Arts Council 2020
Community Fund for the Arts Campaign Closes at $1.9 Million
In these challenging times, an “unmitigated success” said President and CEO
Winston-Salem, NC (October 12, 2020) – The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County has wrapped up its 2020 Community Fund for the Arts Campaign, raising $1.9 million, an “unmitigated success” in the words of President and CEO Randy Eaddy.
The “normal” annual campaign strategy and tactics went out the window in early spring with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered operations by The Arts Council and arts organizations across the community. An array of new tactics had to be rapidly conceived and implemented, in the midst of ongoing changes and uncertainties.
“We knew the challenges the COVID-19 crisis was causing for the entire arts and non-profit sector of the community, but we also knew we had to keep our goals high,” said Eaddy. “Raising funds just to survive was not acceptable. We had to raise enough to preserve and ensure The Arts Council’s impactfulness for this community in the aftermath of the crisis.”
Eaddy continued, “There’re good reasons why we are called the ‘City of Arts & Innovation’, and why The Arts Council is viewed as the de facto lode star in the arts constellation. Those reasons made us believe that support for the arts and The Arts Council was still out there, in spite of these horrific times. Our task was to find the right ways to tap into that support for the best possible outcome this year. We committed to that, wouldn’t settle for less, and achieved this unmitigated success. This exceptional community made that possible.”
More than 2,600 donors contributed to the 2020 campaign, as Winston-Salem and Forsyth County residents demonstrated their belief in the value and importance of the arts, and in The Arts Council’s key role in supporting the community’s constellation of amazing arts organizations and artists. “The Arts Council is deeply grateful to all of its donors, and they will all be listed on The Arts Council’s website and in its upcoming 2020 Annual Report,” Eaddy said, while noting that the campaign had some shout-out high points.
“Malcolm and Patty Brown, The Berti Foundation (whose founding family owns The Ali Group, which has global operations that include locally-based Beverage Air), and an anonymous institution made magnanimous contributions in late August. That gave the campaign a tremendous boost and comprised the $350,000 matching challenge that helped to spur contributions and propel the campaign in the home stretch,” Eaddy noted.
Several stalwart corporate and individual supporters continued their generous support. So, too, did the City of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, in spite of increased budgetary pressures because of COVID-19. Many workplace campaigns – traditionally a key part of The Arts Council’s annual campaign – continued their respective efforts. When the crisis prevented workplace campaigns from holding events in person, they creatively used virtual platforms and other techniques to rally their employees to the cause.
The community’s remarkable support of the 2020 campaign means The Arts Council can continue all three of its core operating functions, which are: (i) making critically-needed grants to arts organizations and artists; (ii) operating its strategic facilities and dynamic multi-functional venues, on which so many in the community depend; and (iii) providing a wide range of other services that support and promote the organizations and artists who comprise the community’s arts constellation.
Eaddy elaborated: “Although less than originally desired before COVID-19 disrupted everything, we exceeded our adjusted expectations, which had remained high. As a result, we will continue making impactful grants to numerous organizations and artists. And we will continue delivering important non-financial support services that facilitate joint efforts, collective-capacity building, and other strategic collaborations across the arts constellation, which helps to lift all boats and make the constellation shine more brightly.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced all arts organizations to make radical adjustments to ensure their survival and continue their valuable support to community members. Eaddy had high praise for such organizations and their governing boards, saying, “I have been amazed by the resiliency and innovation of our local arts organizations and artists. They adjusted rapidly to weather the COVID-19 crisis, to help one another, and to begin planning strategically for the ‘new normal’. Most impressively, they continued to engage with their constituents and other community members, providing important support and relief via virtual platforms and otherwise.”
Eaddy accepted the top post at The Arts Council in August 2018 on an interim basis, intending a two-year maximum stent. The onset of COVID-19 delayed the Board’s succession search process, but the search intensified during the summer under the leadership of Board member Rick Moss, whom Board Chair Melinda McConnell tapped to chair the succession search committee.
“The search for the next President and CEO is proceeding apace under Rick Moss’ steady hand,” Eaddy said. “Our strong results for the 2020 campaign mean the person selected will start from a reasonably good place. The Arts Council’s valuable institutional infrastructure is intact, ready to be fine-tuned and deployed to meet the challenges ahead. This community is devoted to the arts, the depth of which it showed, once again, by its generous support of the 2020 campaign in these previously inconceivable trying times. That bodes well for the future of The Arts Council and its next leader.”
Winston-Salem, known as the “City of Arts & Innovation”, and Forsyth County have a robust arts community that enriches the lives of area residents every day and accounts in large part for the recognition they continue to receive as a great place to live, learn, work and play. Forsyth County’s nonprofit arts industry supports more than 5,500 full time equivalent jobs; accounts for more than $129 million in resident household income, and generates more than $14.8 million in local and state tax revenues.