Okay, I know this week I posted a piece that continued my long standing assertion that talking about the economic impact of the arts is not an effective way to garner long term support and investment around arts and cultural activities.
However, while it shouldn’t be the central argument for support, I don’t discount the value of using economic impact as corroborating data.
In that vein, I have recently been wondering if it might not be useful for the arts community to forge closer ties with the various regional Federal Reserve Banks. I have seen some publications coming from them that are valuable to non-profits and make a case for the place cultural organizations have in community development.
Last December, I used a well-written guide on managing Non-Profit Executive succession and transitions produced by the Kansas City Federal Reserve in a post I wrote for ArtsHacker.
Since then I have seen two pieces in a four part series written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on the importance of cultural organizations in Eastern Kentucky’s transition away coal mining. The first focuses on creative placemaking and the second specifically spotlights the work of Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY.
I am not sure how many may read the articles, but the people and businesses who closely watch the activity of the Federal Reserves are not without influence. Section headers like “The economic impact of creative placemaking;” “A Case for investment: two examples;” “Making Dollars and Sense” can resonate with the interests and concerns of these groups.
It might be worth having state and regional arts councils reach out to make contacts with the respective Reserve Banks in the different regions to explore whether the councils can provide data and stories that might be of interest to the readers of the Federal Reserve publications.
Having the Federal Reserve’s research as an additional source to corroborate statements and statistics about economic impact can help bolster non-profit organization goals.
In return, the Federal Reserve banks may be able to produce publications like the non-profit leadership succession guide that are useful to non-profits. Having issues of finance, taxation, labor law, business relations, etc tailored to the national needs of non-profits could be helpful.
If the Federal Reserve produced case studies about beneficial collaborations between businesses and non-profit organizations, the gravitas they bring could cause groups to consider exploring similar efforts.
Maybe they already produce documents like this and we are just not widely aware of it. It actually took me some time to find the third installment in the series on Eastern KY on the Cleveland Fed website. Had I not had the URL of Part 2 as a guide, I may not have found it.