MacArthur program strengthens financial capacity of Chicago arts groups

MacArthur program strengthens financial capacity of Chicago arts groups

“We don’t do art necessarily for money, even though money is necessary to produce art,” said Kevin Iega Jeff, Co-Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Deeply Rooted, a Chicago dance company focused on the African American experience. “The MacArthur Loan Fund really focused on training organizations so they have an understanding of what it is that banks are looking for because banks don’t understand the arts. We also received a line of credit so that we can better manage our cash flow in the course of a year, and that’s pretty major for a small arts organization like us.”

Deeply Rooted is one of 18 arts organizations from Chicago that recently completed an intensive four-month training program on financial management, and one of 11 groups to receive an operating line of credit from IFF after completing the program. Participating organizations included dance companies, theaters, youth orchestras, art galleries, and cultural organizations.

“Resources can be hard to come by, and when an opportunity like this comes along, it has a direct effect on the students and families and communities that we serve,” said Michael Simons, Executive Director of Intonations, a youth music education organization. “Programs like this really allow organizations like Intonations to do the important work. It was a really, really big deal for our organization.”

The training and credit lines are part of the MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund, an initiative that aims to help small- and medium-sized nonprofit arts groups better manage the uneven cash flows that often result from the timing of production costs, ticket sales, and grant revenues. FMA, an organization that specializes in building fiscal strength for nonprofits, provided the group training and one-on-one coaching. Afterwards, organizations had the opportunity to apply for a line of credit with IFF or MB Financial. IFF-provided lines of credit ranged from $50,000 to $150,000.

Check out IFF’s new video featuring leaders from three of the participating organizations: Deeply Rooted, Intonations, and the National Veterans Art Museum. To learn more about program eligibility and how to apply, visit iff.org/opportunities.

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