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Businessmen Launch On-Line Fundraising for AZ’s Ailing Arts Community

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 By Doug RamseyContact
May 4, 2009

Phoenix, AZ – Taking a cue from the Obama campaign of last fall, two Phoenix businessmen have launched an experimental Web-based fundraising drive for the Phoenix Valley's 16 largest arts and cultural organizations. If it works, the campaign goes statewide in the fall.

Bob Delgado, president of Hensley and Company, says motivating young people will be the key.

"They understand the importance of the arts. They may not have built up the financial resources to make large donations, but they understand how important it is and they will support the arts. They'll do it within their means."

Delgado and Mike Cohn of CFG Business Solutions hope that at least ten percent of the state's arts supporters, or some 120,000 people, will donate at least ten dollars at the campaign's Web site, whose address is
www.myartscommunity.org. If the six-week pilot campaign is successful, it'll be expanded this fall to include 300 organizations statewide.

Delgado says support for arts and culture is vital in helping Arizona to diversify and grow its economy.

"When businesses examine whether they want to move to Arizona, there are a number of criteria they study. They look at tax policy, they look at the education system, but always at the top of the list is arts and culture."

Producing director Matthew Wiener of Actors Theatre in Phoenix says fewer foundation grants and large donations have meant staff furloughs.

"There's a reduction in our ability to do larger shows, we're not filling empty positions. I mean all of these things together just create a less robust arts and cultural community to serve a growing metropolitan area."

Wiener is impressed by the cooperation among the businessmen and the arts and cultural institutions.

"For it to be a collective effort and for us to be playing together is remarkable, and hopefully noteworthy and successful as well."

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