FORT WAYNE, IN Arts United announced the next round of grants from the Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund, totaling $600,000 to support 18 Allen County based arts and cultural nonprofits. 

The Arts & Culture Nonprofit Resilience Fund was created to ensure a vibrant future for the community by supporting arts and culture nonprofits as they reimagine mission delivery in a world informed by the realities of COVID-19. 

“Over the last year, our community’s leading arts and culture organizations have reimagined the delivery of their programs in the face of catastrophic revenue losses from cancelled live events and shuttered facilities,” said Bart Shaw, Arts United Board Member and chair of Arts United’s Resilience Fund Review Committee. “Arts United went to work, facilitating discussions with community leaders to determine how to offer support through the pandemic. In May 2020, Arts United’s Board of Directors voted to establish the Arts & Culture Resilience Fund to provide mission-critical operational support to these organizations. Now, we’re pleased to announce the next round of grants.”

More than $2.8 million has been raised in support of the initiative. Two rounds of funding have now been granted to 18 organizations totaling $1.6 million in October 2020 and $600,000 in January 2021. A third round of grants is planned in May 2021.

The October 2020 distribution of Resilience Grants cut the anticipated loss of $3 million for the period of June 2020 through December 2020 by more than half. Additional support from the CARES Act distributed by the Indiana Destination Development Corporation in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission, donations, careful cost management, and the use of cash reserves prevented temporary or permanent closure of several organizations and ensured that community members could continue to safely participate in arts and cultural programming in smaller groups and virtually. 

The January 2021 distribution of Resilience Grants will cover $600,000 of the anticipated loss of $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2021 for participating organizations. 

“We are not out of the woods yet,” explained Dan Ross, Vice President of Community Development for Arts United. “We anticipate continuing losses of $1.5 to $2 million per quarter until a vaccine is widely distributed and patrons feel comfortable returning to public activities. The Resilience Fund, along with the second round of Payroll Protection Program loans and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants as recently approved by Congress will provide additional relief, but continued local support for our anchor arts and cultural organizations will be greatly needed.”

Reports to Arts United by Resilience Fund grant recipients indicate that the primary use of funding is to retain essential staff who have the skills needed to advance recovery plans and resume activities. Additional furloughs and layoffs are not an effective cost-saving option for most organizations. One of the greatest risks identified by participating organizations is the turnover of essential employees due to burnout and stress. 

“Fort Wayne’s arts and culture nonprofits and creative sector workers are proving their resilience and value to the community,” said Heather Closson, Director of Grants and Programs for Arts United. “They are demonstrating all of the qualities that our community needs right now: care for people, adaptive mindsets, and innovative programming. Instead of being sidelined by the realities of COVID-19, they are working together to develop new capabilities that can carry forward.”

“Now, more than ever, the people of our community need the experiences provided by our arts and cultural organizations,” said Mr. Ross. “Thanks to the contributions of our community, when the pandemic ends, Fort Wayne will be prepared to surge forward with a unifying sense of cultural identity to help propel our continued economic growth and highly valued quality of place for our people.”

More information about the Resilience Fund and the organizations who benefit from it can be found at

About Arts United

Arts United is a private, nonprofit local arts agency that serves Northeast Indiana through arts advocacy and promotion, fundraising and grantmaking, back-office business support, community and economic development, and Arts Campus Fort Wayne coordination. Arts United’s mission is to advance the creative sector by mobilizing resources to elevate our community’s quality of life.