Hoping the recessionary tide has reversed, the Arts & Science Council announced Monday a $6.9 million goal for this year’s drive to support the arts, up 11 percent over last year’s target.
That goal is for unrestricted gifts that can be applied at ASC’s discretion, said Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation and chairman of this year’s ASC campaign. Typically the campaign also raises about $2 million in gifts targeted to specific uses, such as underwriting school field trips to cultural destinations.
Last year’s target was 5 percent lower than the previous year’s, reflecting the overall slide in Charlotte philanthropy since the full recession was felt in 2008, but the drive finished up 10 percent over the goal. It was the first major uptick in arts donations since 2007.
Workplace giving, once a major source of income for ASC drives, has fallen in recent years, and Williams said he hopes to reverse the trend. He said he has already talked to some CEOs and community leaders and has gotten positive feedback on increasing donations.
Williams said this year’s drive will have a renewed focus on giving from individuals, particularly professionals or retirees who haven’t been engaged in the past.
It is hoped that donations from individuals will increase $400,000 during this campaign.
“This is not going to be easy at all,” Williams said before a luncheon at the Uptown Mint Museum kicking off the drive.
He said he hopes to have the campaign completed in May. This year’s campaign theme, developed by Charlotte marketing agency Wray Ward, is “ASC is You & Me.”
Unrestricted donations are being emphasized this year to aid the overall universe of arts, sciences and history organizations supported by the ASC, said interim director Robert Bush.
“This is a step in rebuilding a funding base to sustain the operation of the more than 20 cultural organizations that are the backbone of our cultural community,” he said.
Last year, the ASC raised $8.2 million, which included restricted gifts. Unrestricted giving was $6.1 million.
In July 2013, ASC distributed nearly $7 million in grants to 23 arts, science and history organizations. Major beneficiaries included the Mint Museum, which received $1 million, and Discovery Place, which got $850,000.
Chairs of fundraising committees are: For major firms, Laurie Readhead of Bank of America; for community partners, civic leaders Mary Tribble and Dockery Clark; for professional services, Larry Dagenhart of McGuireWoods LLP and Bill Farthing of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP; for cultural partners, Doug Singleton of North Carolina Dance Theatre; for real estate, Russell Hughes of Hughes Realty Advisors; and for business, Wes Beckner of BB&T and William Hawkins of North Highland.