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Piper, Flinn foundations allocate funds to metro Phoenix arts groups

[Source: Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust & Flinn Foundation] — A total of $1.25 million will go into a one-time arts and culture initiative resulting from redirecting remaining grant funds from the wind-down of Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC).   The Flinn Foundation and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, MPAC’s two major funders, have designated the outstanding funds for the Flinn-Piper Strengthening the Arts Initiative.  The initiative has two parts:

  • The Flinn Emergency Fund for Arts Organizations comprising $500,000 in unrestricted grants to 21 arts and culture organizations.
  • The Piper Arts Restructuring and Transformation Fund (ART Fund) of up to $750,000 to implement new nonprofit structures, processes and collaborative ventures to increase revenue and reduce costs.  Piper Trust previously made one-time unrestricted grants to 39 arts and culture organizations.

The Flinn fund will make grants to Maricopa County arts and culture organizations that had received funding historically from the Flinn Foundation. Grant amounts are based on the annual operating budgets of the 21 arts and culture nonprofits.  Flinn does not provide general operating support as a rule but has made an exception given the urgent needs of arts and culture organizations, according to Jack Jewett, president and CEO, Flinn Foundation.  “The arts and culture institutions that play such an important role in our community continue to face severe challenges in the midst of the ‘Great Recession,'” said Jewett.  “We hope these modest grants will provide at least temporary relief in meeting immediate operating needs.”

Piper Trust will use the ART Fund to award two-year grants of $50,000 to $150,000. Successful projects will investigate and implement new business methods that change the organization’s business model and approach to mission to promote long-term financial stability.  The grants are not intended for short-term, cash-flow needs or current core operating costs.  “The daunting new arts and culture world of changing demographics and persistent economic insecurity requires arts and culture organizations to examine new ways to do business,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, Piper Trust president and CEO.  Organizations eligible for the program are Piper Trust arts and culture grantees with annual operating budgets over $250,000.  The Trust will send application information directly to the 36 eligible Maricopa County organizations.  Piper Trust hopes to award the ART Fund grants by mid-August.

The Flinn Foundation and Piper Trust also have agreed to co-sponsor a four-day April 2011 Arizona Town Hall about the impact of arts and culture on Arizona’s economy.  A survey of Town Hall members revealed the need to address the creation of a vibrant statewide economy incorporating arts and culture.  Each organization will make a grant of $25,000 for the program.  [Note: Read the full press release at Piper, Flinn foundations allocate funds to metro Phoenix arts groups.]

MPAC board votes to ‘wind down’ organization in flagging economy

[Source: MPAC, Flinn Foundation, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust] — Confronted with difficult economic times, for itself and the arts and culture organizations it was formed to support, the Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) board of directors has voted to cease the nonprofit organization’s staffing and programmatic operations.  MPAC will support the plan of its major funders to use remaining grants funds to directly assist arts and culture organizations.

For five years, MPAC has led the state in understanding the vital connection between the creative community and economic development.  Formed in 2004 by grants from the Flinn Foundation and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, MPAC has worked to promote a vibrant creative community in Maricopa County and harness arts and culture as an economic driver.  The foundations supported the nonprofit organization with the goal of it achieving self-sufficiency by the conclusion of the grants, scheduled for early 2011.

The recession challenged MPAC’s economic viability and fundraising efforts, as it has done to arts and culture organizations across the nation.  It ultimately thwarted plans to place a revenue-generating initiative for arts and culture on the statewide ballot—a strategy that has been successful in other major metropolitan areas during better economic times.  “Rather than continue to consume valuable grant monies, the board made the decision to wind down the organization and support the foundations’ plans to use the remaining grant funds to support arts and culture organizations directly,” said Sandra Werthman, who chairs the MPAC board of directors.

“MPAC has made substantial progress in setting the framework for arts and culture to thrive from an economic perspective in the Phoenix area,” said Myra Millinger, MPAC president and CEO.  “We just could not ignore the fiscal realities that jeopardize MPAC’s long-term existence.”

The Flinn Foundation and Piper Trust have agreed to work together in fashioning a one-time arts and culture initiative with the remaining grant funds.  Plans will be announced once program details are decided in upcoming weeks. [Note: Read the full press release at MPAC board votes to ‘wind down’ organization in flagging economy.]