New funds to tackle fundraising for the arts


The DARE partnership, a collaboration between Opera North and the University of Leeds, is set to share in a major grant to tackle the challenges in fundraising for the arts.

The grant has been awarded to the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium, of which DARE is a participant, which brings together arts and education organisations from across the country.

The £2m Transforming Arts Fundraising grant, provided by the Arts Council England (ACE), will be used to help professionalise arts sector fundraising, as well as improving perceptions of the arts as a charitable cause amongst potential and existing donors.

Proposed activity includes a nationwide programme of training, apprenticeships, coaching and digital skills development to promote innovative and effective practice in arts fundraising.

The Consortium will be the official national delivery partner for the programme, with Opera North as the grant holder.  

The University of Leeds’ Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange will manage the quality assurance and evaluation of the programme, led by Professor David Platten (School of Modern Languages and Cultures) and Dr Ben Walmsley (School of Performance and Cultural Industries).

Sue Hayton, Business Development Manager for the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to help the arts sector develop fundraising skills and support those who are passionate about promoting arts and culture.

"We are in a very special position to help provide opportunities for creative fundraising initiatives, whether that’s improving training, identifying new talent or helping organisations better articulate their case for support. Above all, our work will go a long way towards increasing the profile of the arts to the public.”

Richard Mantle, Opera North’s general director and chair of the Consortium’s management board, said: “Opera North is committed to strengthening and supporting a flourishing cultural sector by developing those skills fundamental to our sustainability.  Fundraising in the arts needs to be dynamic and we are delighted to be collaborating with leading practitioners and sector experts." 

The Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium will deliver the national fundraising programme to over 600 of the Arts Council England’s national portfolio organisations

Transforming Arts Fundraising is one of the commissioned grants in ACE’s strategic funding programme. Specific details of how arts organisations can get involved in the programme will be announced in the coming months or to find out more, visit the Arts Council England website

For more information

Rachel Barson, press officer, University of Leeds; phone: +44 113 343 2060 or email

Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium

Partners include Barbican Centre East London and City Culture Hubs in partnership with Cause4 , the Arts Marketing Association and the European Sponsorship Association. 

The DARE Partnership

The DARE Partnership is a collaborative partnership between Opera North and Leeds University, launched officially in 2007. Both organisations have a shared vision to raise Leeds' profile as a centre for cultural excellence and to be recognised nationally for high quality learning and practice in the Arts.

The DARE Fundraising Academy is a twelve-month, practice-based fundraiser development programme, the first of its kind in the UK.  Opera North and the University of Leeds, in partnership with Sage Gateshead, Tate Liverpool and the Royal Northern College of Music, will mentor participants at the heart of each organisation, supported by a bespoke programme of experience, coaching and training from leading experts.