Arts organizations are increasingly being recognized as both economic engines and the glue that holds communities together. This isn’t just true of the big museums that pull in global tourists—small nonprofits can make an outside impact in their neighborhoods, with studies showing they are linked with improved health, safety, and education. Now, Bloomberg Philanthropies is doubling down on its support of these small and mid-sized arts organizations in the form of a $43 million boost to its Arts Innovation and Management program, announced Thursday.
Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg began the program in the city he once ran in 2011, but it gradually expanded to more cities across the country. Bloomberg Philanthropies has given $108 million to the program so far, including the funds announced Thursday. The money will be dispersed over multiple years and will support the general operating budget and professional training of groups in seven new cities: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. The grants are about long term sustainability and skill growth—76% of organizations that have received funds from the program were able to use the grant to leverage more donations, while 70% saw board member contributions rise.
“Small and midsize arts groups help form the backbone of local communities and they often operate on tight budgets, so smart management and fundraising are critical to their success,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “By helping these groups operate more effectively and efficiently, we can increase their chances of success and expand the cultural and economic benefits they generate.”