Dame Vivien Duffield's £8.2m British culture boost

By Jennifer Lipman, March 25, 2011
Dame Vivien Duffield

Dame Vivien Duffield

The philanthropist behind the new Jewish Community Centre for London has pledged £8.2 million towards a range of British cultural and education programmes.

Dame Vivien Duffield said she wanted her donation, which comes amid 40 per cent funding cuts to the Arts Council England, to help ensure culture would be “at the heart of our children's learning."

The money will go towards 11 artistic causes, including the Donmar Warehouse theatre, the Tate Britain and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The money will be allocated through Dame Vivien’s Clore Duffield Foundation, which committed £25 million to the JCC redevelopment project.

Made a dame in 2000, she was until last year the chair of the Campaign for the University of Oxford. She chairs the Clore Foundation in Israel and is a supporter of causes including schools, Nightingale House and Jewish Care.

In the four decades she has been involved in philanthropic work, the 64-year-old has given away more than £200 million to British causes, including the British Museum and the Natural History Museum.

She said she was delighted to be in the position to help “such outstanding projects created by some of the best architects, in museums, galleries and theatres across the country”.

"I believe passionately that children and young people deserve the very best opportunities to benefit from the transforming power of our world-class cultural organizations," Dame Vivien said.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, which is to receive £2.5 million, said the government needed to do more to help culture “reach everybody”.

He told the Telegraph: “We couldn’t do things like this without people like Dame Vivien.”

Dame Vivien said that established philanthrophists would continue giving to charity, but she expressed doubts about the future of wealthy donors.

She said: “It all depends on the new rich. Whether they will cough up.

“I’m not sure if a new generation of Indians and Russians and Arabs...It’s a different culture. There’s not the same culture of philanthropy that the Jews have.”

Last updated: 12:07pm, March 25 2011