Initiatives and Partnerships: arts and culture

Arts and Culture

  • New Jersey Arts Initiatives (2004-current)

    NFF NJ has a strong history of providing critical consulting services to the New Jersey arts and cultural community. In addition to developing a Critical Financial Services Program, co-sponsored with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA), we've provided Office Hours, individualized financial consulting, and a variety of workshops tailored to arts organizations.


  • Strengthening Arts Organizations Effectively (SAFE) Initiative (2010-2016)
    Supported by The Kresge Foundation, NFF implemented the $4 million SAFE Initiative—Strengthening Arts Facilities Effectively— in 2010 to work with approximately 20 children’s museums and community music schools nationwide. The work will continue over six-years to assist the organizations address their building maintenance and repair needs within the context of a better understanding of their overall capitalization. NFF is providing an in-depth review of an organization’s finances over a multi-year period to help the participants develop and manage cash assets such as capital reserves for replacing building systems. An independent engineering audit of each participant’s building has been the basis for a 20-year maintenance and repair plan and budget. In order to create incentives for the practice of matching deposits into a capital reserve account, Kresge is providing matching funds to each participant over six years.   In addition to the one-on-one work, NFF will work with the cohort of organizations to create a learning community, and conduct peer benchmarking.

  • ArtPlace (2011)

    ArtPlace is an unprecedented $11.5 million public-private grant initiative to advance place-based strategies for community transformation with art and culture at their heart. With inaugural support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Robina Foundation, ArtPlace promotes the strategic role of art and culture in making communities successful.


  • Leading for the Future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence (2007-2013)

    Leading for the Future, a program of Nonprofit Finance Fund funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, was a pilot initiative designed to help a group of ten artistically outstanding performing arts organizations strengthen their business in a shifting environment. NFF provided grants, technical assistance, and consulting services to help each organization innovatively meet environmental challenges, such as the erosion of audience and the impact of technology on live performance, while developing models of sustainability that can be used by arts organizations nationwide.

    Participants had access to up to $1 million over four or five years with the goal of allowing participants to take transformative rather than incremental steps to remain artistically relevant, effective and excellent while ensuring long-term financial viability.  Click here to learn more more about this initiative.


  • The MetLife Arts and Culture Initiative (2009-2011)
    NFF partnered with the MetLife Foundation in 2009 to launch what became a multi-year initiative to strengthen the nation’s leading arts and culture organizations. Through a grant from the MetLife Foundation, NFF provided Dance/USA, Theatre Communications Group, League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and their members nationwide with financial tools and training to address the financial challenges precipitated by the recession. NFF provided the nearly 2,000 member organizations access to financial guidance, tools, and support during these tough economic times. The services offered were customized based upon need and included a variety of workshops, webinars, “office hours”, recession planning and financial analysis. Topics addressed included financial planning; understanding nonprofit financial statements; program economics; cash flow planning; strategic alliances and partnerships; accessing and managing credit; and planning, funding and financing facilities.

  • Arts Regional Initiative (2009-2010)
    In 2009, NFF partnered with the James Irvine Foundation to support regional arts organizations across the state of California. The goal of the initiative was to respond to structural changes brought on by technological advances, demographic changes, funding fluctuations and shifting consumer behaviors. The initiative supported leading organizations that occupy an important role in communities outside of California's largest metropolitan areas. NFF has worked with more than 24 arts organizations in the Central Valley and Central Coast regions of the state from art museums to local symphonies to ballet companies. We provided workshops, webinars, and in-depth customized technical assistance.  

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Flexible Response Loan Program
    In response to the economic downturn, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made a $1 million PRI to NFF to support a loan fund to key grantees in the arts and culture field in the New York Metropolitan area that lost funding as a result of the recession. This funding enabled these groups time to generate new revenue sources and replace lost or delayed funding. Additional loans continue to be made as the first round of funding is replaced.

  • Global Perspectives in a Digital Age: Public Service Media Initiative

    NFF worked with Ford Foundation on a $50-million initiative to help 18 public service media organizations across the country reach the next level of innovation in our rapidly changing media environment. Participants took advantage of all lines of NFF's services, from loans and consulting to working with Capital Partners to chart growth capital campaigns. NFF also provided financially focused peer learning opportunities on a regional basis.


  • Mid-Sized Presenting Organizations Initiative (2005-2010)

    With generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The MPO Initiative made funds and customized technical assistance available to the 17 organizations, including four jazz presenters. The MPO Initiative was designed to support organizations with excellent artistic track records meet long-term goals and maintain financial health, and sustain or increase opportunities for artists to create and perform their work by providing each group with grants of $360,000 - $500,000 over four years. The participants were provided access to a broad range of technical assistance provided through NFF and attend periodic convenings.


  • Financial Stability for the Arts (2006-2009)
    NFF Philadelphia provided financial and consulting services to arts and cultural institutions throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, to help arts leaders understand and implement better financial and management practices. The initiative received major support from The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Independence Foundation, Claneil Foundation, and Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dance Company Initiative

    As a long-time supporter of single choreographer modern dance companies in New York, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has joined with NFF to strengthen the financial health of its grantees and explore business model trends within the sector. NFF is providing individual assistance to 16 grantees, to develop knowledge around financial issues affecting the modern dance sector and to further empower these companies to meet their creative objectives.


  • National Alliances Program (NAP)

    With early support from the Ford Foundation, the National Alliances Program (NAP) was established to assist community arts organizations with planned growth. Initially serving as a virtual site of the Cultural Facilities Fund initiative (CFF), NAP expanded NFF’s work geographically nationally beyond the cities where CFF had offices. The goal was to provide services to these other markets cost-effectively through coordination and collaboration with other national intermediaries.


  • Green Buildings Workshop (2003-2006)
    In 2003, NFF launched a workshop series called Green Building Workshop: Helping Nonprofits Consider Green as part of The Kresge Foundation’s multi-year Green Building Initiative. The goal of the workshops was to encourage nonprofits to develop well-planned facilities that were environmentally sustainable. Many arts organizations nationwide attended these workshops.

  • Ford Foundation New Directions/New Donors (ND/ND)(2000-2005)

    NFF provided support services to the New Directions/New Donors for the Arts program for the Ford Foundation. Ford's $42.5 million effort included $40 million in one-time challenge grants to 28 exemplary arts institutions drawn from across the arts disciplines and located in cities nationwide. The grants were designed to help organizations develop the financial foundation to sustain their programmatic initiatives, increase support from individuals, and enhance board leadership.


  • JazzNet: Supporting Facilities for Jazz Presenters Nationwide (1999-2005)

    Through JazzNet, NFF assisted 14 regionally significant jazz presenting organizations in developing and managing endowments. The program was implemented using NFF's Building for the FutureSM (BFF) model, which helps nonprofits plan, build, develop and manage cash assets such as building reserves and endowments. It also encourages sound management practices by offering financial incentives, in the form of matching grants, to enact these practices.  The program was supported by more than $9.1 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


  • Cultural Facilities Fund initiative (CFF)

    NFF established the Cultural Facilities Fund initiative (CFF) in 1993 in response to key findings from our National Cultural Facilities Study. CFF became a collaborative effort, bringing together various private and government funders with financial institutions to support and strengthen arts and culture nonprofits. CFF was a core initiative at NFF through the late 1990s, by which time its work was absorbed into our general activities. Its lessons continue to inform much of our consulting, lending and thought leadership today.