Make or Break Moment
The success of the first Blooming Art event also yielded the coalition’s first real challenge. Youth arts organizations raised more than $850,000 at the event, exceeding the $500,000 pool of matching funds. The donors were not prepared to increase the pool, making it impossible to provide a dollar-for-dollar match.
Hunt Alternatives board members, staff, and the donors proposed four solutions, and coalition members voted to select one—to have the matching funds distributed proportionately. While some coalition members were disappointed with this solution, others reminded the group that no one was losing money—Blooming Art had been incredibly successful and every organization was receiving more than it had received directly from donors at the event.
The conversation was heated but extremely candid and productive. Kit Jenkins, Executive Director of Raw Art Works, noted, “This is the hardest moment in our coalition,” and shared how pleased she was that the group hung together, and was in fact strengthened by this conflict.
Other coalition members agreed and appreciated the responsiveness, flexibility, and support offered by the event sponsors. Hunt Alternatives staff helped coalition members develop talking points to explain to new donors why their gifts would not be fully matched. Coalition members were also given a written policy for the matching pool that could be shared with donors as needed.