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Local News

AIDS Walk Fundraising Lower Than Expected

The Louisville AIDS Walk is Sunday, but donations for this year’s event have fallen short.

Last year, the AIDS Walk raised about 200 thousand dollars. About a quarter of which was donated in the days leading up to the event.

So far this year, one hundred thousand dollars has been raised. Director Brad Hampton attributes the drop to the economy and waning interest in AIDS-related issues.

“HIV-AIDS is just not in the forefront of concern of Louisvillians anymore,” he says. “There’s a misconception that AIDS is no longer a crisis, that you just take one pill a day and everything’s okay. It’s just really not to that point yet.”

Hampton says if more money isn’t donated by January 1st, the AIDS Walk will have to cut services it funds for patients next year.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Indiana Arts Groups Face Difficulties Fundraising

Elizabeth Kramer

Some Indiana institutions have issued a report about the condition of the state’s arts organizations. The Indiana Arts Commission enlisted Indiana University’s School of Public And Environmental Affairs to conduct a survey of more than 1,500 organizations.

Kirsten Grønbjerg is an Indiana University professor and chair of the school’s Center on Philanthropy. She says the data shows Indiana’s arts groups have some priority concerns — particularly— “More funding — that clearly what the organizations themselves say what is what is needed,” she says, “but also technical assistance, workshops and opportunities for learning from other organizations providing similar kinds of services.”

Laura Frank is with the Indiana Arts Commission. She says the commission has already begun acting on some of the report’s findings.

“We found funding assistance is needed and so we had a seminar on fundraising and constituent building in the current economy,” Frank says. “And we also found peer learning and collaborative activities are important so we had a seminar last week called Leading at the Speed of Change.”

(The Arts Commission, which is a department of state government, worked with the Indiana Coalition for the Arts, an advocacy organization that also helps artists and arts groups.)

Grønbjerg says the report shows that arts groups are having a much harder time obtaining funding than other kinds of non-profit groups. She says they deserve help to continue the role they play in communities.

“These organizations are looking to community leaders and funders, policy makers to provide support for these organizations,” Grønbjerg says. “They are an important part of the quality of life in local communities.”

Grønbjerg and Frank say the report will be useful to organizations that fund arts groups and to government officials.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Metro United Ways Falls a Bit Short of Campaign Goal

The Metro United Way announced the results of its current campaign today. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

This year’s campaign collected just over $27 million, falling short of Metro United Way’s goal of raising as much as last year’s campaign — $28.5 million.

President and CEO Joe Tolan says the economy was a huge factor, with fewer employees at many workplaces where the agency held fundraising campaigns. He says the recession also pushed demand up and he doesn’t see that changing any time soon.

“Knowing that there will be fewer dollars available going into the new cycle than there were the year before, we’re continuing to do what we always do and that is to access and figure out how we can best maximize the available dollars, make the best investments, get the best returns in terms of people’s lives and quality of life,” he says.

However, Tolan says the agency saw increased giving at many workplaces where it held campaigns and that it increased the number of participating businesses in the campaign.

Tolen says the shortage of funds is happening at a time when the demand for services has increased 40 percent.

“Across the board, requests for services are up,” he says. “They’re most dramatically up in areas of basic needs like emergency food and the like. So, at the very time that they’re seeing less resources — that’s the conundrum — they’ve got more requests for services.”

Tolan says since May 1 last year Metro United Way has received 52,000 calls from people seeking assistance.

Volunteer campaign chair Dave Calzi says Metro United Way is already looking to its next campaign to help member agencies serve those in need.

“We have to keep focused because I believe that 2010 and into the future is going to be difficult as well,” Calzi says. “We’ve got to treat this as a battle because the demand is going to continue to go up and the resources are going to continue to be challenging.”

United Way Worldwide has projected a 6 to 7 percent decline in funds raised this year. Metro United Way’s funds fell by less than 5 percent.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Fund for the Arts Campaign at Midway Point

With the local economy still in a precarious situation as the year ends, the Louisville Fund for the Arts annual fundraising campaign is making some strides and working with arts groups to make many adjustments. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Fund for the Arts president and CEO Allan Cowen says the annual campaign — which is now at its midway point — has fared well despite the economy. The campaign did not set out to top last year’s $8.8 million total or even set a goal, but

Cowen says that navigating a battered local economy has been tricky.

“The downside has to do with there’s some companies that either are different corporate structures now or have different-sized business in Louisville — and how you adjust to that is always a challenge,” he says.

He also has seen employees from many area businesses respond well to workplace fund drives held so far.

“Our fall campaign at places like the [Louisville] Water Company, Baptist [Hospital] East, Norton’s [Hospital] — have all been really stellar,” he says. “They all represent double-digit increases.”

Cowen says the Fund also has worked worked with member arts groups to raise earned income and reduce budgets.

“The 15 percent reduction in expenses has been essentially across the board,” he says. “Virtually every arts group supported by the Fund for the Arts has had to tighten their belts — some even more dramatically than that.”

