WeTransfer's Supporting Act Foundation continues 'no strings attached' vision for arts funding with second funding round
€400,000 for 16 emerging artists, initiatives and grassroots orgs across Europe
Funded by 1% revenue pledge from WeTransfer
Unique trust-based philanthropy approach
AMSTERDAM - 28 November 2023 - From a collective of strippers tackling stigma of sex work through weekly life drawing classes to an artist embracing kitsch aesthetics to ignite a revolution, the 2023 cohort for The Supporting Act Foundation represents an exciting, eclectic mix of individuals and grassroots organisations using art for good.
Now in their second funding round, the work of the foundation comes at a time when alternative thinking about arts funding and philanthropy is flourishing, and sets forth a bold vision for what the future could look like.
But more than arguing for change, the programme is making a tangible impact today. Funding from previous years has enabled the participants to launch mentorship schemes into the music industry, a film library that looks beyond the Western canon, ensured all participating creatives were paid for their work, and propelled artists forward to win awards and secure exhibitions.
For their second funding round, The Supporting Act Foundation is setting a blueprint for a radical alternative to the status quo of arts funding. Founded by WeTransfer in 2021, the foundation stands apart from other philanthropic endeavours due to their trust-based philanthropy approach. By offering unrestricted grants, the total amount which equates to 1% of WeTransfer’s annual revenue, artists and organisations are supported to make art rather than spend time on lengthy application forms and bureaucratic reporting procedures.
The Supporting Act Foundation’s director, Jenne Meerman says, “Of all the possible approaches we could have taken, we were instinctively drawn to trust-based philanthropy. And speaking with artists has confirmed this – they are all frustrated by the difficulty in applying for grants, the time and energy required for admin. Yet unrestricted grants are still quite novel within arts funding. But I’m hopeful that things are changing – at the very least, artists and non-profits are hungry to see this shift happen.”
Meet the New 2023 Grantees:
Selected by an independent jury of artists and activists, the 16-strong list brings together painters, theatre directors, DJs, an architectural collective, a radio station and more. Two funding programmes (Creative Bursary offers €10,000 to 10 emerging artists and Impact Grant of €50,000 for 6 arts organisations) pay regular instalments to each grantee – one year for individuals or two years for organisations.
Espacio Comun (Peru)
Legal Aliens Theatre (UK)
Oroko Radio (Ghana)
Angelo Ormskerk (Netherlands)
Ankie Van Kasteren (Netherlands)
Auro Orso (Germany)
Daniela Tovar Rodriguez (Spain)
Diren Demir (Germany)
Elleanna Chapman (UK)
Halar Soomro (Netherlands)
Melanie (Melli) Erzuah (Germany)
Saman Mahdavi (Netherlands)
Shahd Katba (Germany)
The Supporting Act Foundation
Through a series of grants and bursaries, WeTransfer’s Supporting Act Foundation aims to provide a helping hand to artists at the beginning of their careers, with a particular focus on underrepresented groups and community-centred initiatives. Prioritising diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Supporting Act strives for social, intersectional, and environmental justice, using the power and reach of the arts to make a difference for everyone.
WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its ecosystem of creative productivity tools makes it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes. In 2022, WeTransfer also launched its Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging artists and community-driven non-profits through bursaries and grants.