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Arts Impact Fund

Key Information

Investment window July 2015 to August 2019
Funding available £150,000 to £600,000
Repayment period 3 to 5 years
Interest rates 3% to 8.5%
Fees No early repayment fee
Holding fees may apply
Investments completed to date 27
Total amount committed £8.8 million*
*This figure includes undrawn or repaid funds
that have been re-invested
Arts Impact Fund is administered by Arts & Culture Finance on behalf of Nesta Arts Impact LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC396102.

Background and History

The Arts Impact Fund is a pilot initiative that brought together public, private and charitable funding to demonstrate the potential and impact of social investment in the arts and cultural sector. It was created and funded by Bank of America, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Nesta and Arts Council England, with additional funding and support from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The Fund set out to achieve several objectives:

Funding – the fund is now closed for new investments

Arts Impact Fund offered unsecured loans (and revenue participation agreements, where appropriate) between £150,000 and £600,000 with repayment term of three to five years and interest rates ranging between 3.5% and 8.5%.

Eligibility criteria

Your organisation’s primary activity is in arts and culture

Your organisation’s core operations or activity should be based in the arts and culture. For example, a dementia charity using art to engage its beneficiaries would not be eligible to apply for investment. However, a theatre providing outreach performances in local schools to target disadvantaged children would meet our criteria.

As part of the Fund’s criteria for investment, organisations must work in one of the art forms recognised by Arts Council England. These are:

  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Visual arts
  • Literature
  • Combined or multi art forms
  • Digital arts
Your organisation is registered and operating in England

We can only work with organisations registered in England and primarily benefiting communities in England. Digital organisations will need to demonstrate their primary audiences are based in England.

We do not make loans to individuals, sole traders, partnerships or unincorporated bodies (unless their partners/members are exclusively corporate bodies).

Your organisation has a clear social mission, reflected in its structure and governance

To be eligible, your organisation has to demonstrate that has a clear social mission. This includes asset-lock and a restriction of the personal gain derived from its work. Charities, community interest companies and community benefit societies with a recognised charitable purpose are eligible for investment. Other incorporated entities, such as companies limited by shares, will be considered based on the strength of their social mission and whether the majority of their profit will be reinvested into that mission.

Your organisation is able to demonstrate measurable social impact in one of our priority areas

We are looking to support three social outcomes areas through the Arts Impact Fund.

  • Young people and educational attainment
  • Citizenship and Community
  • Health and Well-being

When applying, you will need to show how your organisation works (or intends to work) in at least one of these areas and how it would go about monitoring, evaluating and reporting on its social impact throughout the life of its investment. In general, we expect organisations to have articulated their theory of change either formally or implicitly as well as to have developed (or be in the process of developing) appropriate tools and processes for impact management.


For fund-specific enquiries, please contact Seva Phillips.

Investment Committee

Chair Richard Brass, Head of Wealth and Asset Management, UK, Berenberg (independent)

Geoff Burnand, CEO, Investing For Good (independent)

Ross Burnett, Senior Manager, Policy (Chief Executive Unit), Arts Council England (former)

Nathan Elstub, Chief Investment Officer, Nesta

Helen Goulden, Executive Director, Innovation Lab, Nesta (former)

Alison Holdom, Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Nicola Saunders, Director, Business Improvement & Innovation, Arts Council England (non-voting)

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation (independent)

Andrea Sullivan, Head of International Environment, Social & Governance, Bank of America

Investors and Partners