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United Arts Council aims to hold line

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Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In the face of the economic recession, United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro aims in its annual fund drive this year to raise $1.43 million, up slightly from the $1.42 million it raised last year.

“Our goal is to hold the line or just exceed it if we can,” says Altina Layman, interim president and CEO.

Chaired by Nancy Radtke, a broker at Allen Tate Realtors, and managed part-time by Tim Goetz, former manager of community affairs for the American Express Service Center, the drive also aims to sustain the level of givers who give $1,000 or more by connecting with them personally, either on the phone or through personal visits.

With a core of 65 volunteers this year, last year’s drive counted on businesses and foundations for roughly half its funds, individuals for one-fourth, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and N.C. Arts Council for 17 percent, and in-kind gifts for eight percent.

United Arts Council operates with an annual budget of $1.2 million and a staff of three employees working fulltime and one working half-time.

The council, which also works to maintain cash reserves each year, awarded grants totaling nearly $966,000 in the fiscal year ended last June 30 that support regional artists, cultural partners and teachers.

While the annual drive traditionally has not raised much money through workplace campaigns, says Layman, the organization’s director of marketing and community affairs, this year plans to revive its workplace campaign in the Guilford County Schools.

United Arts Council’s previous workplace campaigns in the schools focused only on art teachers but this year’s effort, aims to reach all faculty and staff.

Layman says Maurice Green, superintendent of Guilford schools, has encouraged United Arts to try to reach all teachers and staff for the workplace campaign.

And the schools’ arts curriculum specialist has joined the United Arts Council board.

United Arts Council is partnering with the High Point Area Arts Council on the schools’ campaign, including a pledge card that will feature both groups.

The annual drive also will feature events, hosted by board members in their homes, to cultivate past board members and donors.

United Arts Council, which also provides nearly $400,000 worth of community services such as marketing and promoting First Fridays downtown, promoting cultural offerings throughout the year, and sponsoring research on the arts and their economic impact, soon will launch a redesigned website.

Funded with a $7,500 grant from a local foundation that also helped the agency upgrade its computers, the new website not only will provide information on how to apply for grants but also will feature information about the local arts community geared to the general public.

It will include video clips, for example, of some of the programs United Arts Council supports, as well as a calendar of local cultural events, and links to venues that host cultural events.

“It should give a visitor a really good snapshot of the things that are happening in Greensboro,” Layman says. “And donors are going to be able to see how their investment is working through video clips, photos and testimonials.”

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