Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, has been made a companion of honour in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
The honour is given to recognise services of national importance and is held by only 41 other people.
Jonathan Mills, director and chief executive of the Edinburgh International Festival, the charity that runs the annual event, was given a knighthood, as was the philanthropist Michael Hintze, a keen supporter of the arts.
The philanthropists Phyllis Somers and Janet Wolfson de Botton were made dames.
Malcolm Hayday, the founder and former chief executive of Charity Bank, Caroline Mason, chief operating officer of Big Society Capital, and Neil McIntosh, who retired earlier this year after 22 years as chief executive of the education charity CfBT, were among a large group of voluntary sector figures to receive CBEs.
The honour also went to Pamela Chesters, former chair of Action for Children, Graham Dacre, founder and chair of the youth charities the Open Youth Trust and the Lind Trust, Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the research and policy charity Nuffield Trust, Anthony Tomei, former director of the grant-maker the Nuffield Foundation and Carol Homden, chief executive of the children's charity the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children.
Nick Starr, executive director of the National Theatre, and Gailene Stock, director of the Royal Ballet School, were also given CBEs.
Among those receiving the OBE were the social entrepreneur Claire Dove, who was recently named as a new Charity Commission board member, Tony Heaton, chief executive of Shape Arts, which works with disabled artists, David Hutchison, chief executive of Social Finance, Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family and Catriona Williams, chief executive of Children in Wales.
The Cabinet Office said that 72 per cent of the 1,180 people who received an award had undertaken "outstanding work in their communities in either a voluntary or paid capacity".
A total of 297 people received the British Empire Medal, which was revived by the government last year after a 19-year absence and typically honours people who have carried out significant work in their local community.