Keeping Arts Organizations Healthy During Pandemic

Ford Fund COVID-19 Donation Match Program serves music, history, culture

DEARBORN, Mich. — The COVID-19 pandemic has reached into every corner of lives and livelihoods. The arts—what we've come to know as music, culture, history—are no exception.

NEW! in red above  a blue ballot-type box with donate on the  front beneathCOVID-19 donation  match

But unlike so many food banks and community services, arts organizations are not being rescued by charitable giving and governmental subsidies. Museums, performance centers and libraries traditionally have relied on ticket sales, sponsorships and fund drives for their operational budgets.

COVID brought much of that to a screeching halt. Cancelled events have caused non-profit arts and cultural organizations to reduce their artistic as well as their professional staffs. Furthermore, a survey by Americans for the Arts showed that 10 percent of arts organizations say they many not survive the pandemic.

The societal impact of such a depletion of the arts will be felt by everyone, said Victoria Hutter of the National Endowment for the Arts.

"The arts, large and small, are a part of our daily lives," Hutter said. "From the book you're reading and the music you're listening to, to the design of cars and buildings."

To mitigate the negative impact on the arts, Ford Fund has added eight such organizations to participate in the Ford employee COVD-19 Match Program.

As of early-July, employees have raised more than $325,000. Ford Fund and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford are matching employee donations up to $500,000, raising a potential $1 million in total support for projects focused on hunger, shelter, medical needs—and now, the arts.

The match program is administered by GlobalGiving, Ford's global disaster relief and grant partner. Nearly 50 projects in 20 countries have been selected as beneficiaries of the program for their emergency needs and the presence of Ford employees in their communities. To donate to a program or arts organization, click here.

The arts organization receiving matching funds from Ford employees and Ford Fund include:

  • Charles H Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit
  • Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit
  • The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
  • Detroit Historical Society, Detroit
  • Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
  • The Ark: The Music Lives On, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • National Civil Rights Musem at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee

For a deeper look at how arts organizations are being impacted by COVID-19, visit Facing the Music: How Arts Organizations Are Impacted by COVID-19.