policy issues facing the cultural sector in 2015. We completed the survey in early January, and at that time responses showed:

Issue Responses (%)
Improved public investment through grants or tax credits       68.0%
Paying artists adequate fees        40.0%
Amending the Copyright Act to better protect creators and publishers            20.0%
Updated cultural content regulations         16.0%
Greater international presence and promotion for Cdn artists and products         12.0%
Policies and programs to strengthen audience engagement              8.0%

For more information on the survey results, visit the
Arts Advocate Blog.

Arts Endowment Fund Renewal
As the Ontario Arts Foundation actively is seeking renewal of the Arts Endowment Fund matching program, with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, we are heartened by the high degree of support for public investment in the arts. The responses are interesting and it will be interesting as the year progresses, to see which issues continue to have profile and one hopes, a policy/government response.



The Value of a Charitable Remainder Trust

January 09, 2015

In 1994, 61 people contributed $44,000 to a charitable remainder trust, administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation to create an income for Mary Jolliffe (1923-2014) one of Canada’s best known publicists.

Mary was a character, who like many artists, devoted her life to supporting the arts in North America. Her first role as a publicist was with the Stratford Festival at its beginning in 1953. From there, there were few significant public relations roles that Mary did not hold – O’Keefe Centre in Toronto, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Metropolitan Opera touring company in New York, Expo 67 in Montreal, the National Ballet of Canada, National Arts Centre, the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Her passion and commitment to promoting artists and arts organizations 

was lifelong and she left her mark at every organization. Mary was recognized for her efforts by being named to the Order of Canada in 1985.

Like many artists, Mary moved from role to role and devoted most of her resources during her working life to her lifestyle and the organizations she supported. When retirement became a reality, she found herself with limited sources of income. As a way to recognize her many accomplishments, the individuals contributing to the trust wanted to provide an income supplement to help cover Mary’s costs of living.  The OAF successfully managed the Mary Jolliffe Fund for 20 years. Quarterly annual income payments were made Mary totaling over $80,000.  At her death, the fund was valued $46,000.

Charitable Remainder Trusts
Charitable remainder trusts (“CRT’s) are a tax planned way to create a fund to provide an annual income for life to a named beneficiary. On the death of the beneficiary, the remaining capital is transferred to a registered charity. There are several advantages, to this form of trust, which is not often used by Canadians as part of long-term tax and estate planning.

      • A charitable remainder trust may be funded with cash, securities or real estate. The contributions are held by a trustee ( such as the OAF )
      • The named beneficiary is entitled to receive the income for life ( in effect a form of annuity ).
      • Gifts to the trust are irrevocable and the beneficiary has no right to any of the capital contributed
      • On the death of the life beneficiary, the remaining capital is transferred to a charitable organization named in the trust agreement.
      • As the gifts to the trust are irrevocable, the donor(s) receive a charitable donation tax receipt. The amount of the receipt is based on the present value of the remainder interest, which is determined by the value of the assets contributed, prevailing interest rates and the life expectancy of the income beneficiary.

Some individuals create a trust as a means of ensuring a future gift to a charity important to them, while continuing to receive income from the property which is removed from their estate. The value is not subject to probate fees at the time of the death of the income beneficiary. The trust is responsibly managed by the Trustee, who will provide the annual income.

Mary Jolliffe Award for Arts Administrators
The capital remaining in the Mary Jolliffe Fund will now be used to fund an award, recognizing the contribution of senior arts administrators in Canada to the arts. In this way, the legacy of the lifelong commitment of Mary Jolliffe to the arts will be continued by honouring people like her, who are similarly accomplished.  For arts philanthropists, a CRT offers another way to support the work and life accomplishments of an artist in a way that helps the individual, is tax effective to the donor and provides a future gift to a charitable organization.



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