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Regional Funds
Regional Funds pay out 15 million in grants
Total funding provided by Cultural Foundation passes EUR 1 billion limit
This spring, the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s regional funds have awarded EUR 15 million in grants to 1,200 grantees. The traditional annual ceremony could not be held due to the coronavirus pandemic, but virtual celebrations will take place on 26 May to congratulate all grantees. With this payout from the regional funds, the total sum awarded to the arts and academic disciplines by the Cultural Foundation over its entire history has exceeded EUR 1 billion.

In the January round of applications, the foundation’s 17 regional funds received more than ten thousand applications. The number grew particularly in the regions of Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa and Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi).

– In Uusimaa, we received approximately 600 more applications for working grants than last year. The cultural field is experiencing difficulties overall, but the situation has been especially worrying for freelancers this spring, explains Jari Sokka, Chairman of the foundation’s Board of Trustees.

The board responded to these circumstances by releasing a third batch of additional funding worth EUR 2 million. It was channelled to freelance artists in the form of full-year and half-year grants awarded by the regional funds. So far, the Cultural Foundation’s support of the arts and academic disciplines in the ongoing financial period has totalled around EUR 50 million.

Wishes of donors are evident

This spring, the regional funds awarded 204 full-year and 291 half-year grants. There were 818 grants for the arts and 345 for academic disciplines. The grants went to nearly 200 different municipalities, and around 12% of applicants were successful.

– The regional funds’ opportunities for giving out grants depend on the donations they receive. For example, the South Ostrobothnia fund is now paying out over EUR 1.1 million, of which the Viljo Syrenius Fund accounts for as much as one fifth, says the foundation’s Secretary General, Antti Arjava.

The distribution of the regional funds’ grants varies significantly. In North Savo, nearly 50% of grants go to medical sciences, due to the stated aims of its donor funds, whereas in Kainuu, the arts make up over 70%. The Lapland Regional Fund strongly supports research on Arctic regions and the Sámi culture, while the focus of the North Karelia fund is on supporting young people’s academic postgraduate studies.

With the grants paid out this spring by the regional funds, the current value of the funding provided by the Finnish Cultural Foundation since 1939 has exceeded EUR 1 billion.

– Over 80 years ago, the Cultural Foundation’s assets were raised by elementary school children. Nearly 200,000 Finns, ranging from farmers and blue-collar workers to government officials, factory managers and professors, took part in the fundraising. Indisputably, that fundraising drive has had a major impact on Finnish academia and arts, throughout the country, Arjava states.

On the Road with the Finnish Cultural Foundation

This year, the Cultural Foundation’s regional funds will hold a joint virtual award ceremony. The premiere of “On the Road with the Finnish Cultural Foundation” will take place at 6 pm on 26 May. Invited are grantees from various years, representing every region. During the two-hour online ceremony, journalist Kimmo Ohtonen, some of the foundation’s grantees and other interesting guests will discuss regional heritage in our global world, as well as the secrets and power of creativity. For more information, please visit the On the Road with the Finnish Cultural Foundation web page.