Miami's been on a hot streak lately. Major donors ranging from the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts to (most notably) the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have been pouring money into the South Florida region. And now comes news that the Salah Foundation, which focuses on "education, medical research, community development and self-sufficiency programs aimed at the economically disadvantaged, the young, the elderly and the disabled," is again throwing its hat into the arts funding ring.
The foundation awarded a $150,000 challenge grant to the Broward Performing Arts Foundation to support its award-winning arts-in-education programs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. As part of the Salah Foundation Arts Education Challenge, all private donations received by Sept. 30, 2015 to support educational programming at the Broward Center will be matched 100 percent by the Salah Foundation, up to $150,000.
It's an example of what we'd like to (perhaps awkwardly) call Occam's Razor Philanthropy. As you may know, the principe of Occam's Razor stipulates that the simplest answer to a problem is often the correct one. And the success of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts can be defined by the inherent simplicity of their programming model. They put on performances for underserved populations. No extraneous bells and whistles here, folks.
As the Broward Performing Arts Foundation notes, "As many children and families may not otherwise have regular access to the arts, many of the Broward Center’s educational activities are focused on reaching the economically disadvantaged." It's a simple premise underscored by recent census figures, which found that the per capita income for the county was $23,170. Contrast this to San Jose, CA. That city median household income clocks in at $81,000. And ironically enough, San Jose recently netted $620,000 in grants from the Knight Foundation.
What's more, about 8.7 percent of Broward County families and 11.5 percent of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3 percent of those under age 18.
In the face of these unpleasant statistics, nearly 150,000 Broward County school children saw educational performances free of charge at the Broward Center in 2014. In addition to providing access to free performances, the center also offers classes, educator and student programs, and adult enrichment offerings.
The Salah Foundation has a long history of supporting the South Florida region. It runs a targeted grant process whereby it invites select organizations to apply.