The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt today announced details of a £55m programme to help arts and heritage charities build endowment funds.
The Endowment Fund will award grants of at least £500,000 to about 50 organisations.
The fund, which will be chaired by the former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo, will open in October and issue its first grants in early 2012.
The grants will be available on a matched fund basis. Organisations will, on average, be expected to secure £2 from private donors to receive £1 from the fund.
"It took the Met in New York over 100 years to build up their £2bn endowment," said Hunt. "I want our endowments century to start today."Hunt announced in December last year that £80m would be made available by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England to increase philanthropy. Some of that money will be used for the Endowment Fund.
Today, he revealed the Heritage Lottery Fund had contributed £20m to increase the total amount available for boosting philanthropy to £100m.
A quarter of the Heritage Lottery Fund's contribution - £5m – will go towards helping smaller cultural and heritage organisations build their financial resilience and fundraising abilities.
The other £15m will form part of the £55m endowment fund.