Fund for the Arts

The Fund for the Arts is the oldest united arts fund in the nation, according to Wikipedia, and has raised more than $172 million since its establishment. Mayor Charles Farnsley led the group’s formation in 1949.

With the help of nearly 20,000 donors, the fund says it supports more than 100 charities and schools — a range of organizations across neighborhoods, community centers and public spaces. In its fiscal year 2014, according to the fund’s most recent IRS tax return, covering the year ended June 30, 2014, top beneficiaries included:

For a full list of beneficiaries, see the statement on the return’s Schedule 1 starting on Page 25.

Stability following turmoil
Christen Boone

The fund has been led by former philanthropy consultant Christen Boone since 2014, following a period of relative calm after a leadership upset that tarnished the group’s reputation five years ago.

It regained its footing under Boone and her predecessor, Barbara Sexton Smith. The fund ranked No. 4 among similar organizations nationwide in money raised in fiscal year 2014 — $7.7 million — according to the Americans for the Arts network. No. 1 was ArtsWave in Cincinnati, which pulled in $12 million. Louisville’s is one of two community arts funds in the state; the other is LexArts in Lexington.

The 2014 contributions were down slightly from $7.8 million in the prior year, according to its most recent IRS tax return for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014. It made grants of $6.2 million in the 2014 year, down substantially from $8.1 million a year before, when it ran a $1.7 million deficit.

Its endowment rose 12%, to $7.4 million vs. $6.6 million. That was a boom year for the stock market, as the S&P 500 index — a broad measure of market activity — jumped an unusually big 21%.

The fund likely won’t reveal how much it’s paying CEO Boone until its next IRS tax return is published. It paid her predecessor, Smith, $227,841 in salary and $28,824 in benefits according to the 2014 tax return. She retired two years ago and in the May 2016 primary, won the Democratic nomination for District 4 of the Louisville Metro Council.

Tom Noland, a senior vice president for corporate communications at insurance giant Humana, chairs the 58-member board of directors, a who’s-who of business and non-profit CEOs and community leaders.

Here’s the fund’s GuideStar page, where you can find current IRS tax returns with annual revenues, expenses, compensation to top officers and other financial information.

Read more about the fund on Boulevard.