[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.]