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New Models New Money Webinar

Monday 21 November, 2011, 3.30-4.30pm

Host: BoardConnect Limited
Speaker: Belinda Drew (CEO, Foresters Community Finance)
Facilitator: Cathy Hunt (Director - Positive Solutions)

Thirty people from 26 organisations logged on to the Webinar.

Background: Cathy Hunt, Director – Positive Solutions

  • Research into different funding models began a couple of years ago following on from the 2020 Summit
  • It led to a number of reports including a report to the Office for the Arts earlier this year on New Models New Money and including the concept of a Foundation for the Artist
  • This report recommended a new endowment structure to deliver both grants and mission-related investment directed to the work of individual practitioners and also identified potential new opportunities within the emerging social financing and investment market in Australia
  • Foresters Community Finance and Arts Queensland, in partnership with Positive Solutions are now exploring what this means for the cultural sector, through identifying opportunities within Foresters current financial products and identifying any barriers that prevent arts organisations from accessing finance This includes:
    • How cultural organisations and enterprises can develop their business models to create stronger more resilient structures for the future – including the need to build the capital or asset base of those organisations.
    • How they can access all possible forms of finance and investment to achieve their goals, and
    • What new approaches to the use of current sources of funding (both government and philanthropy) could be considered to achieve these goals.

Belinda Drew, CEO of Foresters Community Finance

  • Foresters is one of Australia's first Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI)
  • it has a social focus and mission, offering a different approach to funding that is focused on social inclusion and asset building
  • it works through Appropriate Loan Products; Demand-led Investment; and Financial Inclusion
  • Community Finance can fill the gap between uncertain government funding and access to more traditional forms of income for which access is limited (e.g. philanthropic or commercial income)

To access Community Finance, organisations need

  • Clear Purpose
  • Financial Capacity
  • Clear Decision Making

Foresters' investment process is not traditional grant-making, but a series of steps, each step containing micro-outcomes that benefit the organisation.

  • Phase 1 – Investment Appraisal
  • Phase 2 – Investment Packaging
  • Phase 3 – Loan Application
  • Phase 4 – Loan Finalisation
  • Phase 5 – Ongoing Review over the life of the loan.

Community Finance is definitely not a replacement for government funding - any reduction would undermine what community finance is trying to achieve.

Question: What are the implications of long-term loans for the boards of arts organisations that are on limited time-frame funding (triennial funding at best)?

Response: CDFIs look at an organisation's Profit and Loss to determine the level of surplus that can be used to service debt, not at the organisation's government funding. The challenge is for organisations to think about their financial structure and how to shape it for different forms of finance. Even where an organisation has been de-funded, if it has an asset base and has demonstrated financial capacity, a loan can often continue to be serviced.

Question: What is the impact of alternative funding on boards? What do they need to do, particularly in relation to liability and risk management?

Response: Board members should consider what level of risk is appropriate to achieve their organisation's goals. They must undertake due diligence before any loan is negotiated.

Question: What is Foresters' view of arts organisations that are owned by local government wanting to access finance?

Response: Foresters would not normally lend money to government-owned organisations, since government would not be seen as suffering from financial exclusion.

Final comments:
Community Finance is an emerging market that is going to grow, as indicated by what is happening internationally. Government needs to be involved to make things happen, but there is also a need for a strong sector voice from Cultural Enterprises, Social Enterprises and Non-profits to articulate how this work will benefit them and how it will not and should not be used.

In conclusion, Cathy thanked BoardConnect for organising the webinar and Belinda for her contribution to it. Further details in relation to Foresters Programs can be found on www.foresters.org.au For further queries on the current research, contact Cathy ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).