Almanac: Major Achievements of American Philanthropy - Arts & Culture

Almanac: Major Achievements of American Philanthropy - Arts & Culture

Article posted in General on 29 August 2017| comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 30 August 2017


The "Almanac" explores the profound impact of philanthropy on Arts & Culture in America.

Despite its comparatively short history, the United States has become one of the most artistically and culturally rich societies in the world. It is largely private philanthropy that has done this. And unlike in some other nations, it continues to be philanthropy and audience support (rather than state funding) that creates and sustains most artistic activity today. 

Consider symphony orchestras. Fully half of their income today comes from donations (33 percent from annual gifts, 16 percent from revenue off of endowments given previously). Paid concert revenue comes to 42 percent of their total income. Only 6 percent of symphony funds come from local, state, or federal governments. 

The story is about the same for other creative fields. Nonprofit arts institutions in the U.S. as a whole currently get 45 percent of their budgets from donors. Eliminate philanthropy and our lives immediately become duller, flatter, darker, more silent. 

Arrayed by year below you will find examples of some of philanthropy’s significant contributions to our national artistic life, museums, musical performance and creation, architecture, historical preservation, arts education, the book arts and libraries, living history, poetry, TV and film, dance and theater, and more. 


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