Late last year, we called attention to an impressive report from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance exploring the health of the arts in major U.S. cities.
And as far as Philadelphia itself is concerned, we learned that, among other things, arts groups in the region saw a 12.7 percent decrease in individual giving from 2009 to 2012. On the bright side, these same groups enjoyed a 5.6 increase in foundation funding over the same period — a modest increase, but far behind metro leaders like Boston (+44.6 percent), Pittsburgh (+35 percent), and Phoenix (+28.7 percent).
In short, the City of Brotherly Love seems to be doing fine, and its prospects have further improved thanks to the Presser Foundation, which recently awarded $700,000 in general operating support to music presenting, music performing, and music education organizations within a 100-mile radius of Center City, Philadelphia. Check out the full list of winners here.
Given all the hand-wringing about the state of music philanthropy in the wake of the Great Recession, it's worth noting that the Philadelphia-based Presser Foundation isn't a Johnny-come-lately to this terrain. Founded in 1939, the foundation is exclusively devoted to music-related philanthropy. In the charter of incorporation, the foundation’s purposes are set forth to promote the cause of musical education and musical philanthropy as follows: to provide scholarships for promising students; to increase the value of music education by erecting suitable buildings; and to administer aid to worthy music teachers in distress.
And so the foundation's grantmaking includes areas like Advancement of Music, Assistance to Music Teachers, Capital Support, a Graduate Music Award, and an Undergraduate Scholar Award. The $700,000 gift to the Philadelphia regions falls within its Advancement of Music category, the purpose of which is to provide "general operating support of music organizations in order to advance the cause of music education or otherwise support music philanthropy."
Advancement of Music grants are available to nonprofit organizations from neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland. What's most important is that they're within a 100-mile radius from Philadelphia. Click here for more information on the foundation's Advancement of Music grants.
And when you're done, take a spin up the I-95 corridor — not the most pleasant drive, we admit — to check out the state of Boston's arts philanthropy.