Funders Unite to Support Los Angeles Arts Nonprofits

A group of funders led by the J. Paul Getty Trust have banded together to support small- and medium-sized arts organizations. Under the heading The LA Arts Recover Fund, a dozen initial funders have raised $38.5 million. The fund’s grants will provide a minimum of two years’ operating support to Los Angeles County arts organizations that had annual operating budgets of less than $10 million prior to March 2020.

The fund is administered by the California Community Foundation. In addition to financial resources, the fund will aid organizations’ efforts in gaining capacity-building support and technical assistance. The fund is open and the administrators hope to increase it to $50 million. As part of the fund, the Ford Foundation issued a challenge grant aimed at supporting Asian, Black, Indigenous and Latinx arts organizations.

“Los Angeles’s arts organizations embody the diverse cultures of our region and are critical to making us one of the most vibrant, innovative, and collaborative arts communities in the nation,” Getty Foundation Director Joan Weinstein said in a statement. “By organizing the LA Arts Recovery Fund, we’re mirroring their commitment to collaboration, coming together to provide what we hope will be meaningful support at a time when the very existence of these organizations is threatened. In the process, we hope to help create a more equitable and inclusive arts sector for the future.”

The initial funder group, which is made up of both Los Angeles regional and national donors, includes The Ahmanson Foundation, Vladimir & Araxia Buckhantz Foundation, California Community Foundation, Ford Theatre Foundation/LA County Department of Arts and Culture, J. Paul Getty Trust, Jerry and Terri Kohl, Robert Lovelace and Alicia Miñana, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Music Man Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Perenchio Foundation, Snap Foundation and Sony Pictures Entertainment & Sony Global Relief Fund. 

“The arts are vital to the wellbeing of our communities and our region’s recovery in this pivotal moment, but our cultural sector cannot fulfill that mission without additional support,” Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Kristin Sakoda said via a statement.

The fund comes at a time when the Los Angeles arts community has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Data from Americans for the Arts cited by fund organizers indicates nearly half of arts nonprofits in the region have tapped financial reserves and one third have experienced either layoffs or furloughs. Additionally, the average arts organization has less than four months of operating cash reserves.

Grant applications are available at https://www.calfund.org/laartsfund/. Grant awards will be announced in May.