In Australia, the end of the financial year is rapidly approaching. If your level of organisation is anything like mine, you may still be deciding which charities to support with your tax-deductible donations prior to June 30. When so many people are in need, especially in the context of a global pandemic, cultural organisations can struggle to garner financial support. As we’ve seen over the past year, though, creatives are often the first people to offer their talents to fund-raising initiatives, and are also among the most vulnerable in the face of insecure work, repeated lock-downs and venue closures. Add to the mix dwindling government arts funding, and the arts sector is in desperate need of financial support. But where to start?
In the course of my own research, I’ve compiled a list of Australian arts and cultural organisations that accept tax-deductible donations. This list is nowhere near exhaustive and in no way an endorsement of any particular charity or organisation. I have no formal affiliation with any of these organisations and no conflict of interest. Please conduct your own research before making any donation.
- Charities offering direct support to struggling artists: Organisations such as Support Act and the Artists’ Benevolent Fund provide crisis relief funds to struggling artists and are listed in this excellent ArtsHub article.
- Support for development of new projects: The Australian Cultural Fund is a ‘fundraising platform established by the Australian government to encourage donations to the arts’. Through the fund, donors can select a specific project to support.
- Support artists’ professional development: In the last year, in NSW alone, we have seen government funding withdrawn from organisations such as Writing NSW and the South Coast Writers’ Centre among others. State and local writers’ centres offer vital courses, mentoring and advice to local creatives and are in desperate need of donations to pay staff and remain open.
- Provide an environment to nurture creatives: Havens such as Bundanon and Varuna offer artists the time and space to create new work and rely, to a large part, on charitable donations from the public.
- Galleries and performing arts companies: Consider making a philanthropic donation to your favourite art gallery, a theatre or dance company or the local orchestra. Cultural festivals also rely heavily on donations.
- Arts adjacent charities: Charities like Books in Homes and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation do fantastic work to support literacy by providing books to disadvantaged children. Diversity Arts Australia is interested in ‘advancing cultural diversity and racial equity in the arts and screen sectors’, a timely cause worthy of support.
The bias towards NSW organisations in this list is deliberate, given the disastrous cuts to arts funding by the NSW state government in the last year. Of course there are many other organisations worthy of support throughout the country and I’d be delighted to hear your suggestions in the comments below.