(L to R) Rachel Hastings, Alecia Kintner and Jamie Markle on ArtsWrap with Alecia

Hear the full discussion on episode 11 of ArtsWrap with Alecia, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Every year, while the ArtsWave Community Campaign is aggregating financial support from nearly 25,000 people, companies and foundations, it's also deciding how to invest those funds in the community. Although ArtsWave will make grants to 150+ projects next year, with 90%+ of every dollar donated going back out the door, the majority of funds will be invested in the operations of a record 49 local arts organizations with a track record of multiplying impact.

"[Receiving ArtsWave's unrestricted operating support] our efforts to use arts as a tool to improve the lives of our residents," says Rachel Hastings, executive director of Price Hill Will, a community development corporation and arts organization. "A lot of funders are specific about only funding new projects, which is great, but can also be a challenge.For example, our MYCincinnati program is, at its core, a free after-school strings program for 135 kids. If funders only want new things, we’d add other instruments, but eventually we would run out. Now, we can focus on our strengths. It's the basis of all the other good work."

Unrestricted doesn't mean unaccountable, however, as Jamie Markle, VP for philanthropic services at Ignite Philanthropy, points out. "When we're making a grant to the ArtsWave Campaign, to us, it's really about a funding partnership, about how are we going to move the arts forward together."

Unrestricted grant support gives organizations stability and capacity to respond to the people they serve. Hastings notes, "In the MYCincinnati program, students and teachers sit together every day. Our teachers heard students talk about their housing struggles and living conditions. We wanted to be part of the solution, so we created a homesteading program. We buy the house, renovate it, then sell it on a land contract to a family. That community value all stemmed from conversations around violin lessons."

Not every end result is that dramatic, however. "Outcomes don’t have to be lofty," Markle says, "but they need to be realistic with a solid plan. Foundations want to have impact, and they want to make sure their funds have the intended result."

For ArtsWave, community impact means fueling economic vibrancy and human connections through partners like Price Hill Will. Over the last 90+ years, through tens of thousands of donors, ArtsWave has invested more than $350 million in delivering that far-reaching impact for a stronger Cincinnati region.