In CBCA’s 2018 Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture, giving to the arts reached $182.6 million, which is a 3.5% increase between 2015 and 2017.
Cultural philanthropy includes donations and grants from foundations, corporations, individuals, as well as in-kind goods and services. Between 2015 and 2017, it was surprising to see decreases in contributions from foundations (-13%) and corporate sponsorships (-23%). Looking more closely at foundation giving, contributions from community foundations increased 45%, although corporate foundation giving decreased by 27% and private foundations decreased by 18%. It’s unclear the exact cause for this shift, as CBCA’s prior study in 2016 saw the opposite trend. It could speak to the volatile nature of foundation giving and corporate sponsorships overall.
On the bright side, there were also increases in giving from individual donors (13%) and in-kind good and services (6%), as well as other categories like endowment funds. Endowment income is included in the “other” category, as well as other miscellaneous sources of revenue.
The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) distributed a record-breaking $56.7 million in 2017, a 6.5% increase over 2015. This study includes analysis on 98% of the SCFD’s total funds as reported by grantee organizations as of December 31, 2017. The unaccounted portion of these funds is due to the timing of distributions, differences in grantees’ fiscal year-end dates and accounting policies. In fact, the SCFD distributed a total of $58 million to arts, cultural and scientific organizations in their 2017 fiscal year.
SCFD was reauthorized by the metro area voters in 2016 and celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018.
Year after year, giving to the arts and culture remains about 5% of all philanthropy according to Giving USA.
The Denver metro area is very lucky to have outstanding individuals who have committed their time, talent and treasure to support our vibrant arts community. Many of them are behind the scenes, supporting the arts through their philanthropy and participation.
To highlight this, CBCA is pleased to spotlight Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children/Presbyterian St Luke’s Medical Center.
Reginald Washington MD, FAAP, FACC, FAHA is the Chief Medical Officer of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, as well as Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Washington has held several volunteer leadership positions in the health sector, including two terms on the Board of the Directors of the National American Heart Association. However, his service in the arts dates back almost 30 years. He served on the Board of Directors of Central City Opera from 1989 to 1996; Board of Directors of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance from 1992-1994; and Board of Trustees of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts from 1994 to present.
When asked why he decided to give his “time, talent and treasure” to support and advance arts and culture, he responded, “We all live stressful lives. It is how we deal with this stress that matters. The arts are a very healthy way to relieve the stress in our lives. In addition the arts have always been at the foundation of any successful society.”
Dr. Washington continues to say “the arts are usually taken for granted and therefore are underfunded. The arts will always need our support.” He’s a firm believer that “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” By giving to the arts, we are setting an example for others to follow.
CBCA applauds Dr. Washington, as well as numerous other individuals, companies, foundations and the SCFD that financially support the arts in our region. With the growth of the Denver metro area, it is imperative that giving to the arts keeps pace to ensure vital cultural offerings for years to come. CBCA will continue to track trends in giving to the arts in the region.