The Arts Foundation Award for Patronage acknowledges significant philanthropic contributions to the arts. Recipients are given $20,000 to distribute to artists or arts organisations of their choice to celebrate the occasion of the award.

All recipients to date have chosen to donate $20,000 of their own so they can give away $40,000. They have also all chosen to split the $40,000 into four donations of $10,000 each to four artists, organisations or arts projects.  However, in 2010, in a surprise announcement on the evening, Gus Fisher announced an extra recipient and a further $10,000 donation.

Since the create of the award in 2006, each recipient of the Award for Patronage receives an original work by Chris Charteris. Speaking of his work, Charteris says, "My main focus with my carving is that I create work which is unique to myself, which has qualities of the old world and the new, to attempt to express my identity of cultures in a way that reflects the diversity of forms."