Ireland is one of the great philanthropic countries of the world. It is a core characteristic of ours, and one that we rate highly, that we take an interest in others and that we support their work and efforts through the donation of our time or our money. Today, it is estimated that total philanthropic income in Ireland is in excess of €500 million annually. This is a sizeable amount for a country of our size but the arts sector in Ireland receives only approximately 0.6% of this amount.
Income from philanthropy for arts organisations in Ireland makes up only 3% of their total income. This is less than half the proportion of philanthropic sponsorship in other countries like the United Kingdom and United States, which have a more highly developed approach to philanthropic support for arts and culture. It is clearly the case, therefore, that while philanthropy in general is reasonably well developed in Ireland, this is not the case in the arts and culture sector. Philanthropy for arts and culture is underdeveloped in Ireland compared with other sectors and other countries, and this is an issue which I have set out to address as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The programme for Government agreed between the two parties gives a clear commitment on this point. The programme states, "We will work with stakeholders in the Arts community to develop new proposals aimed at building private support of the Arts in Ireland exploring philanthropic, sponsorship or endowment fund opportunities." It is unfortunately the case, however, that today's obvious constraints on the taxpayer mean we have to look for innovative ways to address funding issues.
This year, I have allocated more than €63 million to the Arts Council in direct support. However, it is abundantly clear that the pressure on funding that my Department faces for 2013 will have an impact here and across all funding priorities of my Department. Therefore, at a time when taxpayer funding to arts and culture is under pressure and decreasing, it is more important than ever that organisations seek to tap whatever reserves of private support may be in place for funding.
Our new focus on philanthropy is also one which sees philanthropy as a mainstay of arts and culture funding for the years and decades ahead, even when State funding to arts and culture begins to increase again at some point in the future. Philanthropy has a long-term positive impact, and instilling a new culture of philanthropy in Irish arts and culture will be of manifest benefit for the future vitality of the sector. We need to develop our fund-raising skills and capacity right across the sector. To do this we need to learn from those who do it best.
My vision of philanthropy is also not one where one size fits all. It is not about saying there is a single approach which works for everyone. As Minister, I have supported two specific initiatives to increase philanthropy in our arts and culture sector, schemes which reflect that different organisations can benefit from different supports on this issue.
The first of these is the philanthropy leverage initiative, managed by my Department and designed to reward smaller projects across the arts and cultural spectrum that can leverage funding from private sources. The second is the Arts Council's RAISE: Building Fund-raising Capacity, designed to build capacity in selected organisations to raise money, not just on a once-off basis but over time, building deeper funding relationships with private sponsors.
In May 2012, I launched the philanthropy leverage initiative. This initiative is designed to encourage philanthropic sponsorship and endowment funding of the arts from private sources. The initiative, established with funding of €230,000 for 2012, is managed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The philanthropy leverage initiative provides an incentive to arts organisations to proactively seek new and multi-annual relationships with sponsors which deliver private sector financial support, thereby increasing overall funding available to the arts. It is available across projects of varying scale, geography and art forms. It is envisaged that this funding will unlock new private sector funding of 2.5 times the State allocation of €230,000, generating total additional funding of €805,000 to the arts in 2012. The pilot initiative will be reviewed at the end of 2012.
Applicants for funding apply to the philanthropy leverage initiative for support in one of four categories, with each category targeting a different multiple of matching funding. An organisation can seek State funding of €5,000 if it can raise €10,000 from new philanthropy, sponsorship or endowment funding, a 2:1 ratio of private to taxpayer funding. However, an organisation can apply for more taxpayer funding - up to €20,000 - if it can raise €100,000 from new philanthropy. More funds are, therefore, available to organisations that can match taxpayer funding with a higher multiple of private support. Funding under this initiative is available to not-for-profit organisations for arts programming projects. To date, organisations that have benefitted from the scheme include Cork Community Art Link, Macnas, the Little Museum of Dublin and the Temple Bar Gallery.
