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Trans-Atlantic angels – Gifts on the rise

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American support of the British arts is on the rise, The New York Times reported Sept. 28. American philanthropists are listed among the top private donors to London’s $600 million millennium cultural expansion effort-the largest in history.

American money, for example, accounted for nearly 30 percent of all individual financing for the $214 million Tate Modern, the first new national museum in Britain in 100 years. Many credited the Tate’s success to its marketing approach, which projected the museum as a non-British international institution.

An important factor in increasing the number of trans-Atlantic patrons for British arts groups has been the formation of fundraising arms in America, the Times said.

These arms offer tax-exempt status for donors in the U.S. A donation to a British museum, for example, offers the same tax deduction as a gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Royal Academy of Art was the first London art institution to set up an American office. Since 1983, it has received gifts and pledges of about $30 million.

Tax benefits are not the only the only factor drawing American support to British institutions, the Times said. Patrons often feel more a part of the international groups they support, and a small donation in London goes farther than one in New York or Los Angeles.

For full story, go to the New York Times. 

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