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Arts Impact Fund: Insights from the first year

Our first year insights paper, which provides an overview of the Arts Impact Fund’s activities and lessons since it opened for applications, in June 2015.

Our first year insights paper, provides an overview of the Arts Impact Fund’s activities and lessons since it opened for applications, in June 2015.

Key findings

  • The Arts Impact Fund has attracted a diverse range of applications in its first year of operation, in terms of business models and art forms.
  • There is a distinct trend towards the development of cross-subsidy models within the sector, in which some commercial activity subsidises organisations’ social and artistic impact.
  • Robust theories of change and logic models around specific social outcomes remain unusual in the arts and culture sector compared with other social sector organisations.
  • There is a need for more standardised metrics of artistic impacts that can fit into existing frameworks for measuring social and financial returns.

The Arts Impact Fund is a pilot initiative that exists to test social investment as a way of supporting organisations in the arts and cultural sector. It is a £7m fund supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Arts Council England, Nesta and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Arts Impact Fund: Insights from the first year has been written with a commitment to sharing the learning of this pioneering initiative in mind. The paper is also motivated by our desire to see a more transparent social investment sector that fosters knowledge-sharing, trust and understanding.

We expect to update and add to these findings at the end of the investing period, in the summer of 2017, and again at regular intervals over the loan repayment period, which will extend to the summer of 2022.