United Arts Funds FY2016 Fact Sheet
Americans for the Arts is pleased to present this report about the nation’s united arts fund annual campaigns, containing the most current information provided as of summer 2017.
United Arts Funds (UAFs) are private organizations that raise money for the arts, work to broaden support for the arts, encourage arts attendance and participation, promote excellence in the arts and arts management, and ensure that arts organizations are financially stable. Americans for the Arts defines a UAF campaign as a combined or federated appeal for arts funding conducted annually to raise unrestricted money on behalf of three or more arts, culture, and/or science organizations.
The UAF movement began in 1949 when civic leaders in Cincinnati and Louisville determined that community-wide campaigns, loosely based upon the United Way model, could raise substantially more money to provide ongoing operating support to their major arts institutions. Since that time, more than 100 communities across the country—both large and small—have at some point established UAFs (44 UAFs are known to be currently operating as of August 2017). Unlike the United Way, no two UAFs are exactly alike. They are unique to the communities they serve and change as their communities change. UAFs do, however, share common characteristics:
- Most UAFs are also the primary local arts agency (LAA) for their community.
- The most common geographic service area of a UAF is city and county (36 percent), followed by those that serve multiple counties (22 percent) and a single county (17 percent), the rest (24 percent) serve multiple cities, states, a single city, or areas delimited by a different combination of geographic boundaries.
- The majority of UAFs were initiated by local business leaders seeking to minimize individual funding requests and to ensure that arts organizations meet standards of quality and financial stability.
- UAFs primarily raise unrestricted operating support for organizations that they fund—though many also raise funds for special projects or to address specific community issues (e.g., marketing, stabilization, and arts education). An increasing number of UAFs also operate programs that support specific projects, and many also have conducted capital campaigns and helped create and/or operate cultural facilities.UAFs generally have a board of directors composed of community leaders who span a wide range of sectors, and who are able to engage in one-on-one fundraising efforts.
A Statistical Report on the Campaign Revenues of the Nation’s United Arts Funds during Fiscal Year 2016. Throughout the summer of 2017, the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Initiatives department solicited responses to the FY2016 United Arts Fund Campaign Survey. Surveys were distributed to a total of 45 united arts funds by email. Throughout the summer, non-responders were contacted by phone and/or via email to solicit their participation, including the option to participate in an abbreviated version. A total of 37UAFsparticipated in the survey.