Cowen says Stage One children’s theatre and Music Theatre Louisville, which merged several years ago, has had to cut its budget up to 40 percent. That contributed to this week’s closing of the theaters’ scene and costume shop.

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Local News

Ali Center Legacy Goal 1/3 Complete

Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center is about one-third of the way to completing a ten million dollar fund drive.

More than three million dollars has been raised in the last month, giving the center until 2014 to meet the remainder of its goal.

Ali Center CEO Greg Roberts says he would like to exceed that goal, and plan to expand the campaign soon.

“…Still a lot more loyal donors out there that have been supporting us for years, so obviously we’ll make sure that we connect with them and then we’ll be able to do a nationwide and a global-wide campaign to raise those dollars,” he says. “I think that as the economy turns around, I think we’ll become more successful in raising those dollars. I think the other thing is so many people love Ali.”

The money would be used for an expanded collection and exhibit area at the Ali Center downtown.

“We’re going to have some additions to the building to house Muhammad’s collection to make sure that’s protected, humidity-controlled and secure, then we’re going to have some additional exhibit space so that we can show those items,” says Roberts.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Metro United Way Holds Rally to Reenergize Campaign

Although the Louisville Metro United Way’s annual fundraising campaign doesn’t wrap up until February, it’s holding a pep rally tomorrow to spur giving. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The rally starts at 7:45 a.m. on the Old Male High School campus on Brook Street.

United Way president and CEO Joe Tolan says it’s a way to re-energize the annual campaign, which has a goal to raise as much as last year’s campaign — $28.5 million.

“We probably need about $1 million or $1.2 million in order to get to last year’s total,” Tolan says. “And the conundrum this year is when it’s harder for many people to give or to give as much as they’ve given, we have a real spike in the need for services that has occurred and continues to this day.”

Tolan says the campaign has reached about 85 percent of its goal.

Tolan says the current campaign has been much harder than most because many companies participating in workplace giving activities have fewer employees and member agencies are seeking huge increases of need.

“If you look at things like emergency food, the jump in demand is in the neighborhood of 45 or 50 percent compared to a year or so ago,” he says. “And much of that demand is attributable to individuals and families who’ve never sought help before.”

Tolan says meeting the goal is even more important to member groups that also are coping with state budget cuts to social service agencies. He says this economic recession is causing member agencies to implement new strategies and pool more resources.

“All we have to do is look at what’s happening on state budgets, both Kentucky and Indiana, for the tightening of resources there,” he says. “And so realistically we have to look forward and say ‘OK, how do we do things differently than we’ve done them? How do we find efficiencies where we can?'”

United Way officials want to get 500 people to Tuesday’s rally so that it can cash in on a pledge by E.ON U.S. to donate $5,000 or $10 for every person who attends.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Study on "Why People Give" Surprises Researchers

A new study from Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy aims to help nonprofits perform better at fundraising by indentifying why people donate. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

IU researchers collected data from more than 10,000 households and found that reasons for giving correlated with education levels and income, no matter the region.

The study challenges earlier research that states people in different regions throughout the country give for different reasons relating to shared regional values.

The center’s Melissa Brown says people with incomes more than $100,000 say they give to improve their communities, while different reasons were behind responses from households earning the median income of $50,000.

“People with that median income level and lower, responded that ‘meeting basic needs’ and ‘helping the poor help themselves’ — those were the kinds of things that mattered to them in their giving,” she says. “Those were their top motivations.”

Brown is the center’s associate director of research.

The study comes during a deep recession and aims to help nonprofits perform better at fundraising.

“We’re very interested in helping nonprofits generate the revenue that they need to do the work that they want to undertake,” Brown says. “And we started this study thinking and expected to find strong regional differences in part because of that history of other people’s work that talked about culture heritage and we found that it’s not there.

Brown says the center is now working on another study that seeks to pinpoint the feelings that cause people to make charitable donations.

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Arts and Humanities In-Depth News Local News

Library Getting Outpouring of Donations After Flood

Individual households and organizations as large as the University of Louisville are continuing the clean-up and reparations after this month’s flash flood. And the Louisville Free Public Library is working on overcoming nearly $5 million in damages to its main branch. Meanwhile, the response the library has received since August 4 has come from both the local community and via the virtual world. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Greg Schwartz is a manager at the library, and on August 4th, he was downstairs at about 9 that morning when he saw water near a men’s room door.

“I was completely surprised,” he says, “to open the door and find both urinals and both toilets overflowing — just gushing water.”

Library FloodedHe and other staff tried to stop — then sop — the water, before evacuating the building. Then he sent out a message via Twitter to librarians he’s befriended through a loosely-knit group calling itself the Library Society of the World.

Steve Lawson, a librarian in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says he read this note: “’It’s a hell of a day so far. Thanks to everyone sending the well wishes.’”

Through links Schwartz sent, Lawson looked at photos and read news reports. They got him thinking about what he could do.

“Late that night,” he says, “I wrote a post on my blog.”

