Now the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund has been named “Outstanding Foundation” as part of the upcoming celebration for National Philanthropy Day in Colorado on November 15.
National Philanthropy Day is a nationwide program by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. AFP Colorado is proud to serve as host for this year’s celebration, where 600 community members are expected to gather in recognition of the achievements of a dozen awardees.
“We are grateful to the Association of Funding Professionals for recognizing that the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund was a remarkable example of what can happen when foundations, city governments and generous people come together to create solutions and address challenges collectively,” says Javier Alberto Soto, the Denver Foundation’s president and CEO.
One of those organizations that benefited from the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund was the long-successful youth-outreach program Art From Ashes. Just about to begin its eighteenth year of operation, Art From Ashes found itself in the same leaky boat of 2020: cash-strapped and limited in the work it could do. The fund helped.
“I can’t say enough about it,” says Celeste Seiler, Art From Ashes director of operations. “The Fund is how we’ve been surviving. When everything shut down last year, it turned everything upside down.”
Art From Ashes was founded in 2003 by poet Catherine O’Neill Thorn, who now serves as executive director. It seeks to provide “creative empowerment workshops to high-risk youth, facilitating expression, connection and transformation among the most neglected and vulnerable segments of our community.”
“We’re all about connection,” says Seiler. “We had to find a new way to do things, figure out a way for our youth programs to function virtually and still serve those that couldn’t. We came up with a writing kit for kids with an online accessibility issue. It’s a condensed version of our Phoenix Rising curriculum, designed to be independently user-friendly. A lot of the funding we were awarded last year kept us alive and able to do what we do. It was an incredible honor and a wonderful recognition of the work Art From Ashes has done over the years.”
"The COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund represents the best of what philanthropy can accomplish when funders work together toward a common goal," notes Gina Ferrari, director of the grants program at the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. "This model is an excellent example of the power of collective impact."
For more information on the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Fund, including ways to donate, see either the Denver Foundation or the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation websites.