Celebrating the Arts with the Future Fund

I know, I know, I haven't posted anywhere in a while. Not here, not 365 walks, not anywhere.

But I have to tell you about this event happening next Thursday, May 17.

Back in September, I let you know why I'm working with the Future Fund. The Future Fund is a giving circle – in more cutting edge terms, it's crowd-sourced funding for local projects.

The group gives a $5,000 grant every year to a local organization. Members, who donate $100 to the fund, pick the focus area in September (this year we picked The Arts), and an open call for letters of intent goes out to non-profits throughout Central New York. The grants committee offers feedback on the letters and lets the applicant organizations know if their project sounds like a potential match. Applicants then send their full proposal to the fund, and members sit around a table and discuss the projects, then vote to get it down to three finalists. Site visits are scheduled for all finalists so members can see the project first-hand, and then votes are tallied for a single grant recipient.

Voting is still open (I'll mention the finalists in a minute), but the event next Thursday is a two-fold thing. We're writing out the award check, and unveiling a new tagline (which was voted upon by members). The event happens at Benjamin's on Franklin (the former Ohm and Styleen's), and is catered by Kitty Hoynes. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members and available here. We're also getting a performance from the Nottingham High Jazz Band, a presentation from the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force, and some sort of presentation from the grant recipient.

The finalists are (and this is the first time I've actually had to think about who I was voting for, because they're all really good projects this year):

- The Media Unit, which gets inner-city youth writing and performing about issues affecting inner-city youth, and they give dozens of performances for inner-city youth every summer.
- The YMCA's Y Arts Program, which is looking to provide scholarships for inner city youth to attend arts camp.
- ARC of Onondaga's Arts Outreach program, in which they'll work with a performing arts organization to have adults with developmental disabilities learn to act and to perform in a professional production locally.

Voting closes tomorrow night, so there is actually still time to join and vote if you want, but even without being a member, you're definitely welcome at the event next week.

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