The arts are fundamental to a city’s economy and quality of life, which is why Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is sinking $43 million into cultural institutions across the country.
This year, Pittsburgh is among the cities selected for the charity‘s Arts Innovation and Management program (AIM). The program began in New York City in 2011, and has not included any Pittsburgh nonprofits until this year.
Along with spreading the wealth to Pittsburgh, Bloomberg is also including arts organizations in six other cities — Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. — as first-time recipients in the program.
More than 40 of Pittsburgh’s small and midsize organizations have been invited to participate in the two-year initiative, which offers unrestricted grants and management skills training.
All the selected Pittsburgh nonprofits — the names of which will be announced in August — have been in existence for at least two years and have annual operating budgets between $150,000 and $3.5 million. Bloomberg Philanthropies identified these groups through research and consultation with local funders, city agencies and other cultural organizations.
“The Cultural District established 20 years ago has been a major force in the city’s revival, bringing two million visitors and $300 million in economic activity to the city every year,” says Kate D. Levin, who oversees the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts program. “Supporting the creative sector can help sustain Pittsburgh’s continued reinvention.”
A 2017 study by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) found that the arts and cultural industries in Allegheny County have an economic impact of $2.38 billion and generate more than 32,000 jobs. Through AIM, these entities will receive one-on-one consulting to help them with fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and board development so they can better serve the community.
Since 2011, AIM has invested $108 million and assisted more than 500 organizations in all creative disciplines, including theater, visual arts, music, film, literature and dance. The program is part of Michael R. Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, an effort to help cities across the U.S. innovate and advance public policy. AIM focuses on supporting arts non-profits because of the central role that they play in building communities, driving local economies and supporting their local artists.