Priorities and future development needs of subsidies for communities – key takeaways from info briefing

On 14 May, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) organised an info briefing on the priorities and future development needs of subsidies for communities. The key takeaways from the info briefing are summarised below.

At the info briefing, Taike presented possible changes to application processes and evaluation criteria. Although the financial situation for 2025 is still for the most part unclear, Taike will make some of the changes regardless of the decisions related to appropriations. Taike’s goal is for applicants to be informed about policies and reforms earlier than before.

The cuts in state subsidies in 2025 will be significant, but it is not yet known how much of the EUR 75 million cut in the budget framework will be allocated to the arts and culture. Taike is planning its finances for 2025 according to three possible scenarios: at the 2024 level, with a 5 percent cut, and with a 25 percent cut.

You can view the PowerPoint presentation of the event here. There is no recording available from the event.

Summary of changes to subsidies for communities

  • Based on the government’s budget framework, Taike believes there is reason to prepare for a reduction in subsidy amounts in 2025. All subsidies are discretionary, and all subsidy decisions are made separately each year.
  • In 2025, Taike will raise the minimum amount of each operational subsidy for the arts to EUR 25,000. This means that some recipients will receive a larger subsidy than at present, but the number of positive decisions may decrease. Taike’s goal is to gradually increase the number of individual operational subsidies, so that these subsidies can better secure long-term operations.
  • Since times are financially challenging, Taike aims to strengthen the financial buffer of communities and diversify their funding base. Taike is clarifying its policy on two issues: the own capital of communities may be moderately increased through discretionary government grants (subsidies for communities), and the acquisition of other funding is encouraged.
  • Three-year operational subsidies may still be applied for from Taike, but there will be fewer of them than before. Subsidy decisions will emphasise the diversity of income generation and the stability of finances.
  • Taike will set renewal as the impact goal of discretionary government grants (subsidies for communities). This can mean renewal within the community’s current operations, new types of collaboration with other communities, or positive funding decisions for new communities that are eligible for operational subsidies.
  • Taike will introduce sustainability criteria. In 2025, these will mainly be information-based, and in 2026, a mechanism affecting funding will be introduced in connection with sustainability criteria. There are three areas of sustainability in the criteria: good governance and a safe operating environment, equality and non-discrimination, and environmental sustainability.
  • Taike will clarify the difference between operational and special subsidies.
  • Taike will award development subsidies for 2025 that are larger than the usual one-time special subsidies for the necessary investments or redirecting operations.
  • In 2025, Taike will emphasise strengthening public outreach work and accessibility.
  • Taike will fund festivals only through a separate festival subsidy. There are two exceptions to this general rule. Funding for a festival within the arts sector may be included in an operational subsidy, in which case it is not applied for separately in the form of a festival subsidy. Also, festivals that have been organised less than three times are not eligible for a festival subsidy, so they can continue to receive a special subsidy for a specific artform or children’s culture.
  • A number of applicants transferred from the Ministry of Education and Culture to Taike this year. Taike will be in direct contact with these applicants about how the application process will be organised.
  • To help prepare for the changes, a survey was sent to all recipients of operational subsidies in April, the replies from which were used in the guidelines.

Questions and answers

Listed below are answers to some of the main questions presented at the info briefing.

Will there still be a minimum amount for three-year operational subsidies?

Yes, according to the information we have at the moment, the minimum amount will remain unchanged at 40,000 euros.

Will it be possible to apply for both an operational subsidy and the new development subsidy?

This will be clarified in the call for applications.

If the community operates in multiple fields of the arts, under which should it apply? 

According to the information we have at the moment, the artforms will remain the same as last year. The applicant must select one artform on the basis of which the application will be evaluated.

What does it mean that the own capital of communities may be moderately increased through discretionary government grants (subsidies for communities)?

The Act on Discretionary Government Grants is based on the idea that that there must be a need for the state support, which has led to a strict interpretation in relation to the community’s own capital. However, this need does not mean that there cannot be a financial buffer. Taike will now specify the amount of own capital that does not negatively affect the assessment of the need for state support. More detailed boundary conditions will be clarified in the autumn call for applications at the latest.

Can the application take into consideration not only own capital but also volunteer work, for example?

Taike’s policy is not to take volunteer work into consideration, as it is not visible in accounting.

If the minimum amount of an operational subsidy is increased and there is anyway less to distribute, will some current recipients be left without funding?

Probably yes, and some will switch from operational subsidies to special subsidies.

Will it be taken into consideration that communities of different sizes have different opportunities to implement, for example, equality plans or environmental certificates?

Absolutely, this will be taken into consideration.

Can several communities apply for a subsidy together or must there be a single administrator?

Subsidies for communities must have one applicant that is registered as the applicant and is responsible for the use of the subsidy and its reporting. However, it is possible to apply as a consortium if a cooperation agreement has been made between the communities.

How will equality be ensured between newer and older actors?

In our decisions, Taike always tries to take into account diversity and a balance between new and old, large and small communities, as well as the diversity of different genres.

What will happen to applicants that previously received a five-year subsidy or were covered by the system of central government transfers to local government but no longer are?

These applicants will be transferred to Taike and subject to normal application procedures.

Further information:

Henri Terho, Head of Arts Support, [email protected], t. 0295 330 901