Friday, April 24, 2009

Help for Financially Stressed Arts groups

Serendipity--the making of a fortunate discovery by accident--was alive and well as I put my April column together for the Illinois Theatre Association's Followspot. In the March, 2009 issue of Stage Directions magazine an article titled “Rainmakers in the Middle of a Tempest” by Tim Cusack caught my eye. It was about raising money for the arts in the middle of an economic downturn. The article mentioned the Foundation Center in New York City as an invaluable fund raising resource for non-profits. Google took me to The Foundation Center’s home web site ( and this led to discovering that the Foundation had non-profit fund raising resource centers in libraries around the country. If you click on (, you will find a list of libraries in Illinois (and other states) where you can access materials on fund raising, grant opportunities, donors, and sample proposals. According to the original article there is also access to the Foundation’s own powerful database at these cooperating libraries. I recommend taking a look at the Center’s home web site and if you are lucky enough to be within reach of one of the cooperating libraries, making an on-site visit.

In the same vein the Kennedy Center in Washington DC has started a free consulting service for non-profit 501(c)(3) performing arts organizations. You may be able to get counsel from the center’s executive staff in the areas of fundraising, board development, budgeting, marketing and technology. Go to and fill out the request form if you or your organization is interested.

Advocacy also involves developing your own capabilities and sharing your talents with others. May 15th is the deadline for applying to the Illinois Arts Council 2009-2011 Arts-In-Education Program Artists Roster and the 2009-2011 Artstour Program Artists Roster. If you are an arts educator or a performing artist you may be eligible to participate in these important statewide catalogs. Teaching artists can go to: ( Performing artists can check out: ( You may apply for inclusion on both rosters if you qualify.

One last note. The registration details for the One State Arts Conference on June 1-2, 2009 are now available at the Illinois Arts Alliance’s web site. Go to: I’ll be there and I hope to see some of you.

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