Building windows with art

Working with CNY Arts on COVID-19 Arts Impact Fund

Giving Voice 2021: Giving Matters

As Peter Dunn mentioned in his letter on page one, agency funds are designed to build capacity for nonprofits as they grow sustainable resources. Occasionally, nonprofits will establish an agency fund for reasons other than sustainability – for example, if they are planning a fundraising campaign. The campaign may be for a new building, a major renovation or some other one-time project.

In August of last year, we had the opportunity to build a campaign fund with CNY Arts designed to support arts organizations in Central New York impacted by the pandemic: the CNY Arts COVID-19 Impact Fund. Specifically, this fund supports artists and nonprofit arts organizations in three categories: restart, reopening, and resiliency.

When we work with an agency in this way, since the resources have a near-term need, the fund is typically not invested for growth. The fund essentially acts as a pass-through and a common donation vehicle where we receive and acknowledge gifts, thereby lessening the administrative burden on the nonprofit. Often times, the campaigns succeed beyond their goal and those resources that remain in the fund are then invested for long-term growth.

As of Labor Day, CNY Arts reached its $1 million goal for this fund. This support came from individual donors and businesses, grants from national, state, county and local governments, as well as support from the Community Foundation, The Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, the John Ben Snow Foundation and Memorial Trust, Gifford Foundation, Allyn Family Foundation, Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, Richard S. Shineman Foundation, and Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Based on a survey this spring, CNY Arts determined that in 2020, on average, individual artists lost $12,000 and arts organizations lost $200,000 due to the pandemic. While many organizations are planning to resume their activities, the continued impact of the pandemic is slowing that reopening. This is why CNY Arts is continuing to fundraise and deploy grants from the fund through 2022.

Steve Butler, executive director of CNY Arts, said, “We are grateful to the Community Foundation for hosting and promoting the fund. The reputation and reach of the CNYCF as a trusted financial steward helped to attract significant individual donors and family funds.”

CNY Arts is committed to ensuring that our arts, culture, and heritage sector will survive and thrive and the Community Foundation is proud to be a resource to them in this work.

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