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A PASSION FOR THE ARTS (article first published : 2001-06-21)

Public sector funding for the arts in South Africa is a contentious issue. Against this backdrop, a number of organisations such as The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) continue to provide critical funding for artistic projects across the spectrum.

Initiated by Nedbank in 1994, with additional backing from other corporates, ACT has to date provided 95 bursaries and supported 289 artistic projects. Nedbank's innovative mutual benefit marketing initiative - through which Nedbank donates funds to the Trust on its clients' behalf - has guaranteed sustainable income for ACT to be channelled into projects on an ongoing basis.

The launch of the Nedbank Green, Arts and Sport programme, borne out of the old Nedbank Affinities, extends this philanthropic client-bank partnership to include a number of value-added dimensions that embraces both Nedbank Arts clients and the Trust. The Arts programme is set to transform the face of benefit schemes with tangible, value-added opportunities. Newsletters, regular client mailings and specialised offers will be combined with an interactive website with the goal of satisfying clients and encouraging them to return to the site to create online experiences that transform everyday banking into complete lifestyle partnerships. The website (www.nedbankarts.co.za) will go live towards the end of June 2001.

Nedbank has also successfully moved into experiential marketing through strategic partnerships with Nu Metro (Nedbank Cinema Privé) and IMAX. This concept of an “entertainment economy” enables Nedbank to provide banking interfaces in leisure environments.

ACT funds projects ranging from the recording of San art and writers' workshops to dance for the disabled. Nedbank and its clients, through annual capital donations and the Nedbank Arts programme, have contributed over R3 million to such initiatives. The bank was recently awarded the 2000 BASA (Business Arts South Africa) Chairman's Award for sustained excellence in sponsorship of the arts.

More information on the Arts and Culture Trust from its CEO, Lulu Khumalo, on (011) 833-3611 or e-mail: info@artsculturetrust.co.za




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