Pioneering investment fund brings social finance to the Arts


–          £7million Arts Impact Fund brings together public, private and philanthropic investment
–          New funding model will bring social investment to the Arts

A fund that brings together public, private and charitable investment to support arts organisations has launched today. This is the first of its kind to focus on the social, artistic and financial return created by arts-based organisations.

The £7million Arts Impact Fund was created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was convened with the help of the Cabinet Office, to demonstrate the significant social value created by arts organisations and support their work through loan finance.

The initiative uses a three-way funding model – called comingling. It has been developed after Cabinet Office research suggested there is an investment demand of £28million from arts-based organisations. 

As a demonstration fund, it combines the expert knowledge and networks of the arts industry with charitable foundations, investors and social impact specialists and will:

  • Identify a portfolio of artistically-excellent organisations seeking to expand / scale
  • Contribute to the debate on how to track and report on artistic and social outcomes within the wider arts sector
  • Establish demand for social impact funding from arts-based organisations
  • Demonstrate how arts organisations can generate both financial and social returns
  • Promote case studies of arts organisations improving resilience through social investment
  • Establish the fund mechanics, metrics on loss/default rates and returns to allow for a larger follow-on fund

The Arts Impact Fund offers an alternative to a commercial loan and grant funding. The advantages of this model include: working with experienced arts investors, sharing risk and providing the opportunity to secure finance for core costs and accelerate development plans.

Arts organisations interested in applying will need to show a need for the finance, explain what the social impact of the investment will be and demonstrate how they will repay the loan. The impact of the arts organisation should be in at least one of the following areas: Youth and Educational Attainment, Community and Citizen, Health and Wellbeing.

Organisations will be able to apply via the website – – from Wednesday 15th April for an unsecured loan ranging from £150,000 – £600,000 and with an interest rate of between 4 and 7%. All applications will be considered by the Fund investments team before being presented to the investments committee. Successful applicants will be announced every six months over a two year period with their performance and social impact measurements published.

Rob Wilson MP, the Minister for Civil Society, said: “The UK’s social investment market is world-leading and contributes to economic growth, tackling social problems and supporting public service reform. As part of this Government’s long term plan for the economy, social investment plays an important role by unlocking finance to help charities and social enterprises do more.  We believe that the Arts Impact Fund and this pioneering new model is just the start and we want to see it scaled up and replicated in other sectors to address a range of social challenges.”

Andrea Sullivan, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, added: “Bank of America Merrill Lynch is a recognised leader in supporting the arts around the world. Maintaining a vibrant arts sector is critical to the social and economic development of our communities, and with traditional funding sources constrained, the Arts Impact Fund is a timely and innovative financial solution with tremendous potential for scale.  We are delighted to be able to offer not only financial support but also our proven experience of global impact investing to help create sustainable change in our communities.”

Helen Goulden, executive director at Nesta, and on behalf of the Fund, commented: “It has never been more important to think imaginatively about how to increase access to finance for arts organisations. The Arts Impact Fund not only opens up opportunities for social investment for the whole sector, but brings together public, charitable and private finance in support of that mission.  These first two years will be critical to understanding the long-term potential of impact funds of this kind to support the Arts.”

For more information about the Fund and how to apply visit: The pilot will determine whether there is a demand for a longer term, larger fund with the model potentially also being applied to a variety of other sectors of the UK economy.

Most recent episodes

40th Annual New York Cash Exchange: What Can Treasurers Expect?

Ahead of the 40th annual New York Cash Exchange, two of TMANY’s distinguished board members, David Miller and Timothy T. Hesler, CTP, provide TMI CEO, Robin Page, with a quickfire rundown of what attendees can expect from this year’s conference. Our guests share their aspirations for the event,...


Expectation-Beating Inflation Prints Ratchet Up Pressure on Monetary Policy

Welcome to the third edition of Liquidity Link Live, your exclusive market analysis provided by Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s largest cash managers. Tune in each month to discover the very latest insights on the UK, Eurozone and US markets. This edition was recorded on the 9th May...


Making the Sustainable Transition: A Roadmap to ESG in Treasury

Over the last 18 months, Societe Generale has experienced a steady increase in requests from their corporate clients to integrate ESG features in treasury management.  Louis-David Rouyer, Philippe Pougeard, and Emmanuelle Petelle (Societe Generale) provide TMI’s Eleanor Hill with a whistlestop run...


Lift Off for Fed Rate Rises

Welcome to the latest edition of Liquidity Link Live, your exclusive market analysis provided by Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s largest cash managers. Tune in each month to discover the very latest insights on the UK, Eurozone and US markets. This edition was recorded on the 5th of...


Treasury in 2022 and Beyond

Industry experts Bob Stark (Kyriba) and Sebastian di Paola (PwC) join TMI’s Editor, Eleanor Hill, to explore the very latest treasury trends – and to discuss how smart treasurers can get ahead of the game by ...


How BearingPoint Harnessed Data-Driven Forecasting with CashAnalytics and SAP

Listen back to our recent forecasting masterclass, where Group Treasurer Eveline Stam, and Conor Deegan (CashAnalytics) provided TMI’s Eleanor Hill with a comprehensive overview of how consultancy firm BearingPoint achieved company-wide cash forecasting nirvana by combining specialist solutions from...


The 3 T’s of The Future: Tech, Treasury, and Transformation

Over the past two years, an increasingly dynamic environment has not only accelerated technology development – from quantum computing to blockchain technology, and even the metaverse – but also technology adoption, bridging colleagues and breaking down silos in a remote work world. In this podcast,...


Monetary Policy Continues to Drive Markets as Ukraine Invasion Weighs on March Meetings

Welcome to the second edition of Liquidity Link Live, your exclusive market analysis provided by Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s largest cash managers. Tune in each month to discover the very latest insights on the UK, Eurozone and US markets. This edition was recorded on the 3rd of...


Tax Spotlight: How the OECD’s Two-Pillar Solution Impacts Treasury

Aaron Lee and Joseph Lee (DBS Bank) join TMI’s Eleanor Hill to discuss how the OECD’s Two-Pillar Solution aims to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. Ahead of the 2023 implementation date multinational corporates will have much to consider around these reforms....


FX Connections: Bringing Transparency to Cross-Currency Payments

Cross-border activity is growing at a remarkable rate, making FX payments a hot topic for treasurers across the globe.  In this TreasuryCast episode, Eleanor Hill asks Daniela Eder and Gibran Maqsood (Barclays Corporate Banking) to provide their key action points around FX payments in 2022. Our guests...