Endowments are clearly the wave of the future for supporting a variety of artistic and philanthropic causes. But the endowment principle is as old as the hills: the creation of an untouchable capital fund that will draw enough interest to significantly defray current expenses.
Endowments have been the ideal of a number of Utah arts organizations, which have had little luck in getting such an act together. Now, thanks to the passage of HB265, establishing a Utah Arts Endowment Fund of $2.3 million, Utah arts organizations are closer to such a happy state of affairs.The bill sailed through the House Feb. 12 with a 72-0 vote, causing visiting National Endowment for the Arts chief John Frohnmayer to exclaim, "Utah, you've done it again!" Frohnmayer referred to Utah's reputation for ground-breaking actions in the arts. In 1899, the state was the first to establish a state arts agency, and Utah is now the first to authorize a state-supported endowment fund. HB265 also passed the Senate unanimously in the closing hours of the 1990 Legislature.
"We praise the Legislature for this wonderfully farsighted support," said Utah Arts Council director Carol Nixon. "They have made a step away from doles and handouts, to be immediately consumed by arts organizations, toward sounder and more independent fiscal policy, putting something away to make things happen in the future.
"We thank Gov. Norman Ban-gerter, who has caught our vision, and especially Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, who has stayed with us all the way."
Following the unilateral allocation of $1 million to the Utah Symphony for endowment purposes by last year's Legislature, many arts organizations were irate. But seeing an opportunity to apply for similar aid for all organizations, the Utah Arts Council went to work immediately to make its dreams come true.
"The governor said, come to me with a plan, one in which all the arts organizations are unified," said Nixon. "We had meetings with the arts groups for their input and made many drafts of the legislation. We took a plan to the governor so well worked out that he immediately OK'd it, along with his suggestion of $2.5 million, which was cut by $200,000 by the time it passed.
"In the 11 meetings with local arts councils that we held around the state last fall, we met with local legislators and laid the groundwork for this bill's passage. The state's whole arts community has been united behind it, and we are elated with the attitude that lies behind its passage, which shows that the legislators realize the value of the arts, that they transcend political motives."
The council's plan, reflected in the bill's provisions, allow for endowment of every eligible arts organization in the state, though some may not apply and others may not be able to qualify or make their match.
The fund will be administered by the Utah Arts Council. If it has professional endowment management, any Utah non-profit arts organization may create or add to its own endowment fund by withdrawing its share of the state endowment money as soon as it has raised its specified matching funds. Or matching funds may be paid into the state endowment account, which will be invested according to customary state procedure.
In either case, no organization may expend principal from the endowment fund or matching funds, only interest. If such funds are found to have been expended, the organization will be disqualified and its money taken back.
To qualify, organizations must have received a grant from the UAC during one of the three years immediately past or be approved by the council. The maximum amount an organization may apply for will be determined according to its average cash income during the past three fiscal years. However small that income may be, any organization may still apply for a minimum of $2,500.
"For small organizations, 10 percent annual interest from a capital fund of $5,000 (made up of the state allocation and their own matching funds) could spell the difference between life and death," said Nixon.
Before receiving an allocation from the state fund, either to be withdrawn or assigned within the state fund, the qualifying organization must raise all of its assessed matching funds, exclusive of other state monies, in-kind contributions or pre-existing endowment gifts.
Matches will be based on a sliding scale as follows: (a) requests up to $100,000 require a one-to-one match; (b) requests of $100,000 to $500,000 require a two-to-one match; (c) requests over $500,000 require a three-to-one match. Most organizations will have three years to raise their money.
Taking into account the $1 million endowment fund allocated to the Utah Symphony last year, the symphony has volunteered to reduce the amount for which it qualifies under the new general endowment fund by one-third.
Nixon believes that several organizations, including Ballet West, Utah Opera, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Pioneer Theatre are forming a coalition to raise their money, and this is acceptable to the UAC.
Monies in the state fund that are unallocated (never applied for or not successfully matched, or at first allocated to an organization that has ceased operation) will be reallocated by the council to organizations that raise 100 percent of their match on time.
Supposing that the state endowment money could be matched on an average of two-to-one over three years, the state would then have close to $7.5 million in capital funds. The UAC could then apply to the National Endowment for the Arts for an endowment grant of at least $1 million, with their match having already been raised.
(BU) LESS SHOWY LEGISLATION but of considerable importance to several Utah modern dance companies was the passage of a line item in the budget of the State Board of Education, allocating $60,000, plus $15,000 in supplemental funds, to the Repertory Dance Theatre, the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and the Children's Dance Theatre in support of their artists-in-schools outreach programs in fiscal 1990-91.
Until now, these popular organizations have had no state assistance in the many programs they have provided for Utah's schoolchildren, whereas the artistic heavyweights - Utah Symphony, Utah Opera and Ballet West - have been heavily subsidized.