AUGUST 24, 2020, FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – Arts United announces the launch of the Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund, with a purpose to invest in a vibrant future for our community by supporting anchor arts and culture nonprofits as they reopen and reimagine their programs in a world informed by the realities of COVID-19.
To date, $2.7 million has been committed to the Resilience Fund by the Edward D. & Ione Auer Foundation, The James Foundation, the McMillen Foundation, Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater, the Arts United Board of Directors, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and other donors. In addition, leaders of the Foellinger Foundation, Dekko Foundation, and the English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation at PNC Bank committed their time to help develop the Resilience Fund tools and processes. Arts United anticipates that the Resilience Fund can continue to grow through additional community support.
“It is an imperative that we work together to invest in a vibrant future for our community,” said Kendra Klink, director of The James Foundation. “Arts and culture nonprofits are facing serious financial hardship. We’re stepping up to help them weather this storm so they can support our community’s recovery and resilience.”
The Arts & Culture Resilience Fund will benefit up to 18 regional anchor arts and culture nonprofits who have been pre-identified and meet high standards for community service, good management and board governance, financial stewardship, and health and safety. Grants will be distributed in September 2020, January 2021, and April 2021.
In 2019, the 18 nonprofits that will benefit from the Resilience Fund – including Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Fort Wayne Ballet, Embassy Theatre, Unity Performing Arts Foundation, Science Central, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Fort Wayne Museum of Art – had a combined annual attendance of more than 905,000 people; supported nearly 800 full-time, part-time, and contracted jobs; and had a local economic impact of about $50 million.
“The impact of these organizations is profound, and they share a long history of working together in service to our community. Today, they are working hard to reopen programs as safely as possible,” said Doug Wood, Board Chair of Arts United. “Unfortunately, for a time, their audiences and revenues will continue to be much smaller than in the past. When we reach the end of the pandemic, we want to see our community’s level of cultural vibrancy return and our arts and cultural nonprofits positioned for growth and impact, not closure.”
“The Fort Wayne Children’s Choir is incredibly thankful for our community’s support of arts and culture nonprofits,” said Jonathan Busarow, Executive/Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, one of the organizations that will benefit from the Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund. “This funding means that we can continue to fulfill our mission in uncertain times. Singing in a choir brings people together from different places for a common goal – in a similar way, generous donors have come together with one voice to say ‘this is important to our community.’ This support means that the children’s choir can focus on teaching music, building friendships, growing community, and helping children find their voice.”
In addition to coordinating the Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund, Arts United is taking a leading role during the COVID-19 pandemic by coordinating the Arts & Culture Reopening Guide, partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to offer rapid-action Artist Relief Grants, and leading the social media campaign #ArtStartsHere to champion art-making at home during the Governor’s stay at home order last spring.
Arts United will present an all-online version of the Taste of the Arts festival on Saturday, August 29, 2020 alongside the audio/visual team at Arcpoint Productions, which will take place at artsunited.org/taste. The theme of this year’s festival is “Keeping the Ghost Light On.” In theatre tradition, a ghost light is a single bulb left burning whenever a theatre is dark. Thousands of theatres across the nation stand empty except for a ghost light. Taste of the Arts 2020 is a celebration of arts and culture while that light is burning.
“American communities that retain their quality of life and a unifying sense of cultural identity will surge forward to rebuild their economies and bolster the resilience of their people. Fort Wayne and Allen County is a community of innovators, dreamers, and doers. Our resilience stems from our ability to solve problems and work together. It has been thrilling to see the level of collaboration and innovation rise in the midst of crisis for many of our arts and culture nonprofits. It gives us all hope for a brighter future for our community,” said Dan Ross, Vice President of Community Development of Arts United.
About Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. is a nonprofit local arts agency that serves the communities of Northeast Indiana by fueling the momentum of more than 70 arts, culture and quality of life initiatives each year. Arts United’s strategic investments position arts and culture organizations to achieve higher levels of excellence and quality, to improve access to the arts for all community members and to support regional priorities for growth and development.