The arts have helped shape each of us into the people we are today. It broadens our perspectives, enriches our lives, and provides the building blocks that shape the Singaporean spirit.
Over the past year, the pandemic has been unprecedented in how it has affected the livelihoods of artists and the arts scene in Singapore. Even in the early days of the pandemic, it was reported that at least $2.6 million was lost in box office receipts by nine arts companies. With the closure of arts spaces, there is concern that should the pandemic persist, a generation of artists and arts organisations nurtured over the years could be wiped out.
This concern of sustainability is why the National Arts Council introduced the Sustain the Arts (stART) Fund. We recognise that arts organisations, especially those which are smaller or just starting out, may need more help in their fundraising efforts. With the stART Fund, we aim to catalyse giving and develop the organisational capabilities of these small arts organisations, ensuring that they are better equipped to sustain their practice for the long-term.
The work of supporting the arts is a responsibility that belongs to all of us. Every dollar is precious. To smaller arts organisations, it is their means to survive, and to continue making art that inspires and gives hope to others. Donate now and help smaller arts organisations tide through these difficult times. Together, we look forward to partnering you to build an arts scene and society that we can all be proud of.
WHAT IS THE START FUND?
The Sustain the Arts (stART) Fund is a joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC) and the private sector to boost the long-term sustainability of smaller arts organisations and to nurture a culture of giving to the arts.
The arts and culture scene is especially necessary today as our lives continue to be disrupted, plaguing us with feelings of anxiety and apprehension. During these times of crisis, the arts provide us with a creative and safe space. It comforts us, helps us connect, and offers us a way to mitigate our fears.
Ever resilient, the arts community has adapted to provide entertainment on new platforms, from digital concerts to live-streaming, to chirpy comic strips and soothing poems.
The role of the stART fund is meant precisely to respond to dire times with hope, by bringing people and resources together. With your help, we can continue to adapt to changes and grow, even amid uncertainties. Together, we will emerge united and stronger.
Administered by NAC, the stART fund supports arts organisations with limited resources. Through supporting our best and brightest local artists and small art groups, we help to ensure the arts live on to create and present quality programmes that contribute to the vibrancy of Singapore's arts and culture ecosystem.
Our passion for protecting the arts scene sees us working together with private donors and tirelessly rallying the community to build a vibrant arts scene for Singapore that is sustainable in both the short and long term. With the continued efforts of our partners, it is a testament to our resilience during a time of crisis that we continue to foster a culture of giving to the arts.
At the heart of NAC is people. And together, we can bring people together, and help sustain our arts.
WHO DOES THE START FUND SUPPORT?
Arts organisations who are non-Institutions of Public Character (IPC) who meet the following criteria are eligible to receive short-term support from the stART Fund:
- Registered with the Commissioner of Charities (COC), Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or the Registry of Societies (ROS); and
- Total Operating Expenditure (TOE) of less than $1 million.
For organisation funding, eligible arts organisations will be shortlisted by NAC and invited to receive funding from the stART Fund to scale-up their organisations to a Charity and/or IPC.
For programme funding, based on donors’ interests, the stART Fund can consider projects that may come through existing NAC general grants, or through a closed call process where shortlisted arts organisations will submit a proposal according to the donors’ interest areas.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE START FUND?
Set the stage for the arts today by giving to the stART Fund.
Visit www.giving.sg/startfund to make an online donation to the stART Fund now! All donations $10 and above are eligible for 250% tax deduction.
For legacy giving, named funds, or if you would like to learn more about giving to the arts, we welcome you to contact our friendly philanthropy advisors at:
Arts & Culture Development Office
National Arts Council
Tel: 6346 9692
Mr Danny Yong
Founder Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Dymon Asia Capital and Founder, Yong Hon Kong Foundation
Mr Yong has generously pledged to donate $1,000,000 towards the stART Fund as its first Founding Donor, aimed at helping emerging artists hone their crafts and funding programmes encouraging inclusive arts. The National Arts Council is pleased to name two awards under the stART Fund to the Yong Hon Kong Foundation and Dymon Asia Capital:
- Dymon Asia Emerging Artists Award
- Yong Hon Kong Foundation Inclusive Arts Award
“It is an honour and privilege for Dymon Asia and Yong Hon Kong Foundation to contribute $1 million as founding donor to this new initiative that will help build a sustainable future for the arts in Singapore.
Art transcends boundaries, enabling us to speak a common language regardless of our background.
The arts play a vital role in stimulating our creativity, adding colour to our lives in subtle, yet powerful ways.
