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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, May 25, 2018 5 months ago

Collaborative Campaign for the Arts reaches goal

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The push by United Arts of Central Florida and its art nonprofit partners resulted in $2.07 million in funding raised.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

Pat yourself on the back, donors and art-lovers.

Maitland-based United Arts of Central Florida successfully reached its $2 million fundraising goal for its 2018 Collaborative Campaign for the Arts — a pivotal step in ensuring financial support over the next year for Central Florida arts nonprofits.

The campaign raised $2.07 million following the two-month campaign. That includes support for organizations like Art & History Museums — Maitland, Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Crealdé School of Art, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Enzian Theater and many others.

Donors chose which nonprofit they wanted to support, and United Arts matched 15% of all the donations received through April 30.

“We’re very lucky to have the supporters that we do in Central Florida,” Development Manager Valerie Solomon said. “We have very committed, very loyal donors and many of them have renewed or increased their gifts this year. We could not be able to do that without the support of our local art supporters. With all of our arts organizations working together, to have that much support consistently year after year … we’re very fortunate to to have that support from our community.”

Solomon said United Arts had a significant portion of fundraising come in the last week — 20% within the last seven days.

“We definitely see a big push at the end of the Collaborative Campaign every year,” she said.

United Arts of Central Florida made an even stronger push this year to cushion the blow of a budget cut approved at the state level. In the the state’s recent budget session in March, arts funding was cut by almost 90%, from $24.6 million in 2018 to $2.6 million in 2019 statewide.

That ranks Florida 48th out of 50 states in terms of funding for the arts, Marketing and Communications Manager Chris Majocha said.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit arts industry produces $400 million in direct economic activity annually and supports 13,764 jobs in Central Florida, according to United Arts of Central Florida.

Just as United Arts and the local nonprofits stepped up, so did the local donors and art-lovers, Solomon said.

“A lot of donors actually increased their donations this year,” she said. “They did what they normally would do for the Collaborative Campaign but then also increased their gift. I had several donors (whom) I spoke with directly on the phone when they called in to give their gifts this year who said specifically they wanted to increase because they were disappointed in the funding cuts the arts organizations experience next year and they wanted to what they could to help with that.”

About $350,000 of the money raised will go toward the Arts for ALL Fund, which provides grants with unrestricted funding to arts nonprofits, Solomon said. Unrestricted financial support can go toward crucial operating costs, which aren’t funded as often as programming by donors. 

Keeping up with those basic operating costs allows nonprofits to continue offering free and low-cost art experiences to the community. 

Last year, United Arts awarded $1.48 million in operating support grants to 37 Central Florida nonprofit cultural institutions.

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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