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Victoria and Albert Museum secures £15m endowment fund with Saudi donation

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Victoria and Albert Museum v&a east smithsonian

A Saudi Arabian-based foundation has helped the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) reach its target £15 million endowment fund with an undisclosed sum.

As a result of this donation, the London museum is now able to unlock a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This match-funding initiative is backed by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport department, the Art Newspaper reported.

“The V&A’s target for the Catalyst: Endowment scheme was £15m. The target was achieved thanks to Art Jameel, with significant support from the [London-based] Porter Foundation and two individual donors who wish to remain anonymous, amongst others,” a V&A spokeswoman said.

She added that the scheme is part of the endowment fundraising activity at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is planned over the next two decades.

“Alongside the museum’s large-scale capital and revenue fundraising priorities, the creation of a sustainable endowment fund is crucial for a museum of our size.” Nicholas Coleridge, the chairman of the V&A, said in a statement.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Jameel art gallery at the V&A.

Thanks to this tranche of money, there will now be five curatorial jobs in the museum’s Middle Eastern and jewellery departments.

Art Jameel, which organises the Jameel Prize for contemporary art and design in partnership with the V&A, has announced three-year commissions programme. The focus is on sculpture for the first edition (2017-18). Deadline for proposals, which looks at works using light technologies, is on 21 November.

Victoria and Albert Museum funding assured

The commissioned piece will go on show at the Jameel Arts Centre, scheduled to open in Dubai Creek late next year.

Endowment funds depend largely on the generosity of private donations. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford set up the Ashmolean Fund to garner a £50m endowment. A donation of £5m was pledged by a private donor, together with a £1m sum from an HLF Catalyst.

The HLF grant matches every pound raised by grant recipients on a sliding scale depending on the size of grant awarded. An award of £500,000 has a match fund ratio of £1:£1, awards of £2million a £2:£1 match and an award of £5million has a £3:£1 match.

“At the time, we set ourselves a target of raising our endowment to £25m by 2020 with a long-term target of £50m; and the total currently stands at £23.6m,” says Xa Sturgis, the director of the Ashmolean.

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