The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) has announced the launch of its “25 Million Reasons to Give” campaign to mark the organisation’s 25th year anniversary celebrations in 2019 and to invite investors to help it raise R25 million towards the arts.
ACT is South Africa’s oldest independent and sustainable arts funding and development agency. From its foundation of strong corporate governance values, the organisation nurtures and rewards excellence in the arts, drives the South African creative economy and contributes to the country’s GDP through its various programmes.
Established in 1994 by the then Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology to secure financial and other resources for arts, culture and creativity, ACT gained an endorsement from the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who served as ACT’s Patron-in-Chief for his term in office.
Within the first five years of its establishment, ACT’s Founding Trustees contributed a total of R5 million to the trust. The sum became the financial base for further generation and disbursement of funding towards various arts and culture projects across South Africa.
ACT’s 25 Million Reasons to Give campaign is focussed on raising investment to be disbursed across five key pillars established by the organisation. These pillars are: ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarships- aimed at learners in grade 12 and individuals under the age of 25, ACT Development Grants- disbursed to emerging or mid-level artists and organisations as well as postgraduate students, ACT Building Blocks- designed to build capacity through skills transfer, ACT Conference- an annual conference designed to inspire change and the ACT Awards- in celebration of excellence in South African arts, culture and creative sector.
Over the past 24 years, ACT has disbursed more than R20 million to artists and organisations working across the artistic practices of music, literature, theatre, visual arts and dance. The organisation’s total investment over the period increases to R45 million when other development programmes which invest in the sector indirectly, such as the ACT Building Blocks, are included in the calculation.
“Some of our investors have walked a long road with us and it is a great honour to acknowledge and thank Nedbank, Sun International, DALRO and the National Arts Council (NAC) for their generous financial contributions over the years; contributions which have impacted so many lives and organisations,” says ACT Chief Executive Officer, Marcus Desando.
Amongst the plethora of stories borne from the contribution to the arts, culture and creative sector that ACT has made, the rise of the Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) becomes prominent. In 1999, VDT received seed funding for their organisation and followed this with concerted, ongoing efforts of their own. In 2019, the local and international award-winning dance company celebrates its 20th anniversary and not only performs locally and internationally, but has also offers training, outreach programmes and corporate event production amongst other services.
“Looking back, we are proud of the sustained impact ACT has had over the past 24 years,” says Desando “and now we are looking to significantly bolster our fundraising efforts. To this end, it is the vision of our Board of Trustees to ramp up our investment endeavours to support these initiatives to a much greater extent. And what better time than now, as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations. If R5 million had such an enormous impact, imagine what a further R25 million could do?”
“We therefore heartily extend an invitation to both our existing sponsors and to future investors, to seriously consider the impact ACT has had on both growing and preserving the arts, and to consider our organisation as a platform to invest in. ACT prides itself in upholding high corporate governance measures and makes a real and tangible impact in the lives of individual and organisations, who add beauty to life through the arts,” concluded Desando.
The ACT 25 Million Reasons to Give campaign will host a series of events, talks and tours for investors and the general public to participate in during its 25th anniversary celebrations.