October 9, 2020, FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne – in partnership with the Edward D. & Ione Auer Foundation, The James Foundation, the McMillen Foundation, Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater, and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne – announced its initial distribution of grants through its Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund. 

Grants totaling more than $1.58 million were distributed to 18 nonprofit arts and culture organizations as part of the Fund’s mission to invest in a vibrant future for the 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. 

The grants provide both operational and facilities support for recipient organizations – helping to address a total $3.9 million loss of revenues (17% of annual operating revenues) for these 18 organizations during the first five months of the pandemic.

“These organizations form the foundation of our region’s thriving and nationally recognized arts and culture ecosystem – and they need our community’s support now more than ever,” said Heather Closson, Director of Grants and Programs for Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne. “We all recognize the importance of having our region’s cultural vibrancy poised for rejuvenation and growth when this pandemic ends. We are grateful to our partners in the Resilience Fund who’ve stepped up to ensure the continued sustainability of these organizations through these trying times.”

Organization Operating Support Facilities Support Total
ARCH $8,517 $6,537 $15,053
Artlink $13,663 $13,663
Arts United $162,278 $140,002 $302,280
Audiences Unlimited $16,048 $16,048
Embassy Theatre $141,345 $121,197 $262,542
FAME $8,712 $8,712
Fort Wayne Ballet $68,711 $68,711
Fort Wayne Children’s Choir $23,410 $23,410
Fort Wayne Cinema Center $12,912 $12,912
Fort Wayne Civic Theatre $60,666 $60,666
Fort Wayne Dance Collective $29.927 $29,927
Fort Wayne Museum of Art $112,120 $64,994 $177,114
Fort Wayne Philharmonic $300,119 $300,119
Fort Wayne Trails $15,183 $15,183
Fort Wayne Youtheatre $14,751 $14,751
Science Central $66,346 $73,272 $139,618
The History Center $31,474 $60,210 $91,684
Unity Performing Arts Foundation $39,589 $39,589
Total $1,125,772 $466,211 $1,591,983

“This generous support is giving the Embassy an opportunity to be nimble and adjust to this challenging time,” said Kelly Updike, President & CEO of the Embassy Theatre. “Arts enrichment is especially powerful for healing and connecting during a time that has presented a limited ability to gather and bring live performances to our community. The Embassy pivoted to focusing more significantly on partnerships with local peer arts organizations in order to keep the cultural life of our region alive. Our historic venue has the space and operational guidelines in place to have an audience but still reduce exposure to COVID-19. We feel these collaborations and engagement will pave the way to a new future where we work together with more frequency and bring art, inclusion and diversity to more people.”

“The Arts United Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund provides deeply needed support to the History Center and many other anchor organizations that illustrate the creative core, imaginative spirit and distinct heritage of our region,” said Todd Maxwell Pelfrey, Executive Director of the History Center. “This assistance will help sustain the particularly fragile creative sector during this unprecedentedly challenging chapter in our shared story, an act that gratefully accentuates the value our community continues to hold for its artistic and cultural assets. When future generations consider how we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will learn how dearly the people who built and formed their community treasured its world of arts and culture, and invested in its continued vibrancy and vitality during this devastating global crisis.”

In 2019, Resilience Fund recipient nonprofits had a combined annual attendance of more than 905,000 people; nearly 800 full-time, part-time, and contracted jobs; and an economic impact of $50 million.

To date, $2.7 million has been committed to the Resilience Fund; in addition, leaders of the Foellinger Foundation and the English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation at PNC Bank helped to develop the Resilience Fund. Additional grants will be distributed in January 2021 and April 2021.

In addition to coordinating the Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund, Arts United coordinated the Arts & Culture Reopening Guide and partnered with the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to offer rapid-action Artist Relief Grants.

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.