Strategic Investing in the Arts
October 07, 2013
I recently read a comprehensive outline for a strategic framework for investing in the arts. Based in California, the paper by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a superb description of the role of a foundation as funder, a descriptor of why we should invest in the arts, and an outline of what is offered/expected of the relationship between arts organization and funder. The foundation offers a compelling reason for investing in the arts.
“The performing arts offer a unique human experience that bridges cultural and generational lines. Philanthropy plays an important role in supporting the performing arts….and its approach to providing multi-year operating support”
At a time when many arts organizations invest considerable time in researching and completing funding applications, trying to make their mission ‘conform’ with a granters program for funding, it is refreshing to see a foundation that provides multi-year funding in a way that allows the organization the freedom to determine where best to apply the funds received. "The Foundation has persisted in providing a significant portion of its support in unrestricted form, while other funders have increasingly favored project support."
This is similar to how endowment income is made available by the Ontario Arts Foundation. It frees the organization to invest more of their time with programs, supporters and the community.
The paper is not long and really well written. I encourage you to take a look.