Not only did he write about the calamity, he put a PayPal button up so people could give money for the library and set a $5,000 goal by Sept. 1.

“The first donation was at 5:30 in the morning my time,” he says.

And in less than 24 hours he raised $1,000. His total so far stands at more than $3,000 from 94 people.

Since then generosity towards the Louisville Free Public Library has come from far and wide.

At the library’s main branch up to 160 people have been at work on some days: cleaning, hauling, sorting and starting to rebuild. Library director Craig Buthod has been splitting his time between the donated space for library staff in the Heyburn building and here. He says one early encounter with the largesse was when a library staffer went to purchase computer equipment.

“We had to capture the data on the library’s file servers and offload it to external hard drives. So, we went out to Best Buy and the manager at Best Buy said, “You need some help this week. We’re going to donate the hard drives.”

Other businesses have been giving as well — from area grocery stores donating food for the workers’ lunches to an Indiana publishing company donating $3,000 worth of services to help restore any books. And a local blogger has organized a bake sale.

Mary Hunt is executive director of the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, which raises money for the library.

“I immediately started getting calls,” she says, “about people wanting to help: people wanting to help dry out books; help clean up; make gifts. It was amazing.”

So far, the Library’s Flood Recovery Fund has raised about $60,000, but the library’s losses — including the massive damage to the building’s heating, cooling and electrical systems — cost nearly a hundred times that. Buthod and Hunt say they are still waiting to find out how much insurance will cover.

Hunt says that the enthusiasm she’s seen from so many people is something she hopes the library can channel into long-term support.

“Our priority now is to be sure the library gets back to the condition it was before the flood and preferably even better,” she says. “Of course, we want to keep the people who have made gifts for the Flood Recovery Fund — we’d like to keep them as donors for the future. You know, we hope that they will continue to appreciate the library not just because we need help right now because of the flood. But the library always needs help.”

And many fundraising experts agrees. One is Lucy Bernholz, president of Blueprint Research and Design, an advisory firm that publishes a blog on the business of giving.

“The thing will be to keep up the attention,” she says, “because the library, no doubt, has both immediate needs and ongoing needs, and really take advantage of this opportunity to keep a very public conversation about the public library as a resource.”

In the two fiscal years, the library foundation has raised about $1 million annually. But for now, it’s not clear if the current outpouring will translate into more needed dollars.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Fund for the Arts Gets $8.8 Million of $10 Million Goal

The Louisville Fund for the Arts announced the results of its annual fundraising campaign today. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The Fund for the Arts raised $8.8 million this year — falling short of its $10 million goal set before the economic crisis deepened last September. Much of the money raised will go to support its 14 member organizations.

The organization’s president and CEO, Allan Cowen, says the economy was behind the shortfall. He says workplace fundraising dropped and corporate giving fell about $500,000.

“The losses we had to this year had to do with structural changes in some of the businesses as opposed to people cutting back their budgets so much,” Cowen says. “But we met with a company who’d been extraordinarily generous for the past ten years, and they weren’t in a position to do as much this year. Well, how can you complain?”

Cowen says recent annual campaigns have worked to raise the money need to get members’ budget sheets in order. Now that the largest members are in the black, the Fund for the Arts is looking to help Stage One and Music Theatre Louisville climb out of debt in the coming year.

“We only have a couple chunks of— only two organizations that have any operating debt remaining,” he says. “And that’s probably a multimillion dollar change in existence.”

Cowen says the Fund distributed $1 million to member organizations last year to help stabilize their budgets and looks to make $800,000 in grants this year.

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Arts and Humanities Local News WFPL News Department Podcast

Fund for the Arts Campaign Has $10 million Goal

Louisville’s Fund for the Arts kicked off its 2009 fundraising campaign today at the Brown Theatre. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The kickoff featured performances of arts groups including the Louisville Ballet and Stage One children’s theater — along with a piano performance by 15-year-old Nansong Huang, the musical prodigy from China who plays with the Louisville Orchestra and the Louisville Youth Orhchestra this week.

It was all to highlight the Fund for the Arts’ campaign to raise a record $10 million, on the heels of raising $9.2 million last year.

Fund president Allan Cowen says this year’s campaign is more important as arts groups have seen declining revenues and nearly $1 million in losses from city and state government funding. He says any further losses would be hard to overcome.

“Once a city moves backwards, once a city declines, it’s very, very expensive and very difficult to move forward,” he says.

Fund president Allan Cowen says the organization has raised nearly half its goal so far. And he’s optimistic that the rest will come through workplace giving programs, even with the current recession.

“For most people, their gift is a dollar or two a month or a dollar or two week or a dollar or two a day, whatever the equation is, so the economics don’t typically get in your way,” he says.

Fund president Allan Cowen says that makes success in this year’s campaign important for the survival of some arts programs.

“It’s not that you’re really growing the art, it’s really a question of trying to keep vital the programs that we’ve already supported,” he says.

The Fund for the Arts kick-off event also included performances from many member groups including the Louisville Bach SocietyActors Theatre of Louisville and others.