ACT 1994 – 1999
In 1994, the newly established Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology responded to an invitation from Nedcor Bank and Sun International to set up a body for arts and culture, similar to the Sports and Green Trusts, which were established earlier.
In this way, the first three Founding Trustees came together to secure financial and other resources for arts and culture, and to project the needs and role of the sector into the public domain.
Each of the Founding Trustees contributed one million rand, which was invested in a Trust Fund, to ensure sustainability and to minimise dependence on annual grants.
The interest accrued from capital investments was to be used to fund cultural projects in all the disciplines, across the country.
At the same time, a Board of Trustees, made up of leading art practitioners and administrators, was established. Its task was to implement the funding policies, to evaluate projects and to decide on funding allocations.
Former President Nelson Mandela endorsed the initiative and agreed to serve as the Patron-in-Chief of ACT. In this way, it came to be called the Arts and Culture Trust of the President during his term of office. Athol Fugard is presently the Patron of the organisation.
During the first five years, two further Founding Trustees - the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Vodacom - joined ACT and contributed to the trust endowment. Thus, the partnership between the private sector, government and local cultural community was extended to include international cooperation.
ACT 2000 – 2005 (External Evaluation findings)
ACT's funding of organisational costs (including audits) enabled organisations to later approach other funders with a good financial system in place, making the process of accessing funding more efficient.
ACT's multi-year funding enabled some fledging organisations to grow and develop – in some cases, from a one-person initiative to an organisation; in other cases, to expand the organisation’s reach and impact.
ACT funds supported training programmes and the transfer of skills to trainees who might later be offered employment;
ACT funds enabled development of materials that benefit schools, curriculum developers, libraries and other organisations.
New skills were developed in both adults and children.
The transfer of skills in administration and management was been funded.
Funds enabled the creation of employment opportunities or the continuation of employment of practitioners.
Many of the activities and/or organisations funded by ACT had an outreach component, ensuring that arts and culture reached as many communities as possible, as well as bringing disparate ideas and cultures together.
ACT 2005 – 2009
With an initial investment of R5 million more than 700 projects funded with grants to the total value of R17 million (through investments and fundraising)
ACT reached a degree of operational sustainability and is less donor reliant for operating costs than in the past.
ACT is still donor reliant for project funding.
More information is available on request.