Heidi Schave is a museum director at Alameda, California and a contributor to arts and entertainment publications. In the article below, Heidi Schave discusses the current state of arts funding in the United States.
As schools continue to cut funding for the arts, many fear that the arts, in general, will soon experience a lack of patronage and organizational sponsorship. Yet Heidi Schave notes that despite a drop in funding, large organizations continue to find ways to raise funds for artists and arts projects. Although it may seem that the arts are ending, they continue and will continue to survive and find support.
Let’s explore some of the main ways the arts manage to secure patronage. We’ll look at some of the biggest organizations dedicated to supporting the arts, and some of the fundraising techniques they use to secure annual endowments.
Arts Funding in the United States
Heidi Schave reports that in the United States, the arts are funded by a variety of sources, including government, foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Currently, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the main source of federal funding for the arts. The NEA provides grants to organizations and individuals for a variety of arts-related activities, such as arts education, performance, and preservation.
In addition to the NEA, Heidi Schave says many state and local governments also fund the arts. For example, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is the largest arts funder in New York State. Through its endowments, NYSCA has helped support more than 2,500 organizations, including the Julliard School, the Museum Association of New York, and Dance Lab New York.
Foundations, on the other hand, are private non-profit organizations that fund various causes, including the arts. Some of the biggest foundations include the Carnegie Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Although most foundations fund many causes, the arts are always high on their to-do lists.
After government grants and support from foundations, Heidi Schave explains that corporations and individual donors provide the remaining funding for the arts. Many companies provide financial support to arts organizations through sponsorships and philanthropy, as well as through employee giving programs, such as matching gifts and volunteer grants.
How organizations raise funds for the arts
Heidi Schave explains that organizations that raise money for the arts do so through a variety of means, including grants, donations, and sponsorships. Overall, however, the most effective way to raise money for the arts is through grant funding. After finding opportunities through online sources, such as Grants.gov and the Foundation Center, organizations submit grant proposals to:
- Describe the proposed project
- Describe the goals and objectives of the project
- Justify the need for the project
- Describe the project activities and how they will be implemented
- Explain how the project will be evaluated
- Include a budget and a description of the budget
- Provide information about the organization, including its history, mission, and ability to complete the project
The grant proposal is reviewed by the granting agency, which then decides whether or not to award the grant, according to Heidi Schave. If the grant is awarded, the organization then carries out the project as described in the proposal.
Organizations can also solicit donations from individuals and businesses. Occasionally, major arts institutions hold fundraising events, such as galas, concerts, and auctions, to mobilize support and secure funding. However, young artists without institutional support cannot rely on long-time patrons and can solicit donations through crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe.
Heidi Schave reports that some museums and art institutions also get financial support through sponsorships with famous artists, actors and musicians. However, if an organization obtains sponsorship, it is not always a direct donation. Sponsorships can take many forms, including financial support, in-kind donations and general promotional opportunities.
Heidi Schave on the state of arts funding in America
In recent years, the state of arts funding seemed to be in trouble. Heidi Schave notes that each consecutive annual budget has attempted to cut the National Endowment for the Arts but, instead, it seems to have had the opposite effect. According to data released by the NEA, funding has actually increased by $17 million over the past 5 years.
While this signals a renewed interest in the arts, the NEA’s current $167.5 million annual budget is still far below similar endowments in Europe and elsewhere, says Heidi Schave. Nevertheless, private foundations, corporations and individual donors continue to support the arts. For example, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation alone made a substantial gift of $100 million to several arts programs in Detroit.
Heidi Schave notes that although state and federal governments fail to fund the arts, museums, galleries and exhibitions continue to thrive through the concerted efforts of major foundations, corporations, individual donors and the efforts of fundraisers. funds across the country.