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.