About the Cultural Endowment

The Cultural Endowment of Estonia is a legal person in public law the objective of the activities of which is to support the arts, folk culture, physical fitness and sport and the construction and renovation of cultural buildings by the purposeful accumulation of funds and distribution thereof for specific purposes. The basis of the activity of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia is the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Act, which was passed on 1 June 1994 and entered into force on 1 July 1994.

The function of the Cultural Endowment is to support:

  • projects which promote, introduce and popularize the arts, folk culture, physical fitness and sport
  • artistic associations
  • research related to culture and sport
  • the commemoration of deceased figures in the arts and sports
  • talented persons with development potential in various areas of culture and sport and to facilitate their individual development
  • outstanding figures in the arts and sport (lifetime achievement support), and their families upon their death
  • the construction and renovation of cultural buildings which are of national importance

Structure of the Cultural Endowment:

The Cultural Endowment is directed by a supervisory board of eleven members, including the Minister of Culture as chairman, a representative designated by the Minister of Culture, a representative designated by the Minister of Finance, and 8 representatives designated by each endowment panel. The term of authority of the supervisory board is two years. The membership of the supervisory board shall be approved by the Government of the Republic.

The activity of the Cultural Endowment is managed and represented by the Director, who appoints the supervisory board for up to four years.

The structure of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia includes eight endowments and fifteen county expert groups.

An endowment is a structural unit of the Cultural Endowment the function of which is to distribute the money appropriated to a specific area of culture by the supervisory board of the Cultural Endowment on the basis of submitted applications and on its own initiative. The activity of an endowment is organized by an endowment panel consisting of seven persons active in the corresponding area of culture and who are nominated by organisations of this area of culture. The membership of an endowment panel shall be approved by the Minister of Culture. The term of authority of a panel is two years, the members of a panel shall perform their functions until a new membership of the panel is approved. The same person may belong to two consecutive memberships of a panel.

A county expert group is a structural unit of the Cultural Endowment which acts in every county and the function of which is to distribute the money appropriated to the areas of culture of the county by the supervisory board of the Cultural Endowment on the basis of submitted applications and on its own initiative. An expert group consists of five members that are persons active in the cultural area of that county, and the membership shall be approved by the supervisory board of the Cultural Endowment for two years. Members of the expert group shall perform their functions until a new membership of the expert group is approved. The same person may belong to two consecutive memberships of an expert group.

Income of the Cultural Endowment shall be formed of:

  • proceeds in the state budget from the excise duty on alcohol and tobacco 3.5%
  • proceeds in the state budget from gambling tax 46% (whereof 63% is allocated to finance cultural buildings which are of national importance and 37% is allocated to award grants and support and for administrative expenses)
  • property donations and bequests made in favour of the Cultural Endowment
  • income received from investment of the assets of the Cultural Endowment
  • income from other economic activities