About the Ontario Arts Foundation

Who We Are


Arts Endowment Fund Program

A special incentive for donors to make a lasting contribution to the arts was offered through the Arts Endowment Fund Program (AEF), a matching program the Ontario Ministry of Culture administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation. During the program, arts organizations across Ontario established endowment funds, attracting $60 million in matching funds. Over the last 30 years, more than $87 million in income has been paid out in support of arts organizations in Ontario.

Canada Cultural Investment Fund, Endowment Incentives Component

The Ontario Arts Foundation invests matching funds received on behalf of arts organizations who contributed to their endowments under a program offered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Arts organizations jointly apply for matching funds from the Federal government. Since the program began in 2002, the Ontario Arts Foundation has received matching grants totaling $7.5 million. We encourage donors and arts organizations to identify opportunities where long-term gifts can leverage this ongoing matching opportunity. 

Private Funds, Awards, Scholarships

Special awards, prizes and scholarships recognize excellence in the arts while reflecting the interests of arts patrons and their creative approaches to supporting the arts. Since 1991, 30 private funds, awards and scholarship programs have been established, from which $11.7 million in awards and scholarships have been paid out.

See the complete list of Private Funds, Awards and Programs here

Investing in the Arts

Combining extensive knowledge of the arts in Ontario with efficient administration and a flexible approach, we work with arts patrons to help them develop strategies that reflect their philanthropic goals while providing continuing support over the long term.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages 350 funds with a market value of $100 million. In 2019, the Ontario Arts Foundation paid out $4.7 million in support of the arts in Ontario. While each fund is dedicated to a specific purpose, funds are pooled for investment purposes. The Board of Directors has established an investment Policy Statement to govern the investing of foundation assets, which are managed by three investment management firms.

A strong working relationship with our sister organization, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), brings additional value to our administration of awards and scholarships. For some awards, we work closely with OAC staff and use their peer assessment principle in developing criteria and in administering the selection process.

The Ontario Arts Foundation operates with a small staff and a 15-member volunteer board. For more information about the Ontario Arts Foundation and its proven track record in managing endowments, please contact Bruce Bennett, Executive Director, or refer to our website
Audited Financial Statements FY 2021 (PDF)


Geographical Diversity of Arts Endowment Fund Organizations 

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