Annual growth of the State Culture Capital Foundation (SCCF)
The establishment of the SCCF, which started operating as an arms-length body of the Ministry of Culture in 1998, was a major milestone in Latvian cultural policy and completely changed funding patterns in the cultural sector. The financing of cultural projects which had previously been the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture was delegated to the SCCF. SCCF has adopted its Strategy for 2015-2020. From its launch in 1998 until 2004 SCCF’s independence was provided by two mechanisms. Firstly, the decision on the distribution of funding was adopted by the board of the Fund and sectoral councils, rather than politicians and civil servants. Secondly, the budget of the Fund was directly linked to certain taxes and duties (lottery and gambling taxes and excise duties on alcohol and tobacco) and therefore without a risk to be engaged in political battles at the state budget-making time. As such, both substantively and financially the Fund was politically independent. Along with the new Law on SCCF adopted in 2004, Foundation, which until then was a national non-profit limited company, was transformed into a public foundation, but there was no law adopted that would regulate public foundation activities. Also, financing arrangements were changed, and the annual state budget became the most important funding source allocated to fund from general revenue, through the budget of the Ministry of Culture, which gives the Ministry the right to determine the amount of financing. SCCF is thus a budgetary institution with all the ensuing consequences. There has been a legal regulatory framework developed for the new SCCF financing model which would provide a partial return to the previous funding model of earmarked tax revenues to the five-year transitional period thus gradually restituting SCCF’s financial stability, independence and sustainability. The decision at the governmental level has not yet been taken.
SCCF provides financial support and promotes balanced development of creative work in all sectors of culture and art and encourages the preservation of cultural heritage according to the Cultural policy guidelines “Creative Latvia 2014-2020”. It also facilitates the development of international relations and promotes Latvian art and culture worldwide. The SCCF announces and administers culture projects’ competitions several times a year, allots lifelong grants for culture and arts workers and gives financial support to short term educational, creative or scientific travels abroad. There are also programmes within the SCCF dedicated to children and youth, as well as regional programmes and support programmes for professional culture NGOs. The SCCF is managed by the Council of the Foundation, its activities are ensured by its director and the culture projects are evaluated by experts of 8 branches: Literature, Music and Dance, Theatrical arts, Film arts, Visual arts, Cultural Heritage, Traditional Culture, Design and Architecture, Interdiscliplinary.
To provide a stable, independent and predictable financing model for the SCCF in order to be able to promote a balanced development of creative work in all sectors of culture.
Ministry of Culture, State Culture Capital Foundation. Since the economic downturn in 2008-2009 which hit hard on culture budget, the financing for SCCF has been gradually raised, for example, in 2014 the SCCF budget was EUR 6.6 m, in 2015 – EUR 8 m, in 2016 EUR 9.5 m.
In 2015 the evaluation of the SCCF funding distribution was carried out. The aim of the evaluation was to monitor the division of SCCF funding, looking at it from a larger perspective of available funding for culture, as well as to evaluate the funding distribution according to the targets set in SCCF law. The biggest part of the financing for culture is distributed by the Ministry of Culture. Analyzing the compliance of the national cultural policy with the operation of the SCCF, in general, it was concluded that the national cultural policy to a greater extent than the SCCF focuses on the consumer of cultural product and audience participation. In turn, the SCCF activities both at strategic level and in practice (prioritizing the supported activities) are more focused on the creativity of artists, products and services created, less - on activities that encourage people to participate in and contribute to the accessibility of culture.