I hope this initiative will allow more talented Singaporean artists to pursue a career in the arts, leading to an even more vibrant art scene in our home that everyone can enjoy. It will also help professionals to hone their craft and flourish, ensuring our arts ecosystem gets the continuity it needs in the years to come.”
- Mr Danny Yong
With the aim to professionalise the charity sector, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) has worked with various organisations to set up shared services to strengthen charities’ regulatory compliance and effectiveness.
1. Centre for Non-Profit Leadership (CNPL)
CNPL provides board advisory services on how charities can strengthen capability and capacity through processes such as board renewal and succession planning. Charities will be able to sign up for CNPL’s BoardMatch Programme, designed to identify and place committed and highly qualified professionals on the Boards.
Leaders Lab are specially curated sessions where hot topics are being delivered via a panel of experts (professionals in that specific topic) and practitioners (current Board members or Executive Directors equivalent) in a panel setting. This is where participants will be able to ask pressing questions in an interactive and engaging style. Past topics include Board Chair-ED relations, Investing in Charity Reserves, Legal Structures of NPOs, etc.
Leadership-On-Track are short 3-hour type “hands-on” workshops specially designed for Board members and Senior Management Team members to gain deeper insights into very specific topics. During these workshops, CNPL’s facilitators would typically share the theories, backgrounds, methodologies and templates, such that participants will be able to apply them when they return back to their Charities/NPOs. Past topics including Strategy, Sustainability, Lean Thinking, StrengthsFinder, etc.
Complimentary Board Advisory Services for Charities and Non-Profit groups to strengthen their organisational effectiveness and governance.
Interested charities can write in to email@example.com for more details.
2. Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (CSIS)
CSIS provides free training sessions and walk-in consultation clinics on the annual submission for charities and governance-related matters. Interested charities can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
3. iShine Cloud Limited (iSC)
iSC provides charities with an affordable and integrated suite of sector-specific solutions via a secure cloud-based IT platform. Charities can have secured access to their data from any device with internet connection and can enjoy improved efficiency and collaboration through productivity tools and digitalised processes. Charities can find out more about iShine Cloud at www.ishinecloud.sg/news-and-events/rsvp.html and register for the complimentary clinics available. Alternatively, charities may contact iSC at email@example.com.
4. Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)
The Centre for Continuing and Professional Education at SUSS provides a structured training curriculum (co-developed with COC) to help charity acquire knowledge and skills in areas such as governance, fundraising, leadership and volunteer management. For more information, charities can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the course.
5. Temasek Trustees Pte Ltd (TTPL)
TTPL provides meeting spaces at the Temasek Shophouse for Commissioner of Charities’ shared services partners to run governance related initiatives for the charity sector.
To find out more about the shared services initiative, charities may contact Charities Unit at MCCY_Charities@mccy.gov.sg.
1. How can I apply for the stART Fund?
Based on donors' interest areas, NAC will source for stART beneficiaries through NAC’s existing grant cycles and accordingly, hold an annual closed call. Should an arts group be shortlisted, NAC will invite the arts group to submit a proposal and an application for the stART Fund.
2. Can you share more on the selection criteria of stART?
The funding for stART’s programmes is largely driven by donors’ expectations, and it is governed by a stART Committee consisting of volunteers from both the private and public sector, as well as representatives of NAC. All shortlisted programmes and arts group beneficiaries, together with their funding allocation will be approved by the stART Committee.
3. What is the grant quanta available for each grant under the stART Fund?
The quantum for each grant under the stART fund is estimated to be between $20,000 to $50,000 for each programme and/or organisation.
4. Can I apply for more than one grant for each programme?
The same programme that is currently funded by NAC can be eligible for the stART Fund as long as the total funding received for the programme does not exceed the cost of the programme.
Potential beneficiaries are expected to declare the total cost of the programme as well as expected funding quantum from the stART Fund. If required, NAC may also enquire about other sources of funding for the relevant programme(s).
5. As a stART beneficiary, what am I expected to do?
The stART Fund aims to provide short-term support, and as a stART beneficiary, you are expected to participate in capability development initiatives that will aid levelling-up your fundraising capabilities. These initiatives could be offered by NAC, the Charities Council or other agencies.
6. If I receive organisation funding to scale-up my organisation to achieve Charity and/or IPC status, when will I get the grant?
For organisational funding to scale up the organisations, groups will receive funding in two tranches based on milestones met.
7. Donors will get 250% tax deduction for their donation. How is this possible as my arts organisation is not an IPC?
The stART Fund is managed as a sub-fund under the Support for the Arts Fund (SFAF), a registered charity with IPC status under the Charities Act. Cash donations from private corporations and individuals to the stART Fund will be eligible for 250% tax deductions, and can be considered for matching by the Cultural Matching Fund.