United Arts of Central Florida this morning unveiled its new power2give donation program that allows donors to support specific projects run by arts, science and history organizations.
The program is website-based, at power2give.org, so donors can contribute to any project at any time. Power2give was developed by the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, N.C., in August 2011 and has since expanded to include 14 communities.
To date, more than $2.4 million has been raised in cities such as Atlanta, Houston and Miami, funding almost 1,200 projects. United Arts supports more than 50 cultural groups in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties. Groups or individual artists who have received United Arts funding during the past five years are eligible to participate.
"It's a new time, there are new ways to raise money," said United Arts board chairwoman Linda Landman Gonzalez during the kickoff at Mad Cow Theatre in downtown Orlando.
United Arts leaders have high hopes that power2give can spur new donors to support Central Florida's cultural groups. An analysis in the program's current cities shows that 46 percent of donors are making their first contribution, said Scott Bowman, the United Arts development committee chairman.
The ability to select specific projects to support could also spur more giving, said United Arts president Flora Maria Garcia.
"The effectiveness of the site, from a fundraising perspective, is that the connection between donor and project is immediate and personal," Garcia said. "That's what today's donors are looking for, and because the site changes so frequently, donors become engaged and return again and again."
Arts and cultural groups can solicit up to $10,000 for a particular project in a 90-day time frame. The projects must be approved by United Arts before they are posted on the website.
The first projects seeking donations include scholarships for the youth choir of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park; assisted-listening devices for the Bay Street Players, who perform at the State Theater in Eustis; audio and lighting equipment for Central Florida Community Arts; and an upcoming children's program run by the Coalition for Homeless in Central Florida and Orlando Museum of Art.
Other participants include Orlando Ballet, the Holocaust Center in Maitland, the Crealde School of Art in Winter Park and the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.
Big-name corporate sponsors, such as the Orlando Utilities Commission, Darden Restaurants and Walt Disney World, have gotten behind the effort, providing financial support for the program and offering matching funds to donations.
Bank of America, which for years sponsored ArtsFest, the annual series of free performances that United Art ended in 2012, provided the principal funding to launch the site.
The timing is right for the new initiative, said John P. Moskos, Orlando and Central Florida president of Bank of America, at this morning's event.
"We've been through a terrible recession, we know how hard it is to raise money in this community," Moskos told the assembled arts leaders. "This is very innovative, and I think it will be very successful."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun