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$40M arts challenge – Ford links new money to arts

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The Ford Foundation will provide $40 million in one-time challenge grants to innovative arts institutions in an effort to attract new wealth to arts philanthropy, the New York Times reports.

The program, called New Directions/New Donors, will award challenge grants of $1 million to $2.5 million each to 28 arts institutions with creative new programs, the Times reports.

“We want to jump-start the connection, to tie together the new wealth and fresh activity in the arts,” Susan V. Beresford, Ford Foundation president, told the Times.

With assets soaring close to $14 billion, the foundation’s art budget in the United States has grown to $15 million this year – a six million increase since 1996, the Times reports.

Half of the new grant recipients have never received Ford funds before, the Times says.

According to Giving USA, an annual report by the American Association of Fund-raising Counsel’s Trust for Philanthropy, charitable contributions to arts organizations fell in 1998 while donations rose in every other area, the Times says.

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