ICYMI: What's Going On With Philanthropy for Dance?

"In a sentence: The dance funding ecosystem is small compared to other performing arts, and the impacts of the pandemic on top of decades of declining public funding mean a growing role for philanthropy," reports Inside Philanthropy in their State of American Philanthropy report.

“If we truly believe that the arts are an essential part of our lives, then as philanthropists, we must create more financial stability for artists, particularly those BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities hardest hit by economic ebbs and flows,” says Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. "The majority of giving for dance goes to ballet, and it’s important to understand that ballet companies—especially the big ones—operate in a different universe from most dance organizations," Inside Philanthropy reports. "Meanwhile, legions of contemporary dance companies, folk dance groups, dance education nonprofits, and other dance organizations are operating on shoestring budgets with minimal full-time staff, if any. Many dancers work other jobs to pay the bills."

By the numbers:

  • The dance field’s top 10 grantmakers collectively gave $297 million from 2014 to 2018—considerably less than in music ($466 million) and theater ($400 million), according to data from Candid.
  • A Dance/USA survey of 109 dance organizations found that only 7% had annual budgets over $500,000.
  • The median hourly wage for dancers in May 2020 was $18.58, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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