Community Foundation Challenge—Arts & Culture Surpasses Expectations

Preliminary report states $4.8 million raised thus far.

Detroit, MI, August 30, 2009 --( The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan released a preliminary report today on the amount of operating funds generated for the 75 arts and cultural organizations participating in the “Community Foundation Challenge—Arts and Culture.”

Recognizing the important role that arts and cultural institutions play in enhancing the quality of life throughout the region, and in light of the current economic climate, the Community Foundation partnered with the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan to launch the Community Foundation Challenge—Arts & Culture.

The preliminary report indicated that the Challenge has secured a total of nearly $4.8 million, surpassing the original goal of $3 million thanks to the strong outpouring of support from donors and the hard work of the 75 participating organizations. The Community Foundation increased its initial commitment of $1 million to match donor gifts by ultimately providing nearly $ 1.6 million in matching funds.

“The Community Foundation Challenge—Arts & Culture accomplished our goal of providing sorely needed support to arts and cultural organizations in southeastern Michigan,” said Community Foundation president, Mariam Noland. “We applaud the thousands of donors who contributed, and apologize to those who experienced delays or were unable to make gifts.”

Technical challenges with the online giving site caused delays and other problems for some donors. Although the Community Foundation took immediate measures to communicate with participating organizations and registered donors about problems, many of those who wished to participate experienced frustration.

“As a nonprofit organization, GuideStar is honored to have been part of this innovative approach to encouraging charitable giving. We were impressed by the extraordinary generosity of the people of southeast Michigan and the enthusiastic participation of the arts community,” said GuideStar president Bob Ottenhoff. “We apologize for any inconvenience the technical processing of gifts may have caused donors as they overwhelmingly supported this initiative. We are reviewing our technology and processes to learn how we could have responded better.”

Despite these technical delays and issues with the online giving site, nearly $ 4.8 million was secured in less than 12 hours. This tremendous outpouring of gifts demonstrates the high value that individuals place on arts and cultural activities throughout the region.

“This groundbreaking effort not only provides much needed funds for the participating members of the Cultural Alliance, but also helped organizations effectively use social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with existing supporters, and reach new audiences,” said Maud Lyon, president, Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan.

“It is important to us that all donors have a good experience and for them to know that their efforts have greatly benefited arts and culture in southeast Michigan,” said Noland, “While we regret any problems in this program, we are extremely pleased that we have been able to assist in generating operating funds for each of the 75 participating organizations.”

For a complete list of preliminary totals for each of the 75 participating organizations, go to

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Mike Ingberg
Theresa Fraley
(313) 961-6675