Fund for the Arts Announces Its Largest Increase Ever and the Largest Increase in the U.S. this Year

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The 2008 Fund for the Arts campaign exceeded its highest goal ever -- $9 million -- by raising $9,074,116.

Most important, though, is how the Fund invests these donations

Philip R. McHugh, 2008 Campaign Chair for the Fund for the Arts and President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, announced at today's annual Fund board meeting that, "As a clear reflection of the community's enthusiasm for the arts member groups, supported programs and Fund supported initiatives, the 2008 Fund for the Arts campaign exceeded its highest goal ever -- $9 million -- by raising $9,074,116. This 12.5% increase over 2007 is the:

1. Largest dollar increase ever in the Fund's history;
2. Largest percentage Fund increase since 1990, and
3. The largest dollar increase of any united arts fund organization in the U.S. this year."

Louisville's dollar increase exceeds that of other united arts funds in closest geographic proximity, such as Lexington, Kentucky, which increased by $159,975 for a total of $1,160,000; Cincinnati, Ohio, which increased by $241,073 for a total of $12,003,000; Ft. Wayne, which increased by $30,000 for a total of $1,140,000; and Dayton, which sustained a $30,000 decrease for a total of $1,680,000 as well as united arts funds of similar size to Louisville, such as Milwaukee, which had a $200,000 increase for a total of $10,600,000, and Charlotte, which had a decrease of $283,983 for a total of $11,224,626, Louisville.

Fund President and CEO Allan Cowen commented, "This year's campaign success is a clear vote of confidence for the role the arts play in the future of Louisville. We exceeded our goal due, in large part, to the overwhelming generosity of the Fund's 27,000+ donors -- of which 14,850 donors (13,600 were employee givers) accepted the Big Deal Challenge to make new or increased gifts this year. In addition, 169 individual donors (a 50% plus increase) contributed $1,949 or more to join our recently formed Charles Farnsley 1949 Founders Society, honoring former Louisville Mayor Charlie Farnsley (1948 - 1953), who founded the Fund in 1949." The Farnsley Society was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Owsley Brown, II.

The Big Deal Challenge, sponsored by Brown-Forman, The Gheens Foundation, Humana, Inc., YUM! Brands, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Owsley Brown II, and Mr. and Mrs. David A. Jones, matched new and increased gifts to the Fund campaign this year over last year, helping motivate 9,000 donors to make new gifts and 5,800 donors to increase their gifts, for the largest number of donors in a single year in the Fund's history.

Cowen offered, "Our community supports our arts because they participate in our programs and are enthusiastic about what the arts mean to our economic future and quality of life. Last year alone, over 1.5 million people had an arts experience, with 450,000 of those being schoolchildren. Our community understands that the arts enrich our lives, educate our children, entertain us, and support economic development and want the Fund and our member groups and supported programs and initiatives to continue offering these benefits."

"Most important, though, is how the Fund invests these donations," suggested McHugh. "This year's campaign success permits the Fund to:

1. Increase allocations to member groups and programs by over $1,186,000,
2. Significantly reduce the basic operating gap of the Fund's major groups, and
3. Extend the reach of Fund-supported programs, including the Teacher Arts and Community Arts Grants."

For the first time, non-Fund member groups will be eligible to receive Teacher Arts Grants to expand educational linkages between schools and local arts organizations with $310,000 allocated, a 55% increase over last year. Non-fund arts groups also will benefit from a $50,000 allocation - a 186% increase -- to the Fund's Community Arts Grants, which will permit the Fund to offer more grants to more non-Fund member groups this year.

The Fund for the Arts is the first not-for-profit united arts fund in the U.S., founded in 1949 by Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley. It provides leadership for the Greater Louisville arts community through its fifteen member groups: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Broadway at Iroquois, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Kentucky Opera Association, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Louisville Bach Society, Louisville Ballet, Louisville Orchestra, Louisville Theatrical Association, Louisville Youth Choir, Louisville Youth Orchestra, Louisville Visual Arts Association, Stage One: Louisville Children's Theater; Walden Theatre, West Louisville Performing Arts Academy, and Fund-supported programs and initiatives.

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Sarah Provancher
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