ArtsWave raised $12,450,000 during the 2016 Annual Community Campaign for the arts that build Greater Cincinnati’s national reputation, deepen people’s roots in the region, enliven neighborhoods, bridge cultural divides, and fuel creativity and learning for children.

“The arts are an absolute necessity for our region’s economic vitality,” said Jill P. Meyer, President & CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, who co-chaired the campaign with her husband, Awadagin Pratt, world-class pianist and artist-in-residence at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. “Cincinnati’s vibrant arts define our region in a unique way and will continue to help us build Cincinnati’s presence as an amazing place to live, work and visit.”

Jil Alecia, Lisa Sauer $12.45

Meyer and ArtsWave CEO and President Alecia Kintner also announced a new initiative and fundraising challenge by the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network. The RTN will match up to $500,000 each year for three years, inviting ArtsWave to co-create an unprecedented marketing campaign to boost awareness of the arts and position Greater Cincinnati as a cultural tourism destination. Thus far, ArtsWave has identified $365,000 in early pledges toward its portion of the first year challenge.

“We believe the arts have the power to pull people into our region and make them ambassadors for the Greater Cincinnati region,” said Linda Antus, CEO & President of the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, who joined in this surprise announcement. “The research we already have started to do proves that, and we’re excited to launch this partnership to further leverage our region’s fantastic cultural resources.”

Alecia with $13.18 slide

Altogether, ArtsWave has aggregated $13,180,000 for impact-based arts grants, services and marketing initiatives – an all-time high.

ArtsWave remains the nation’s largest community campaign for the arts, both in total contributions and number of donors. Most contributions to the annual campaign are individual gifts in amounts less than $150; $75 is the amount most commonly donated.

More than 13,000 employees and retirees contributed to from the three largest workplace campaigns, Procter & Gamble, Fifth Third Bank and GE. Many employee drives at companies and organizations achieved a significant increase in their campaign efforts including Kroger, Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati Bell, U.S. Bank, Vantiv, Paycor, Ohio National Financial Services, Michelman Inc., and the 3 East Fourth St. building, a group campaign with Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, REDI Cincinnati, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, Cincinnati Business Committee / Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, OTR Chamber and Chinese Chamber.

ArtsWave attracted new support to the campaign from 30 companies resulting in more than $80,000 in new support by leveraging a $50,000 challenge grant from the Western & Southern Financial Fund. A $50,000 challenge grant from the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation matched individual donations given outside workplace campaigns.

ArtsWave expanded several creative initiatives to increase awareness, engagement and contributions. More than 35 local restaurants, bars and breweries supported the campaign through special Toast to the Arts drink offers and events that allowed community members to dine out and give back. The Cincinnati Reds extended their partnership with ArtsWave by creating a special discount on Reds tickets to April and May games. (People still can purchase these tickets at

P&G Voices of Destiny

Sponsored by Accenture, CincySings, ArtsWave’s signature choral competition, for the third year gave employee choirs from top regional companies a chance to sing at Music Hall. The high-energy evening hosted by Drew Lachey raised more than $70,000 for the ArtsWave campaign.

Arts360 team working

The first ArtsWave Tidal Art x Tech Challenge, sponsored by Fifth Third, brought together arts and innovation for a weekend-long problem-solving event with Startup Cincy at Union Hall. More than 100 people participated in the event, which challenged teams to solve business challenges from the region’s largest arts organizations. ArtsWave is meeting with teams to determine how to make the solutions a reality and created a Tech Advisory Council to continue to engage the brightest minds in Greater Cincinnati.

Sunday concert with audience
ArtsWave also continued to increase community engagement with the arts through a variety of events and programs. More than 11,000 people attended the Macy’s Arts Sampler weekend showcasing the area’s arts organizations. Outreach to young professionals also resulted in higher rates of engagement with nearly 4,000 donors younger than 40 contributing more than $500,000 to the campaign.

Leadership giving also contributed to the success of the campaign with 1,000 individuals giving $1,500 or more. More than 350 donors joined the Women’s Leadership Roundtable, and 85 donors joined the Circle of African American Leaders for the Arts.


As is the case every year, the total dollar amount announced includes contributions already received and reported, as well as projections for campaigns that are ongoing.

“For those companies and individuals who are still finishing their campaigns, please know that your support is essential,” Kintner said. “This campaign would not be possible without the thousands of donors and volunteers who step up and take action for our community. We want to thank everyone who has been a champion for the arts in our region. Your investment makes a difference.”

ArtsWave celebrated the successful 2016 campaign on April 28 at Anderson Pavilion at Smale Park. At the event, ArtsWave Board President Lisa Sauer introduced next year’s community campaign chairman, Tim Elsbrock, Cincinnati Market President of Fifth Third Bank.

Tim Elsbrock smiling