Vancouver Foundation report finds arts groups hit hardest

Arts groups, particularly smaller ones, suffered more revenue loss and staff layoffs than other charities in the wake of the recession and recent provincial cuts, according to a report released today by the Vancouver Foundation.

In its report Weathering the Storm, the foundation shows results of its survey of 470 charities in a wide range of sectors, completed in the last two weeks of September 2009. The study was aimed at finding out what happened to nonprofits in 2009, and how they responded.

"The storm may be finally gone, and the skies clearing, but the storm has left a lot of damage in its wake," the report reads.

Among its key findings in the nonprofit arts sector:

-"Arts and culture...was the least reliant on strictly government revenue (not including gaming funds). Government funds made up only 31 percent of the budgets for arts groups who receive funds from the province."

-Twenty-one percent of arts groups ranked "decreased revenue from government as their most negative factor", higher than the average response.

-Arts and culture groups had to cut an average 27 percent of staff, topped only by environmental organizations at 28 percent.

The report by the foundation, one of the largest funders of charities in the province, found prospects for next year are grim.

"More organizations are searching for what is, essentially, a shrinking pool of funds," it states. Seventy-three percent of arts and culture organizations expect a decrease in their revenue from government sources in 2010, higher than any other sector.

To download a copy of the report, go to