Fact check-the Arts get 4% of US philanthropic $ versus 8% for health services and 'religion' gets 33%, much of which goes to health programs. In fact, if one analyzes total giving in the United States, the overwhelming percentage goes to social need. [Only Environment 3% lagged behind the Arts, at least in 2012.]
So, why is it the perception that the arts get more than their fair share of philanthropic dollars? Two reasons;
- The Arts, as a sector, have gotten really good at development and donor recognition for individual contributions. Personalized thank-you notes arrive on time and, sometimes when the gift is really large, public recognition is heaped on the donor.
- Of course many of the same donors that give to the Arts give to the social sector, but the arts really know how to celebrate. The Arts stress excellence and the social sector stresses need. Excellence always trumps need.