Yesterday I launched a second important development in the areas of the philanthropic support for the arts: the Arts Council's RAISE: Building Fund-raising Capacity pilot initiative. This programme will provide one-to-one professional support to the eight selected organisations for two years through planning and implementing a tailored fund-raising programme. Eight leading Irish arts organisations are aiming to raise €10 million in private funding over the next five years as part of a new Arts Council initiative. The pilot project will place the organisations on a stronger financial footing and mean people throughout the country will be able to experience more high quality performances, exhibitions, film screenings and other arts events. The arts organisations participating in the initial pilot are the Irish Film Institute, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Na Píobairí Uilleann, the Galway Arts Festival, The Model Gallery in Sligo, the National Chamber Choir, Wexford Festival Opera and the Gate Theatre. As part of the selection process, all demonstrated that they have the ambition, potential and commitment to raise more than €250,000 per annum in private investment.
I firmly believe that philanthropy is as beneficial to the donor as to the recipient and should be recognised as such. As someone who has been associated with a range of arts and heritage groups, both giving of my time and helping to raise money, I know the huge personal reward that comes from this commitment. I also know, however, that philanthropy is new territory for many Irish arts organisations. Changing thinking and attitudes is as much a challenge as getting arts organisations confident and willing to take the plunge to go out and seek the support they deserve.
Changing the culture of philanthropy will take time. To help this process of change, I will host an important seminar on the topic "Philanthropy and the Arts" at the Smock Alley Auditorium, Exchange Street Lower, Dublin 8 on 18 October 2012. The conference will feature speakers from key organisations and arts institutions in Ireland. The speakers will outline the positive impact that philanthropy can bring to arts organisations and businesses and the greater associated social benefits it can generate.
Speakers will be drawn from Bank of America, the Ireland Funds, the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising, the Arts Council, the Revenue Commissioners, the National Archives, Business to Arts, the Little Museum of Dublin, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Smock Alley and those active in the arts and culture sphere. I hope Deputy Ó Fearghaíl or any other Member of the House might also be able to join me for that event. I hope this conference will be of interest to all participants, both for the philanthropists and for those groups and individuals who are seeking to raise money and obtain support. I look forward to hearing from all sides in this equation, that is, from the corporate givers, the groups that benefit and the organisations that play a strong role in this field. For example, schemes are in place in the Revenue Commissioners to allow tax relief on donations to charities and approved bodies and I hope that a detailed explanation of the schemes currently in place will be useful for all attending. As mentioned, the Arts Council is embarking on a major new programme to build support for philanthropy in the arts sector and will address the conference on this point. Moreover, the Business to Arts organisation will also make a presentation on the day. This is an organisation that has brought innovation to this issue through the development of Fund it, an Ireland-wide initiative that provides a platform for people with great ideas to attract funding from friends, fans and followers across the world.
It is undeniably the case that philanthropy has assumed a greater importance now, given the financial situation my Department faces. However, it is important to remember that philanthropy is not simply about replacing State funding with private support. Instead, it is about a highly ambitious aim for this country to combine the best of US-style philanthropic support with the best of European-style State support. It is not about importing a US model wholesale to Ireland. Over-dependence on philanthropy or the single-source model has been as dangerous to cultural organisations in the United States as over-dependence on State support has been here. The most sustainable model for financing the arts, one that secures both financial and artistic independence, is one in which cultural organisations can count on a plurality and diversity of funding sources.
In closing, I believe it is important to remember that while income is the immediate goal, the gain from philanthropy is not simply monetary. The extensive outreach involved in building a donor base plays a vital social function in society. Building relationships creates communities. It instils ownership and civic pride and galvanizes the power of art to permeate and connect that community. No matter how small or large a donation, a donor automatically becomes a stakeholder and has an interest in the organisation. On this point, I will conclude by reminding Members of the words of David Rockefeller that "Philanthropy is involved with basic innovations that transform society, not simply maintaining the status quo or filling basic social needs that were formerly the province of the public sector". I look forward to this debate and if any good proposals come from my colleagues in this House, I certainly will take them on board.