The Power of Fundraising

The Power of Fundraising

How IBA’s Supporters Help Build Strong Communities

In today’s economy, arts organizations are often underfunded. The 2017 Not Just Money Report reveals that the majority of arts funding typically goes to institutions lacking diversity programming – leaving organizations that produce culturally diverse programming for BIPOC communities in dire need of financing. However, there is reason to be optimistic.

As individuals and organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Cultural Council work to bring equity to the grant making process, IBA’s fundraising efforts also help bridge the gap. Committed to providing free high-quality programs that build community and promote cultural understanding, IBA’s Institutional Advancement raises funds to foster social change through the arts.

To celebrate the team that champions diversity in the arts and the supporters who fund IBA, this is a behind-the-scenes look into how our team brings free high-quality arts programming to the community and a sneak peek into future projects.

The IBA Fundraising Process

Recognizing the urgent need for equity in arts funding, IBA’s Institutional Advancement Team engages in a strategic fundraising process. This work is all about relationship building and finding synergy between the organization’s mission and its funding partners.

Developed with input from residents and staff alike, IBA’s 2023 - 2027 Strategic Plan guides the organization’s goals over a five-year period. The Institutional Advancement team uses this Strategic Plan as a roadmap to identify funders whose work aligns with IBA’s goals.

We begin the process by looking for foundations, government agencies, and corporations who are interested in funding arts programs for underserved communities. We conduct research, talk to current funders, and network within the nonprofit community to develop relationships with new potential investors.

Following introductions and initial conversations, we identify the opportunities within our program that align with new funders and reach out to let them know about these opportunities. This leads to many conversations about IBA’s work, its impact on the community, what IBA and funders could achieve together, and how best to measure success.

Because the relationship with funders is built on mutual respect and trust, the Institutional Advancement team works closely with funders to provide reports on the impact of their donation and updates on IBA’s Arts Programming. We invite funders to events and share successes and lessons learned through arts programming events. The Institutional Advancement team and funders also share feedback with each other, enabling both IBA and its supporters to achieve positive growth.

A Shining Example: Virtual Festival Betances

During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBA’s arts program faced an unexpected hurdle. Although the arts were key to providing a sense of community, improving mental health and overall wellbeing during quarantine, it was one of the sectors that was most affected by the pandemic. This was also true for IBA’s arts program.

To protect the health of its staff and wider community, IBA’s Arts Program went virtual in March 2020. This meant the iconic Festival Betances celebration was on hold until further notice – devastating news for community members, staff, and art lovers of Greater Boston.

But the team knew that, one way or another, the show must go on. At this time of need, the staff turned to our funders to propose a bold new idea: a virtual Festival Betances.

IBA’s funders applauded the team’s innovative approach and supported this new concept wholeheartedly. With their support, we were able to present Festival Betances 2020: ¡En Casa!. Emceed by actress Millie Gil and featuring musical acts by Andrés Jiménez and Los Pleneros de Severo, the festival offered online concerts for a live virtual audience that longed to enjoy the sounds of jíbaro and plena music.

In addition to the performances, attendees also participated in a virtual raffle for an opportunity to win artwork by painter Saribelle Muñoz Bonilla or dishes from local partner restaurant Vejigantes.

Festival Betances 2020: ¡En Casa! was a huge success. Thanks to funder support, 34,344 people came together online for this one-of-a-kind celebration and since then, the Festival’s video has garnered over 55,500 views from around the world.

Building for the Future with the CASA Project

The most exciting arts-related project on the horizon at IBA is the construction of our new Center for the Arts, Self-determination, and Activism (the CASA). The CASA will host IBA’s new arts performance space – a gorgeous, glassed-in two-story theater and community space that will become New England’s largest Latinx arts hub.

To make this exciting endeavor a reality, the fundraising team is undertaking its first-ever capital campaign in IBA’s 55-year history. The project’s anticipated cost of $27M is being met through a combination of public and private funds. With a $1 million earmark from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, other early CASA supporters include Campaign Co-Chairs Aixa Beauchamp and Thomas Meléndez, Maloney Properties, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Elias Torres, and Former Governor Deval Patrick. In addition, IBA board member and campaign committee member has made a campaign pledge.

Designed by STUDIO ENÉE and Annum architects, the CASA will include an open performance space that will also host community meetings and events, multiple classrooms, community spaces, offices, conference rooms, a staff gym, lactation room, bicycle storage and roof terrace.

When construction of this LEED Silver+, ADA compliant project is completed in late 2024, the CASA will be a four-story, 25,897 square foot facility that will enable IBA to expand its usable space by 65%. Following completion of the CASA, the current IBA program headquarters will be converted to 45-55 new affordable housing that will add to IBA’s 667 existing units.

How You Can Get Involved

From grants that finance arts programming to donations of goods and services for IBA’s arts events, funders can support IBA’s Arts Program in a variety of ways. It’s this joint effort that makes a meaningful impact on Villa Victoria’s affordable housing community and provides high-quality Latinx arts programming for the Greater Boston area.

Community members and individuals can support IBA’s arts program at any time by donating through the IBA website. We also host year-round events that contribute to cultural diversity in the arts. These include concerts, film screenings, dance performances, gallery exhibitions, and more!

To learn more about our upcoming happenings, sign up for our newsletter today and join us in celebrating our community’s artistic expression.