Karen McCleave: Why Charitable Giving to Arts & Culture Remains Vital

Why Charitable Giving to Arts and Culture Remains Vital

Karen McCleave: Why Charitable Giving to Arts & Culture Remains Vital

Apr 13, 2022, 4:32:18 PM Creative

Charities, in general, have had a rough time during the pandemic.

While charitable gifts increased early on in the pandemic, they quickly dropped and stayed low throughout 2021. Several reports looking at overall charitable donations in Canada, the U.S., and the UK identified worrisome trends.

Many of the challenges that charities faced during the pandemic have yet to be addressed, while demand for their services is surging as pandemic restrictions are rolled back.

Because the charitable community is as vast as the needs of mankind, it can be overwhelming to decide the direction of your givings. Karen McCleave, a community supporter and board member of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, offers some reasons to dedicate some of your donations to arts and culture. 

Arts Charities entered the pandemic in financial distress: They need immediate help:

Reports have found that necessary funding for the arts and culture sector in Canada was falling short even before the pandemic. According to The Giving Report, donations to this sector make up only 4-6% of total philanthropic support.

The arts are often considered less important than nonprofits focused on issues like hunger or homelessness. And, yet, we need to recognize that there is a link. Many artists’ incomes have plummeted during this time. They will have to endure the pandemic’s impact longer than most, as the arts and entertainment industry may well be one of the last to return to its pre-pandemic levels. A donation to arts and culture can be a contribution to re-employing the artists who create and entertain, as well as the support network around them.

Supporting the Arts supports mental health:

Arts and culture can be a tool for psychological recovery. Whether it is programming for shut-ins, painting lessons for visiting school classes or gathering people to celebrate a new performance or exhibit, the power of arts and culture to provide relief, joy and healing cannot be overstated.

The Arts helps drive the economy: Your donation helps broader recovery:

Karen McCleave points out that charitable giving to the Arts can have a discernible impact on our economy. In 2019, for example, the arts and culture industry brought $58.9 billion to Canada’s economy. That’s more than food services and even sports. It’s a similar story in the United States, where in 2015 the nonprofit arts industry alone generated $166.3 billion in economic activity.

Supporting Arts and Culture is good for business:

Apart from the tax credits for charitable donations, there is a more far-reaching benefit. Nanos research has shown that a vibrant arts and cultural component of a community actually makes it easier for businesses to retain talented employees.

Why? Because such a city is more appealing to the types of workers that companies want to attract.

Arts and Cultural organizations’ programming is linked to education:

Charity Intelligence released a list of the top 10 charities with the greatest impact. Of those 10, four were aimed at education. No other category had so many.

“If you want to support an educational program, a donation to arts and culture is an excellent way to do it.” McCleave said. “Arts and culture charities are uniquely positioned, given their skill sets, to connect with classrooms and agencies to offer unique programming to vulnerable segments of our communities.”

When considering what arts and culture organizations to support, Karen McCleave suggests checking out this helpful list from Charity Intelligence Canada.

She ended with these thoughts: “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in today’s world; however, never forget that charities give us a chance to make a difference and have some influence over what’s happening around us. Arts and culture groups enrich the fabric of our towns and cities. They can bring hope to those in despair, whether by encouragement, inspiration or an escape. Please give what you can to keep this vibrancy alive.”

Published by Ferozz Khan

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