Bloomberg Philanthropies this week announced the nationwide expansion of the Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program, formerly known as the Arts Advancement Initiative.

The invitation-only program seeks to strengthen nearly 300 small- and mid-sized organizations within six cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Through the two-year initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies will offer $30 million of unrestricted general operating support. It will also include arts management training in fundraising, audience development and board member engagement.

“Nonprofit arts groups do so much to help cities thrive, but they often face major funding challenges. Effective management and fundraising practices are absolutely critical for arts organizations, especially those with small budgets,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “These grants will help arts groups make the most of their resources, reach more people, and have an even bigger impact on their communities.”

Piloted in New York City, Bloomberg Philanthropies supported 245 grantees through AIM from 2011-2013. Participating organizations reported improvements in audience development, board engagement and fundraising over the two-year program:

  • Audience development: 79% reached new audiences through targeted marketing campaigns and social media.
  • Board engagement: 95% improved board member engagement by adding new members and/or increasing board giving.
  • Fundraising: 88% leveraged the grant to secure new contributions from donors.

All organizations invited to participate are locally or internationally recognized nonprofits that have been in existence for at least two years. Grantees will be required to secure matching funds; reach 100% board participation in fundraising; and maintain up-to-date information in the Cultural Data Project, an online financial management tool that assists arts organizations across the country to collect, learn from, and use data effectively. The grants will be unrestricted so that recipients can use them to address their greatest needs. Invitation letters are being distributed to organizations beginning today.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will partner with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland to develop curricula and conduct trainings for the AIM program in each city. The comprehensive workshops will engage organizations around activities that strengthen their long-term health and goals and will include consultations and implementation support for arts managers and their boards.

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