While the initial intent of the Foundation was focused upon fundraising for specific statewide initiatives, development efforts for programs such as A+ Schools and the SmART Initiative have already proven successful. Now, the Foundation is undertaking planning activities to explore additional ways to strengthen the Arts Council through a capacity building campaign – funds from which could be used for programs, grants, and/or agency infrastructure to support programs and grants.
The Arts Council is committed to continuing their statewide support for arts councils, arts organizations, schools, local government and artists in all 100 counties of our state. In addition, much of the staff's time and talents are directed to providing technical assistance to our partners so that the arts can be developed and sustained in communities both large and small. The Foundation will support this work through public-private partnerships, soliciting contributions and taking the message of 'Arts for All' to philanthropists and the business sector.
Since its creation 50 years ago, after decades of vigorous work, experimentation, and refinement, our state's arts infrastructure now reaches into all 100 counties through one of the most highly developed and effective networks of local arts councils in the nation. Today, North Carolina is home to 93 local arts councils, and close to 3,000 nonprofit arts organizations. The business model of the N.C. Arts Council is unique among state agencies – 80% of the agency's budget is distributed among all 100 counties of the state. No other state in the nation has such a strong network of local arts partners. The Foundation works through this network to communicate the opportunities for arts development.
The long term goal of the Foundation is to establish an Endowment. In the short term, progress is measured by continued support from major private foundations for specific initiatives and by increased donations from individuals and public entities.
The Foundation has facilitated the expansion of the A+ Schools program, the SmART Initiative and the African American Heritage Commission. It continues to sustain the outreach of these programs across the state. As additional funds are raised, the Foundation plans to support enhancement of the Traditional Arts Programs in the Schools (TAPS), as well as the Cultural Trails network to promote arts tourism. Both of these programs are particularly significant in providing arts-based economic development opportunities in rural communities.