We are happy to report that we have once again received the Cultural Development Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. We’re so very thankful for both the Arts Council and the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners for their continued funding of this important program. We were awarded almost $19,000 for the 2018-19 20th Anniversary Season to help pay the salaries of our actors, directors, designers, technicians, and show support staff — all of whom call the Tampa Bay region home.
This news comes at a great time. In general, we’ve seen a drop in individual giving for 2018. We are still only 49% to our Annual Campaign goal, where we seem to have been stalled since May. We think it might have something to do with folks’ uncertainties about the new tax laws and what will be able to be deducted as a charitable contribution. We’re remaining optimistic that we’ll pick up steam moving into the fall. Jobsite is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization and relies on public support to keep our programs alive. In addition to the drop in individual giving we were devastated this spring to learn that the Florida legislature savagely cut Division of Cultural Affairs funding by almost 94%. The $37,500 grant we were awarded from the state’s competitive program was cut to just $2,400. That cut came at a time where we were already struggling to overcome the damage done by Hurricane Irma and losses to our education outreach funding.
There is still possibly more good news to be had for all of us, but it requires a community effort.
Our good friends at Gobioff Foundation have started the Tampa Bay Arts Bridge Fund to provide relief to arts organizations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties who lost funding to the combined tune of over $3 million. The Tampa Bay Arts Bridge fund started with a $100,000 donation by the Gobioff Foundation with a match from the Vinik Family Foundation with the hopes that the community will rally around all of us and make the necessary contributions to fill in the rest of the gap. The funds raised through this program will be evenly distributed among the 32 arts organizations in the area who were originally granted money by the state prior to the cuts. Learn more about how this vital disaster relief fund works and how you can help. Even spreading the word is meaningful, this is a situation where a rising tide can truly help lift all boats.
David M. Jenkins