Benna B. Wilde, Prince Charitable Trusts

TITLE: Program Director, Arts and Culture

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, culture, health, social services, and environment

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PROFILE: Although Benna B. Wilde was once managing director for all of Prince Charitable Trusts, she has recently stepped into the more focused role of program director for Arts and Culture. (Former Senior Program Officer Charles Twichell took over the managing director role at Prince at the beginning of 2013, and he also serves as codirector of the Rhode Island program.)

Prince Charitable Trusts devotes its grantmaking to three regions: Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island, because of the founders' affiliations. At a Family Philanthropy Conference, Wilde provided the following reasons for supporting the arts in local communities:

  • Tens of millions of Americans participate in arts activities every year.
  • There are 109,000 non-profit and 550,000 for-profit arts businesses and 2.2 million artists in the workforce.
  • The arts generate billions of dollars in consumer spending.
  • The arts are supported by a mosaic of sources. Earned income represents only half the total, while local, state, and federal government support is around 9 percent and shrinking. Private-sector support represents about one-third of the total.

Wilde believes that for the arts to thrive, steps must be taken to increase both public and private funding. Before joining Prince, she served as chair of the Donors' Forum and cofounder of its Arts and Culture Group. She also served on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts and on the Council on Foundations Public Policy Committee. Wilde earned a bachelor's degree from Vassar College, a master's degree from New York University, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.