Better late than never.
Through a posting on regional arts advocacy group's, Empower Arts Buffalo, social network page, a representative from the Theater Alliance of Buffalo provided a link to the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance's detailing the rationale behind recommending cash-strapped cultural groups that should receive a portion of the recent $430,000 The Fund for the Arts donation .Although the FFA press-release associating the donation and the GBCA is dated February 28th, the information was finally made available to the general public as of March 16th.
This rationale behind how GBCA qualified potential recipients is relatively precise and generally lays out the mathematical equation into how a cultural group was to receive this one-time donation. Making clear GBCA executed this process fairly, the release says "Every organization on GBCA's list received a Erie County contract...whether it was a reduced amount or received zero payment." Stressing to those seeking clarity, "All organizations thus defined were included regardless of whether or not they were members of GBCA."
And so the process of whom was included is defined.
The GBCA press-release details the mathematical equation of how the money was allotted based on a 20% reduction "across the board" of what may be considered money Erie County was supposed to have provided via contract to selected cultural groups. This was to fall in line with the proposed $600,000 originally slated for the donation. This ultimate figure was determined by how much a cultural group stood to lose with Erie County funding and we are left to understand this amount was presented by those who were appealing for a piece of the donation.
Additionally, the GBCA determined the allocated amounts based on "organizations actually received funding in 2010," the GBCA "used that actual (lesser) figure."Other mathematical methods of determination included the GBCA, in cases where the cultural group's amount was zeroed out, "we used the Legislature's approved (not vetoed) amount."
GBCA also considered when the "Legislature's approved amount was way of whack," the steering commitee "went back to 2009 actual funding or for new applicants used 50% of the Legislature's approved amount."
And so the mathematical equation of who was getting what was determined.
Although the press-release issued by The Fund for the Arts (FFA) was on February 28th, I have to congratulate the GBCA for finally rising to the occasion and presenting something of transparency with this matter. And good for the GBCA for stressing that the decision of who was to receive funding wasn't based on membership but by who was under contract with Erie County for 2010 funding.
Of course, the question of who was in charge of assembling the list of those who were under contract is begging to be asked.
Did the GBCA request from Erie County a list of cultural groups who were targeted for cuts and in turn present a survey or some other source of notification of this process?
That is unclear, and the GBCA does not list the groups who received funding from the FFA. The website provided by FFA detailing the list of recipients is not in service as well. As for the mathematical equation, who was in charge of this? Did the GBCA hire a public accountant and was this notarized? Or did a handful of GBCA steering committee members determine the allocation for 32 cultural groups?
One item that does remain clear is the curious final note of GBCA's press-release indicating the Artvoice Give for Greatness campaign "is using another process entirely." Emphasizing that "other organizations not previously funded by Erie County or recommended for funding by ECRAB or Legislature" will be included in the funding process.
One may be incline to see this statement as a indication those who were in charge of making the decision of which groups got money recognized that some groups, regardless if the groups were under GBCA membership or Erie County contract, would be purposely left out of the loop. This recognition faintly reflects a sentiment that those left out would have to fend for themselves or find other sources of funding faintly resembling Chris Collin's directives.
Despite this cynicism, the GBCA's efforts to at least piece together their idea of a rationale explanation is a good thing for the overall cultural group community because it gives some much needed creditability to all involved.
Once credibility is established then perhaps there can be greater recognition and, ultimately, restoration of funding for ALL members of the Artistic Community.