Arts & Science Council to Receive Top International Fundraising Honor

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will bestow its highest fundraising honor, the Campbell & Company Award for Excellence in Fundraising, Small Category (five or fewer individuals in the fundraising department) to the Arts & Science Council (ASC) of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The award, which honors an organization that has developed campaigns, initiatives, projects or techniques that have grown and increased its fundraising infrastructure, program and results, will be presented at AFP’s Awards for Philanthropy Banquet during the International Conference on Fundraising on Monday, March 21, 2011, in Chicago

ASC is being honored for its tremendously successful Campaign for Cultural Facilities, which raised more than $82.5 million to support the operating endowments for the Levine Center for the Arts in Charlotte that include the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater, Mint Museum-Uptown and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The campaign also endowed financial support for significant structural and programmatic renovations of Discovery Place (a science museum), and important operating support and an endowment for the Charlotte Symphony, as well as funding for a new facility for North Carolina Dance Theatre.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from AFP based on our work for this important community vision,” said ASC President Scott Provancher. “This campaign faced many highs and lows, but through the hard work and dedication of many individuals and the generosity of our community it was successfully completed, and now thousands of residents and visitors can experience new arts and cultural exhibits and programs.”

The cultural organizations involved in the ground-breaking campaign all worked under ASC, requiring an immense amount of coordination and leadership, especially as the different organizations continued to raise funds on their own for other projects. In addition, the financial crisis of 2008 significantly affected the campaign’s fundraising, as the personal wealth of many of Charlotte’s leading philanthropists were tied to banks and other financial institutions. Several of the campaign’s corporate chairs left their positions during the campaign, and ASC’s former president retired before the fundraising efforts were complete.

Peter Fissinger, president of Campbell & Company, stated, “On behalf of the entire Campbell & Company team, I want to congratulate the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg for receiving this prestigious award. It is inspiring to see one organization unite an entire community to strengthen its broad array of cultural institutions. The campaign represents a compelling vision, a commitment toward collaboration, outstanding leadership and remarkable philanthropic spirit.”

The campaign saw tremendous results from individual philanthropists, which is especially noteworthy in a community known more for corporate philanthropy. One third of all of the campaign’s major gift prospects responded with gifts and pledges. While lead gifts from Bank of America, Duke Energy and Wachovia/Wells Fargo Foundation totaling $35 million gave the campaign a strong start, the campaign reached its goal through a $15 million naming gift from Leon and Sandra Levine of The Leon Levine Foundation, with an additional $5 million gift by Duke Energy made in honor of the Levine’s.

The effort has also laid the groundwork for future cultural fundraising campaigns and raised the bar on personal philanthropy in the Charlotte community.

“The challenges that faced ASC in Charlotte were about as significant and far-ranging as I’ve ever seen in a campaign, and they came through it all with flying colors,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “The success of the campaign is a testament to the leadership of ASC and their ability not only to organize the different organizations and fundraising events, but keep them all energized and inspired. It truly was an outstanding effort.”