Dame Vivien Duffield, chair of the Clore Duffield Foundation, this morning announced grants of £8.2 million towards new creative learning spaces for young people in 11 cultural organisations. In an event hosted by Nicholas Hynter at the National Theatre, Duffield unveiled £4 million of grants towards projects at the Donmar Warehouse, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Donmar will receive a £500,000 grant towards the creation of a Clore Studio on the top floor of its new Dryden Street complex. The Covent Garden development, which consists of rehearsal rooms, a green room and office accommodation, will occupy a three-story warehouse and is expected to open in 2012.

As part of the National Theatre's £70 million NT Future redevelopment the Clore Duffield Foundation will make a grant of £2.5 million towards the creation of a Clore Learning Centre. The education space, which will be created in the National's current props workshop, will be located alongside the refurbished Dorfman (nee Cottesloe) Theatre. The two resulting education spaces will be named the Duffield Studio and the Cottesloe Room.

The NT currently has no dedicated learning space on site. By creating the education centre alongside the NT Dorfman it is hoped auditorium can be used during the day for workshops. The project is the first time the Foundation has funded a space which enables a performing arts organisation to integrate its education programme into the "working life" of the theatre.

The Foundation has also made a £500,000 grant towards the creation of a Clore Learning Centre at the RSC's home in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Developed as part of the £112 million scheme to transform the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, the RSC has created a three-floor education centre in its Waterside Space, a dedicated education and participation building, created with the help of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Town Trust. The Foundation have also made a contribution of £500,000 towards the RSC's Theatre Craft Apprenticeship Scheme and to support the company's work with children, young people and teachers.

Other cultural organisations to benefit from the grants announced today are Kensington Palace, the Museum of Liverpool and Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall. The Clore Duffield Foundation has distributed over £23.5 million in crants for Clore Learning Spaces since 2000, with education facilities already created at English National Opera, London's Unicorn Theatre and the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford.

One of the first recipients of the Medal for Arts Philanthropy in 2008, Vivien Duffield was a member of the board of the Royal Opera House from 1990 to 2001 and is currently chair of the ROH Endowment Fund. She is a director of the Southbank Centre and a governor of the Royal Ballet. For her contribution to the arts and philanthropy she was honoured with a CBE in 1989 and made a Dame in 2000.

Speaking at this morning's press conference Duffield said she did not believe philanthropy should not be a "staple diet" for organisations but instead provide the "icing on the cake". Although she acknowledged that the industry was in a "time of diminishing resources" she stressed that her grants were not "plugging a Government hole", with the Foundation having distributed over £50 million in grants since 2000, a process started well before the current economic climate.