Foundation creates new arts fund

People with a heart for the arts now have a way to promote their passion in the Hillsboro community for generations to come.

The board of directors for the Hillsboro Com?munity Founda?tion approved the creation of a permanent arts endowment at its March 10 meeting.

?The goal is $150,000, of which $50,000 has been pledged,? said Keith Harder, HCF board chair. ?It?s not from one source; it?s from a number of people in the community.?

The new endowment is intended to address a perceived need in the community.

?Quality artistic expression requires financial resources,? Harder said. ?With reduced funding available from state and federal sources, and uncertain funding for our public schools, additional funding streams are needed to ensure the place of the arts in our community.?


Goals and grants

The board?s goal is to see the endowment fully funded within three years.

?If it?s fully realized, that would mean another $100,000,? Harder said. ?That $150,000 would function something like the Impact Fund in terms of organizations making grant applications.?

To process the grant applications and promote the arts in the community, the HCF board will create a five-person Hillsboro Area Arts Council.

?I think we?re envisioning someone from the college, someone from the school system, maybe somebody from city recreation, and a couple of at-large people,? Harder said about the membership.

?Hopefully, this arts council would meet periodically and would be thinking about ways of enriching our community with artistic expression.?

He said council members would be appointed sooner than later.

?Even after the first of the year, if we had the $50,000 (in pledges), that?s still $2,500 that can be given out in grants,? he said.

Types of projects

Projects that could qualify to receive grant funding could cover the arts spectrum, including cultural arts, performing arts and fine arts.

?There are lots of possibilities,? Harder said. ?If the college or the local schools had a vision for a children?s theater, or for a traveling music group to come in, those might be examples.?

He said the recent Tabor College production of ?To Kill a Mock?ing Bird,? which included local children in the cast, is an example of a cooperative project that required supplemental funding.

As for the fine arts, Harder said, ?I don?t know exactly what exactly that might look like, but if there would be an exhibit, or an exhibit featuring local artists?that kind of thing could easily fit under the broad criteria.?

Harder said the HCF board intends grant money from the new endowment to be above and beyond funds already designated for artistic efforts.

?We want to be careful that we don?t replace existing funding, but that this would be seen as supplementing,? he said. ?It?s helping do what otherwise could not be done with available funding.?

With an endowment of $150,000, about $7,500 could be available for community projects each year. But the board has not limited the size of the endowment.

?This is the kind of thing people can add to over the years,? Harder said. ?It?s not, in that sense, like a donor-advised fund of any individual?which has its value. The advantage of this is that it?s open-ended.

?The resolution the board passed was for an initial goal of $150,000, believing that there will be people in the future who will want to contribute to this.?

Added incentives

Beyond a boost for the arts, Harder said another incentive for contributing to the new endowment is that every gift counts toward the $300,000 challenge grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

?We still have about $150,000 to raise to fully realize the $300,000,? he said. ?So every gift is actually a 4-1 match. People are almost doubling their money in terms of multiple benefits.?

Harder described the individuals who made the initial pledges as ?people in the community with a strong sense of the importance of the arts in our community, that it makes our community attractive, that it enriches our life together.?

He added, ?I personally think the arts help us see things in new ways, or maybe see things that we don?t otherwise see. It often provides a common experience that brings people together.?

With the arts endowment fully funded, and with additional endowments in the pipeline, Harder said the combined assets of the 5-year-old HCF will approach $1.5 million.

?It?s pretty amazing,? Harder said. ?We?re to the point where we?ll be able to give out $40,000 to $50,000 a year through the various funds under the Hillsboro Com?munity Foundation umbrella.?

In February, a total of $14,000 was distributed among 10 area entities.

Anyone wanting more information about the arts endowment can contact Kathy Decker, HCF executive director, at 620-947-0170.

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