- The new independent non-profit builds on WeTransfer’s decade-long legacy of helping emerging creatives launch their careers
- Inaugural specially-tailored grants and programs to go live from 1 September in support of artists from underrepresented backgrounds or marginalized groups
- The Foundation to be led by Director Jenne Meerman alongside established board of directors that includes Damian Bradfield, co-founder of WeTransfer, broadcaster and creative director Gilles Peterson, artist Tala Madani and art curator Beatrix Ruf among others
1 September, Amsterdam - The Supporting Act Foundation, new independent charity launched by WeTransfer, has announced €600,000 worth of funding to support emerging underrepresented, underfunded and marginalised artists and organisations with an ambition to remove barriers to entry into the arts.
The Supporting Act Foundation was established by WeTransfer in 2021, and marks the most recent endeavour by the company to give back to its global creative community. Since being established in 2009, the certified B-Corporation™ has worked relentlessly to empower creative professionals and creative institutions. Whether it’s donating 30% of all advertising space to support artists; speaking out against pressing issues like climate change; or partnering with University of the Underground to launch the world’s first free Master’s program, WeTransfer believes in fostering creativity through a better internet, and a better world, for everyone.
The Foundation has been constituted as a standalone charity with an independent Board*, which will operate initially across the Netherlands, UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. WeTransfer has endowed it with an initial €1 million and will pledge 1% of revenue annually each year, plus access to its global advertising and editorial platforms.
The €600,000 announced today is split between three inaugural programs that will deliver on the Foundation’s mission to create opportunities for underrepresented people in the arts, and support communities and organisations who seek to do the same.
Funding for the cultural and creative sectors has gradually diminished over the years. This was exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, with the vast majority self-employed and often excluded or only partially covered by social security protection**. The setback in the growth of the arts is predicted to have an effect for years to come, with fewer opportunities for artists and less diversity*** in the industry.
- Creative Bursary for emerging artists, in the final year of their studies, to provide financial support to people whose work sits in the intersection of arts and technology and are underrepresented. The Foundation will give away 10 x €10,000 bursaries decided by a six member jury.
- Impact Grant is for emerging organisations that support artists and communities, to help cover operational costs. Six two-year grants of €25,000 grants per year will be given away, decided by a three member jury.
- Community Grant will be for existing community-driven projects that support artists in growing their networks and opportunities. 10 x €20,000 grants will be given away over one year, decided by a three member jury.
Jenne Meerman, Director of the Supporting Act Foundation, said: “The career paths of up-and-coming artists are rarely straightforward, and often precarious. Achieving recognition and long-term systemic change is even harder for artists from underrepresented backgrounds and ethnicities who continue to face inherent inequalities that make it almost impossible to pursue a career in the arts. This in turn makes our cultural landscape less diverse and less vibrant.
“Our mission is to enable and inspire emerging artists by giving them meaningful resources they need to launch their careers in the face of these systemic challenges. We’re thrilled to be launching our first programs, targeted at supporting individuals, communities and organisations who have the know-how, track record, and trust to make a difference.”
The deadline for bursary applicants is 19 September 2022. The deadline for applicants to both Impact and Community Grants is 26 September. The funds for the first bursaries and grants will be distributed by the end of 2022.
*Board of Directors: Co-founder of WeTransfer, Damian Bradfield (Chair), contemporary artist Tala Madani, broadcaster and creative director Gilles Peterson, art curator Beatrix Ruf, as well as IP lawyer Peggy de Jonge (Secretary) and family officer Marleen van Thienen (Treasurer)
**EENCA and Panteia research on the status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals, 2021
The Supporting Act Foundation is an independent non-profit organization which provides grants and bursaries to artists at the beginning of their careers, with a particular focus on marginalized groups and community-centered initiatives. The foundation is privately funded by WeTransfer.
WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its suite of creative productivity tools make it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 87 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 real estate to raise awareness for artists, creative work, and the world’s most pressing issues.