The Flinn Foundation has entered a new era of support for the arts by refocusing its resources on a regional effort launched in September 2004 to develop arts and culture in Maricopa County as a key component of the knowledge-based economy.
The Foundation joined The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust in awarding $271,600 apiece to the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) for startup costs through the end of 2004. The Flinn Foundation intends to target its future arts funding toward this effort; the scope and duration will be decided following submission of an MPAC business plan.
“Through broad-based collaborative efforts such as MPAC, we believe the Foundation can best strengthen the long-term prospects for arts organizations and enhance the quality of life in the region,” said John W. Murphy, Flinn Foundation President and CEO. “We pursued a similar strategy in supporting TGen through our biosciences funding. By pooling our resources with those who share our vision, the Foundation can make a significant impact in stimulating a vibrant arts and cultural environment to meet the changing needs of the Phoenix metropolitan area.”
The development marks the end of a transition period that began in 2002, when the Foundation suspended its direct support of state arts organizations and joined with the Piper Trust, the J.W. Kieckhefer Foundation, and the Margaret T. Morris Foundation to launch an analysis of contemporary factors facing arts and culture organizations. The study, led by arts consultant Adrian Ellis, concluded that Arizona’s arts organizations are ill-prepared to cope with a growing, changing population and diminishing civic leadership and funding sources. Ellis suggested that the foundations encourage a coordinated regional strategy.
This led to the formation of the Maricopa Regional Arts and Culture Task Force, a panel of leaders from the corporate, arts, public, educational, and philanthropic sectors. The group developed a regional vision and strategic blueprint for positioning arts and culture as a vital component of the region’s economic growth. Its recommendations were issued in May 2004 through its final report, Vibrant Culture-Thriving Economy.
MPAC was developed to put the Task Force’s recommendations into action.
The new focus concludes the Foundation’s long-standing annual funding programs that supported specific projects of major and mid-sized arts organizations in Arizona. The Foundation introduced its funding of the arts in Arizona in 1984. Through 2001, when new arts funding was suspended to concentrate on the regional study, the Foundation had awarded more than $11 million to statewide organizations through these programs. In addition, the Foundation supported grants of more than $2.5 million to support a major effort to strengthen the fiscal and managerial capacity of Arizona’s primary arts organizations in partnership with National Arts Stabilization (now National Arts Strategies). The Foundation also provided considerable leadership of these efforts.
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