ArtsWave announces 2020 fundraising total and 2021 chair

ArtsWave wrapped up an unprecedented fiscal year by announcing updated 2020 fundraising results –$11,705,000 through annual and one-time emergency contributions. Looking ahead, “the engine for the region’s arts,” announced its 2021 Campaign Chair, Terry Horan, president & CEO of HORAN, a Cincinnati-based advisor and planner in the areas of life insurance for estate and business planning, employee benefits consulting and wealth management.

When stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 hit the community in March, and arts venues were required to close, the 2020 campaign was only at fifty percent of goal. Campaign chair Jill McGruder – SVP and chief marketing officer, Western & Southern Financial Group – extended the campaign into the summer as the pandemic caused many employers to shift to remote working conditions, and as the nonprofit arts sector grappled with a complete, unanticipated loss of earned income from box office sales, sponsorships and service contracts.

Statewide unemployment in the arts and entertainment industry is the highest among all industry groups, at 47%. 

Under McGruder’s leadership, 25,000 donors in 225 companies and foundations donated to preserve the impact of the arts in the Cincinnati region for the future. These gifts, totaling $10,800,000, represent about 87% of 2019’s campaign result of $12,350,000. Gifts continue to come in, and at the same time, losses in the arts sector, estimated at $40 million, continue to mount. Statewide unemployment in the arts and entertainment industry is the highest among all industry groups, at 47%. 

In May, to help alleviate 2020’s extreme pressures and provide some stability in the arts sector, ArtsWave developed a concurrent Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund drive. Designed to ensure solvency and a vibrant, post-pandemic return of the arts, this effort focuses on sustainability, restructuring, diversity and innovation. The first $1 million donated to this fund is being matched 2:1 through a one-time investment approved by ArtsWave’s board of directors from emergency reserves. To date, $905,000 has been donated and/or pledged to this supplemental fund by two dozen leading corporations, foundations and individuals, including:

  • Western & Southern Financial Group
  • P&G
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation
  • The Thomas J. Emery Memorial
  • PNC Charitable Trusts
  • The H.B., E.W. and F. R. Luther Charitable Foundation, Fifth Third Bank and Narley L. Haley, co-trustees
  • Fifth Third Bank Foundation

In addition, $52,500 has been donated by past chairs of the ArtsWave campaign in McGruder’s honor, led by 2019 chair Leigh Fox. Donations to the Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund have triggered a match of $1,810,000.

Looking forward…

In total, $13,515,000 have been amassed that will fuel ArtsWave’s renewal of operating grants to 43 nonprofit organizations, helping ensure year-over-year stability in an uncertain time. In addition, this amount will fuel a set of project grants that in total will support approximately 100 organizations over the next 12 months.

ArtsWave President & CEO Alecia Kintner notes that “2020 Campaign funds will provide an additional financial boost to especially vulnerable organizations, like the region’s professional theaters, which historically derive a high percentage of their budgets from ticket sales. Contributions will also enable ArtsWave to make increased investments in arts organizations of color and to incentivize innovation and operating efficiencies that build greater resiliency across the arts sector.”

COVID realities…

However, with urgent community health concerns and with Governor DeWine’s recent announcement of a 15% cap on audience attendance to contain the spread of the virus, the financial viability of the arts remains in question. Terry Horan is ready to take the torch as 2021 ArtsWave campaign chair.

“The near-term realities are challenging for the entire community and especially challenging for the arts,” he said. “But we can’t forget that a strong, healthy arts sector is paramount to our collective healing and a vibrant, economically and personally connected future,” he said. “This is worth fighting for, for all of us.”

The Cincinnati region’s nonprofit arts sector generates $300 million for the local economy and is made up of more than 225 nonprofit organizations, employing more than 10,000 artists, performers and staff. 

Active fundraising for ArtsWave’s Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund continues. Donate

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